The One True King

Let the banners of war never again be unfurled.

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is the exceptionally enjoyable and engrossing sequel to Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch that features an ever-expanding world to explore, an ever-evolving kingdom to lead, functional resource gathering mechanics, and more side quests than any one fledgling king could hope to complete. Much like the previous entry in the series there’s no shortage of things to do. You’ll be tasked with slaying powerful monsters, collecting songbooks, recruiting new citizens, learning new recipes, leading your armies to war, and so much more as you work through the main campaign.

The DLC adds a sizeable chunk of playable content, too.

Besides the overflowing number of things to do my favourite experiences were those of kingdom building. I’ve written before of how delightfully fun the process is, but kingdom building is superb and it never feels like a chore to return to Evermore after you’ve delved into a dungeon or tackled a tainted monster.

Being able to build and continually upgrade facilities to have access to increasingly powerful equipment, more varied Higgledies, more impressive spells, and further bonuses in combat is a rare pleasure. It never feels forced but it’s not required, either. You can quite easily finish the Dreamer’s Doors without the Dimensional Lab. Or you could simply buy equipment rather than craft your own. Or find it on monsters. That said, it’s entirely worth your time to invest in developing Evermore and I encourage you to do so. It’s a ridiculously useful hub location that unlocks more than a few useful things. It’s also a great place to engage in various side quests that (I do believe) are unavailable elsewhere. Or you could just catch up with your various party members and see what they’ve got to say.

I’ve also greatly enjoyed the various combat mechanics in the sequel. Opting instead for an action-orientated approach that allows your party members to act autonomously, but also lets you switch the playable character, offering the choice between long range and close range weaponry, while giving you full control of their spells and abilities. It’s almost entirely seamless, too. Unless you’re on the world map you don’t need to switch to a dedicated combat screen. Making for more fluid, engaging, and enjoyable combat. It also allows you to see when enemies have superior numbers or are of a higher level.

Which is quite useful inside of the Dreamer’s Doors.

The aforementioned comprise the majority of randomly generated content in the sequel. Each Dreamer’s Door leads to a labyrinthine dungeon which you’ll need to explore as an ever-increasing Danger Level promises more powerful monsters, and your aim is to either finish the dungeon or escape to safety.

I had great expectations for Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom and it has far exceeded them by having a wealth of playable content and a surprisingly extensive main campaign. Which is a good thing. It’s always better to have more content than less especially when it is of the quality that this series is known for. The only drawback to being entirely absorbed in the series is that I’ve finished the majority of content in both, and I’m currently working through the DLC in the sequel. Which, really, isn’t a drawback, as it’s been an entirely enjoyable affair. I’ve not once felt that I’m forcing myself through the content to see what’s next. Which is why if you’re interested in enjoyable, engrossing, and downright fun JRPGs I can highly recommend anything and everything in the Ni no Kuni series!

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

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A Fledgling Kingdom

Where everyone can live happily ever after.

I’ll be the first to admit that I do have a slight problem when it comes to building houses in video games. Or building anything for that matter. I’d assume that Suikoden is entirely responsible for this, but you didn’t necessarily build Toran Castle and instead hired the playable Stars of Destiny who improved the facilities available therein. Hence why I’ve been overjoyed with the kingdom building in Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, as it’s reminiscent of the concept present in Suikoden but feels much broader and has exceptional functionality. Each citizen recruited to Evermore makes an immeasurable difference.

Especially when crafting new equipment or cooking up Higgledies.

Crafting is actually one of my favourite things to do when visiting Evermore. With the different resource gathering facilities you’re able to collect endless quantities of materials, and through the production facilities you’re able to turn those materials into powerful equipment. It seems simple but it’s delightfully functional.

Unlike other crafting mechanics, where rare materials are so ridiculously rare that you don’t even attempt to use them, or where recipes are often obtained far too late for them to be useful, the crafting mechanics in Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom are wonderfully accessible. You unlock sets of crafting recipes each time the relevant research is finished, and by crafting that equipment you’re able to heighten the proficiency of your citizens. As citizens become more proficient they can undertake more complex research. That’s it. No arbitrary requirements or excessive grinding needed. This extends to every facility available in Evermore, too. From the Dimensional Lab to Tasty’s Cookshop each upgrade remains as intuitive as the last. In fact, it was so intuitive I often built far too much for my current citizen count.

There is such a thing as having too many Kingsguilders.

For these (and many other) reasons I’ve greatly enjoyed the ambitious sequel to Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch even if it does do several things differently. The kingdom building is incredibly fun and I’ve often spent hours researching, recruiting citizens, and unlocking new spells or equipment with no regrets. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on the main campaign by taking the time to outfit my party. It never feels forced, either. You never loathe having to spend time in Evermore because there’s so much to do. The only minor criticisms I have of the sequel concern both the skirmishes and the tainted monsters.

Both of which seem to be haphazardly peppered around the world map.

The skirmishes disappear and reappear with annoying frequency and seem to follow no particular order. Therefore, levelling troops can be a clunky affair. While tainted monsters, though presented in an order, and with what you would assume is increasing difficulty, make little sense when you actually encounter them.

That said, these are very minor criticisms that don’t affect the main campaign in any meaningful way. As you’ve no requirement to fight any tainted monsters (other than those for side quests) and the story-related skirmishes are surmountable if you’ve collected troops from side quests. These criticisms don’t detract from the general wonder of exploring the world map, either. Which is another thing that Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom has done very well. It has a sprawling world map that’s fun to explore as you’re always finding treasure, new locations, or more Higgledies. It really encourages you to leave Evermore and to see what’s happening outside the kingdom walls. Not that I want to. I’ve got Kingsguilders to collect, citizens to level up, and research to undertake. I’m sure that things will work out without my intervention.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

The Pure-Hearted One

You’re a wizard, Ollie-boy.

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered is a magnificently exquisite JRPG that tells the enchanting story of Oliver’s quest to save the person dearest to him. Featuring (quite literally) hundreds of familiars to tame, a sprawling world map, numerous locations to visit, and more treasures than you can shake a twig at this experience is truly one-of-a-kind. There are scarce few JRPGs that are as enjoyable and as engaging as this, and fewer still that have such a diverse range of content to immerse yourself in that they don’t begin to feel stale after a while. It also has some of the best art direction I’ve ever seen.

Not to mention a truly outstanding soundtrack.

I’m also quite fond of the various puzzles and riddles found throughout the main campaign. The riddles are particularly fiendish as you have to type in a response, which means you can’t simply select every available option until you find the correct one. These riddles often encourage the use of the Wizard’s Companion, too.

I’ve written before of the wonderful idea that is the Wizard’s Companion. I’m also enthusiastic about the errands and bounty hunts which comprise the majority of additional content. Errands are (as the name suggests) tasks that NPCs will assign you which often involve collecting materials, travelling to new locations, or (rarely) slaying certain creatures. Bounty hunts reward you for hunting down especially powerful creatures. Completing either (or both) will award you with rare materials, powerful equipment, and more Guilders than you know what to do with. There is an abundance of diverse and interesting content to complete alongside the main campaign, and you’re highly encouraged to take the time to revisit each major city regularly for new things to do.

There are some interesting mechanics present in combat, too. While Oliver may have prodigious magical prowess he’s also a bit squishy, which is why he (and his friends) fight with familiars. Familiars are able to learn various Tricks which allow them to perform differently in combat. Some familiars are exceptionally powerful, some incredibly durable, and some have more spells than any one creature reasonably should. Each character has their own affinity with certain familiars as well. Finding the right combinations along with a balance of offensive and defensive Tricks is not easy but satisfying when it does happen.

At a certain level familiars will be able to Metamorphose.

Once they Metamorphose into a new creature they’ll regress to Lvl 1 but they’ll retain all previously learned Tricks. That said, in the process of levelling up their second or third forms they may lose certain Tricks as they can only know eight at any given time. So sometimes levelling from base to final form can be a wasted effort.

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered has drastically exceeded all expectations. Not only is there a wealth of engaging and enjoyable content throughout the main campaign but the additional content is refreshing as well. Alongside this you have various alchemical recipes to cook up, familiars to develop, a casino to gamble at, a gauntlet of combat to engage in, and a surprisingly vast sea of equipment to swim through. There are various puzzles to solve, too. Hidden spells to unlock. Forests to visit. Treasures to find on the world map. There’s a staggering number of things to see and do in either world, and it’s definitely one of the best JRPG experiences I’ve had in many years. For that reason I highly recommend this to those who enjoy RPGs, JRPGs, or heart-warming wholesome stories.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

A Gateway Between Worlds

One who travels from their world to save another.

There are few things that I enjoy more than thoroughly satisfying JRPGs. They’re somewhat rare nowadays. Hence why I was quite excited when I saw that Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was being remastered and was due for a PC release. I’ve not experienced the Ni no Kuni series before, but I was entirely aware of the PC release of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom and it looked rather neat. However, in a display of restraint that would make Oliver Take Heart quicker than I clicked the pre-order button, I decided that I would abstain from the nostalgic JRPG hoping that the entire series would be released on PC.

Which it was. So, who’s laughing now? No-one. It wasn’t in any way humorous.

I’ve regretted more than a few pre-orders in my time but I definitely don’t regret this one. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered is entirely reminiscent of the JRPGs of the SNES or the PS1, and you can tell that the developers truly cared about delivering a one-of-a-kind experience when telling the story of Oliver’s adventure.

The presentation is immaculate. The visuals are beautiful, the animations are fluid, the music is exceptional, and the art direction is incredible. Unlike modern RPGs (of any description) you don’t eventually hit a wall where the only way to progress is to engage in a frustratingly repetitive task, which serves only to artificially extend the main campaign as the actual playable content is sorely lacking. I’ve regularly returned to earlier locations like Ding Dong Dell or Al Mamoon only to find new errands or bounties to undertake. While there are islands between Castaway Cove and Hamelin which I’ve yet to explore. Mostly because the enemies on those islands were actually quite challenging when I first arrived there. I could probably quite easily return and explore those islands having progressed further into the main campaign now.

Welcome to the majesty of Teeheeti Island.

That said, depending on which familiars you have, and which familiars you’d like to have, you’ve already got ample reason to explore every location on the world map. Though you can’t always guarantee that you’re going to get the familiar you want, there are the usual rewards of combat that incentive you to at least try to collect more familiars. Especially when many of the rewards from combat are ingredients used to fashion powerful equipment. Or really tasty cakes and chocolate. I too would be okay with being locked in a cage if you promised me delicious food as a reward for engaging in bloodthirsty visceral combat.

The Wizard’s Companion can be used to discover new familiars as well.

I’ve never understood (or agreed with) the idea that less information equates to higher difficulty. The Wizard’s Companion not only tells you more about your familiars, but also where certain equipment comes from, and even illustrates various alchemical formulae. More than just being useful it’s thematically appropriate, too.

There are innumerable things that I’ve enjoyed about Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered and it just keeps on giving. Every time I believe that I’ve reached a major point in the main campaign it finds some way to introduce new dungeons, modes of transportation, or increasingly more interesting spells. I’m looking forward to the sequel as well. It seems to suggest new mechanics (and a lack of familiars) of which some of those mechanics feel reminiscent of my dearly loved Suikoden. It’s been a while since I’ve led a rebel fortress. As is usual I’ll be writing more about Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered in an In Retrospect post, but I can already tell that this series is going to be one of the highlights of my entire year. It’s been such a refreshing, engaging, and entirely enjoyable experience so far.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

First Impressions of… Children of Morta

One family to stand against the encroaching corruption.

Children of Morta is an exceptionally satisfying ARPG that functions as a dungeon crawler. An exquisite narrator tells the story of the Bergson family in their tireless struggle against an unnatural corruption, while the main campaign affords myriad opportunities to learn more about each family member and their motivations. There are numerous events to view or quests to complete throughout the main campaign that award permanent progression, too. These may unlock playable family members, build on the rich history of their ancestral home, or simply tie the main campaign together. It’s a simplistic but effective approach.

One that is painfully absent in modern RPGs.

ARPGs are rarely known for their engrossing main campaign stories, but Children of Morta wholeheartedly relies on telling that story and having you invested in the characters and events found therein. It feels natural and illustrates how the struggle against the corruption wears on both body and spirit. It’s an enthralling joy to play.

Each family member is rather interesting as well. John is the stalwart defender whose shield and sweeping attacks afford exceptional close combat proficiency, while Linda has heightened mobility and can pierce enemies with a hail of arrows. Kevin can dash effortlessly between enemies slicing and dicing with deadly efficiency, while Mark can draw enemies close before pummelling them mercilessly. I’ve had most success with Linda, Kevin, and Mark. I’ve never been particularly good at much of anything with John. While Joey is the newest addition and the character that best fits my usual approach to ARPGs. His potential for damage is quite impressive given that his health has been bolstered substantially. He can also charge through enemies like a burly lunatic.

Things are certainly starting to heat up down here.

Character development is extensive and intuitive. Levelling up any of the six characters allows you to unlock skills and (through investment in those skills) traits. Traits are shared with the family, and they provide an enticing incentive to level up multiple characters as each contributes to the proficiency of the rest. On the ancestral grounds you can invest in both Uncle Ben’s workshop (which improves various character attributes) and the Book of Rea (which offers dungeon crawling bonuses) to further empower the family. These investments affect the family equally and allow you to develop everyone at the same time.

Which makes using a less experienced character more viable.

While they might lack the skills or the traits of their more experienced kin they’re still quite powerful in their own way. Having more health, a better chance of landing a critical hit, or a higher dodge chance can certainly smooth out the difficulty curve in later areas. By surviving longer they contribute to the continual investment, too.

At first glance Children of Morta seemed like a rather engaging ARPG, but I’ve found it’s more of a dungeon crawler that’s actually quite reminiscent of Diablo in its execution of certain mechanics. The way that dungeons are divided into different areas, the obelisks which offer substantial bonuses, the deadly traps, and the possibility of uncovering random events make me nostalgic for the blasphemous bowels beneath Tristram. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have strength in its own convictions. It does. There’s an intriguing story that’s told exceptionally well by both the narrator and the various events or quests. But it’s still a unique approach that I’ve only seen attempted a scarce few times before, and fewer still have been successful in delivering the desired result.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Further Integration

The decision was finally made.

I’ve always been bothered that certain creative content (especially that of Material Studies) was never available on my personal site. This was mostly due to not knowing where best to fit them into the existing layout, but also because Moggie’s Proclamations lacked integration with the site in any meaningful way. While it has always been available via a social media icon it isn’t necessarily present elsewhere. Which is more or less what the recent updates to the site have aimed to rectify, as they’re now inescapably linked. I’ve even removed the WordPress social media icon from the site. Opting instead for a text link.

Which, hopefully, is just as identifiable as the social media icon.

The Instagram social media icon is still there, though. The solitary social media site that I actually frequent. Not that I’ve been nearly as active there as I would’ve liked, but that’s the only reasonable outcome when the flow of creative content stops almost entirely and you’ve shared nothing new in over a year. That said, I’m still working on things.

Hence the recent focus on Moggie’s Proclamations. I’ve taken the time to update both the Creative and Gaming pages, which resulted in a new layout and improved categorisation that better reflects the diversity of content available on the blog. I’m eager to start writing posts more regularly again, too. Not that we’ve been short of content in September. But none of that is creative content. Which is the (for lack of a better word) problem, but that extends further than just the blog to myself. I need to make the time for my creative pursuits. I need to have the ideas and the motivation for them. I’ve been taking some time out purposefully as, due to certain things that happened last year, I lost my way, but I’m ready to find my way again.

I’ll upload a new piece any day now. Just you wait.

As with all of the updates I’ve ever made they’re not entirely finished. They’ll never be entirely finished. As both the site and Moggie’s Proclamations are perpetual works in progress, and will change as I change. But this is the happiest I’ve ever been with everything that I do. It’s also the best and most accurate representation of what I do that I’ve ever had. Which, when you consider how long the site has been in existence, and the number of iterations it has been through, it’s not really surprising. If you keep changing things you’ll eventually happen upon the layout, design, or content that best represents your intentions.

I’ve also been updating some of the older content on the blog.

As before these updates are simply alterations to presentation and the original content remains (mostly) intact. It’s staggering to think that there are nearly three-hundred posts on Moggie’s Proclamations now, which illustrates the amount of content there is to work through and why these updates are implemented over several weeks.

It would take me a few days to read through all of the content available on the blog. Let alone update it. But I’ve grown accustomed to this process, and I’ll often be updating something without being entirely aware that I’m doing it. Editing a few tags or categories here or there certainly helps to eventually standardise them all. Adding new posts to pages eventually builds a comprehensive library. I guess that’s the funny thing about Moggie’s Proclamations. I’ve always enjoyed working on it, which means it’s never felt particularly laborious posting new (or updating older) content. With that said, if you notice that anything looks different, or isn’t where you remembered it was, I probably tweaked something for some reason or another.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Diablo: The Wanderer’s Eulogy (Pt. 3)

Maddening tormented whispers flood into your mind.

A jagged landscape wrought of bone and wreathed in molten flame stands before you. Vile, despicable, bloodthirsty demons crowd you. You’ve reached the final levels of the main campaign, and hell will never be inviting or comforting for it’s where the greatest challenges await you. Defeating Lazarus to crack open the door to this hellish domain is just the beginning. Diablo, the Lord of Terror, waits patiently for you to free him from his subterranean prison. It’s arguably the most challenging content in Diablo, and it’s where your story ends as you hope to contain the overwhelming malice of the Prime Evil. Not that you can.

It’s a more satisfying and apt conclusion if you’re a Warrior.

Quite a lengthy section of content, too. It’s deceptive in that way. You believe that there are only four more levels until the end of the campaign, but within those levels are side quests to complete and puzzles to solve before you are able to fight Diablo. Even when you can you’re likely to be swarmed by the enemies released when he is.

This would be as good a time as any to revisit the crypt as well. Given that it forms the final content available in the Hellfire expansion pack. These levels are sadly less impressive, but they’re certainly challenging (in a way) due to the overwhelming number of magical floating orbs on the screen at any one time. I definitely found these areas more frustrating than the hive, too. The challenge (for lack of a better word) disappeared as long as I could keep drinking potions. The enemies annoyingly ran great distances away and soon the screen was littered with an impassable sea of magical damage. The final boss of the content was also somewhat anti-climactic. I decided not to weaken him and he still died relatively quickly.

Only in the blasphemous bowels of hell will we find the Lord of Terror.

Wirt was my saving grace throughout this entire endeavour. I had not only managed to acquire a rather useful helmet with a +% Resist All modifier on it, but an absurdly powerful axe with substantial +% Chance To Hit and +% Damage modifiers, and a ring that had significant +% Resist Fire and +Strength modifiers. I’m unsure but I don’t believe that the first Warrior that I completed the main campaign with was anywhere near as powerful as this one. I could’ve done with replacing one of the rings and the necklace, too. But nothing worth buying was available and instead I spent my gold on Strength, Vitality, and Dexterity Elixirs.

Diablo was certainly tougher than I remember, though.

I was unlucky and got consistently knocked back so was rarely able to actually land a hit on him. It took more than a few potions to survive the ensuing onslaught as I crawled towards him only to be knocked back again, but he eventually took enough hits to be little more than a mangled heap of demonic remains on the floor.

This has been quite an unconventional series of posts, but I felt that this would be more interesting than a single In Retrospect post detailing the content and the character that I’ve played. There’s a possibility I may even add a fourth post to this series. That depends on what I do next and whether I decide to revisit Diablo in the coming months, but I’ve been thinking about doing a similar (but extended) series for a new Diablo II character. I’ve never really written much about either on Moggie’s Proclamations before as they were before its time. But the Diablo series is one I’ve greatly enjoyed for many years and I hope that some of that shows through with this series.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie