Ni No Kuni 2 has a new metagame to connect all the missions together, taking place on a world map. You’ll still have plenty of the bread and butter action RPG combat, but now there’s an entire continent to think about.
Battles with heroes vs monsters will be on the same, smaller scale, while these “field” battles could have cohorts of 20 or so under your command. Other elements, such as the familiars from Ni No Kuni, have been toned down.
I didn’t see any flying in this mode, but there’s plenty to think about on the X and Y axes alone. Your troops will be split up into different squads, and pressing L1 or R1 rotates the squads around your hero.
Naturally you’ll want your melee squads facing whatever oncoming threat there is, and your archers in the back — but it won’t always be that simple. Even in the introductory phase of this mode, enemies start spreading out and trying to flank.
Special abilities that go on cooldown are present, and these depend on which hero is leading the troops. I was able to call in an airstrike which utterly destroyed about four enemy squads that I had lured into clumping together.
Then there are the more basic abilities, such as “charge,” or “fire volley,” which can be used at any time.
Over the course of the game, you’ll see the effects of your conquests reflected on the map. You can siege strategic enemy placements, as they can yours. Securing different zones or resource points might provide valuable materials for the greater war effort.
There will also be more monarchical duties such as giving people jobs and deciding how the kingdom will develop. It’s a much larger scale for Level-5, and it was a lot of fun to play.
It was described as a metagame to me, but it seemed fun enough to warrant its own mode by itself. We’re yet to see just how much Ni No Kuni 2 will play with this format, but a good variety of troops and puzzling battlefield circumstances could make it quite memorable.