Update 9: Never Do Bossfights on Extreme
We’re now on the world map just outside the Sky Pirate base. This is where things can get a little iffy if you’re playing on Extreme mode, as we are.
So, one of the things that’s different about the world map than most other areas is that enemy levels are somewhat randomized - you’ll usually find them at a set level range (for this area, it’s roughly 5 to 9)… but sometimes, you’ll find an “elite” enemy who is much higher level. Take this level 14 Whamster, for example.
There’s also a warp point here, mostly because there are chests here we won’t be able to get for a long, long time.
The problem is that on Extreme mode, you can run into this: a pack of wyverns with one being level 14. I was actually wrong about one thing: wyverns actually don’t appear alone. Those are “elite” wyverns, which are more of a boss/mini-boss.
Anyway, the level 14 wyvern essentially no-sold every attack I threw against it that wasn’t Circle Cut… and then killed Roland in two hits.
The worst part is, I almost had it down, then got hit once and game overed. This is the danger of playing on Extreme mode - honestly, I shouldn’t have bothered cranking the difficulty setting up for better drops just yet, because we haven’t run into this game’s equivalent of the Covetous Gold Serpent Ring.
This area is absolutely littered with wyverns. Fortunately, I levelled up a bit offscreen. Grinding for levels in Ni no Kuni 2 is kind of a slow process and isn’t really encouraged, but I did it mostly to see if I could get some better weapons to drop.
On the way there, I got a little confused and wound up here. Crookneck Cavern is actually a dungeon in and of itself if I remember right - there’s like four caves with the same name and three of them are only used for sidequests we don’t have yet. We might want to remember where this is though, because it’s part of a sidequest I might do off-camera near the end of the game.
The path we want is on the other side, and is full of level 13 wyverns. The one behind it was also level 13. These weren’t quite as bad as the level 14 one was, and I suspect that’s because the game adds a hidden defense multiplier to enemies that are at a certain point above your level to discourage you from trying to kill them.
Once we get closer to the Wyvern’s Den, there’s a side path with some mushrooms. These are actually the equivalent of those prop clovers, only for the next area after Cloudcoil Canyon.
You might think the Wyvern’s Den is a dungeon, but it’s actually just a boss arena. In the pre-arena room, near the save point, there’s another higgledy stone. I picked up the item it wants in a chest near Crookneck Cavern, and it’s an element we don’t have, so we might as well grab it.
This one is dark-elemental, which we’ll need to power up a couple of Roland’s attacks down the line.
Before we go in, I un-equipped the best sword off Roland and put it on Evan. You might ask why I didn’t bother equipping three weapons: that’s because zing is fucking useless once you gain the ability to use higgledies to charge attacks… and because I primarily use Roland in combat and the AI doesn’t tend to use zing very often even when it has it available.
Roland, on the other hand, gets a new gat that has a higher damage rating than anything else we’ve found so far. This is what we want, because the AI will spam ranged attacks like crazy in the upcoming boss fight.
I’m pretty sure this arena (and in fact this whole area) was ripped out of Nausicaa, but I can’t prove it because I’ve never actually seen that movie.
Oh look, it’s the Bell Gargoyle. By the way, I’d like to mention that at this point, I had fucked up and forgotten to set the difficulty back to normal mode. Why is this important? We’ll find out in a bit.
The boss begins the fight by flying upward like a coward.
He then summons a bunch of lower-level wyverns to make this game hell for speedrunners. These go down fairly quickly - I took this shot I think two or three seconds into the fight, and even with Roland having the second-best equipment he still nearly killed one before I did anything.
On normal mode, this is a fairly easy fight - the boss mostly attacks by running around in circles swinging his axes. The obvious strategy is to get behind him and spam light attacks… though he is capable of turning pretty quickly and can hit some of the area behind him. This, by the way, is the special for most of the wind-elemental higgledies. In case you’re curious, the reason Evan’s HP is so low is because I took uh… maybe two attacks from the boss?
The reason I gave Evan the best sword is because he learned a new ability at level 10: Flurry. If you’ve played Devil May Cry, it’s basically a renamed Stinger, complete with that “Breakdown!” strike at the end which does a pretty significant chunk of damage. Flurry is a crit machine, but it has an extremely long animation and leaves Evan totally vulnerable until that animation is complete.
At 25% HP or so, the boss flies up again and does the “drop trash mobs on you” strat. This does not end well for said trash mobs.
Once the boss came back down, I happened to get the dark-element higgledy’s attack to go off. This just straight-up creates a black hole that hits for a large amount of damage. I believe this one hit for 190, when most of Evan’s attacks are still in the mid double digits.
A few Stingers later and the boss explodes, boosting both Evan and Roland to level 11. This, by the way, is why we don’t do bosses on extreme: not only do they become extremely damage spongy, but their drops are fixed regardless of difficulty.
This is the armor the boss dropped. I went through my save from my first run and confirmed that it’s exactly the same drop. Compared to the difficulty-boosted armor drops, this thing is hot garbage.
Evan Pettiwhisker - human footstool.
: “Little boy?! You can’t be much older than me!”
: “Heh heh! Alright, keep your hair on, umm…?”
: “Evan. My name is Evan.”
: “And I’m Roland.”
: “Evan and Roland, eh? Well, thanks for coming to the rescue! I didn’t have either of you down as the reckless type, but you must be to have come here.”
: “Speaking of which, why didn’t that grizzled old coward Batu come down here and get me himself?”
: “We made an agreement: in return for securing your freedom, he promised to grant us safe passage to the King’s Cradle.”
: “Really? He said that? Ha! I knew it!”
: “I most certainly do not!”
: “You most certainly do, too! It’s like you can both see something… that no one else can…”
: “Yes, boss! Sorry boss!”
: “Evan, lad! Ye were as good as yer word, so I shall be as good as mine - ye may pass freely through the canyon!”
: “Thank you very much, Chief Batu!”
: “One step closer to the King’s Cradle, huh?”
: “So you really are serious about going then? To the cradle?”
: “Well, the quickest way there is to fly, of course… but what are you going all the way up there for?”
: “This one here’s set to hook himself a Kingmaker, an’ become lord o’ the whole wide world, don’t ye know!”
I only included this shot because Tani’s face looks like someone is dangling a donut off a fishing pole just off-camera and she’s trying to eat it without using her hands.
: “Blimey! You have some pretty big ideas for such a pipsqueak.”
: “Well, you’ll only end up getting lost if you go off on your own… alright, I’m coming with you!”
We now have our third party member… who also happens to be the absolute worst character in the game. Strangely enough, we won’t see her in combat until after the next update, as there are no random encounters between this cutscene and the King’s Cradle unless you purposely go back into Cloudcoil Canyon to grind.
Skipping ahead a bit, we can head down to the bottom level and finally get this story on the road. Just before we take off, though…
An overprotective anime dad re-appears.
: “But there’s not a soul been to that cradle and made it back unscathed. If she comes home with as much as a scratch, I’ll have yer hide, understand?”
: “Y-yes, Chief Batu! We’ll be very careful. Tani will be safe with us, I promise.”
I said the same thing back when I was a teenager. Ah, the memories of taking my horrible anime love interest to a dungeon so I could summon a 50-foot-tall hellbeast to conquer the world for me.
This story is kinda boring, so I’m just going to start making up my own. Once, there was a janitor who worked in the same office building that Hayao Miyazaki rented out when they were producing Nausicaa, back in the early '80s. The janitor’s name was Fred, even though this is in Japan so that would make no sense. Fred worked at the same building until 1998, after Princess Mononoke was released.
Thirty years later, Level 5 wanted to rip off Ghibli without actually paying the exorbitant amount of money they paid for the first Ni no Kuni, so they hired anyone even remotely connected to Ghibli to do character and environment design. Fred had always been friends with some of the lesser animators, and he even did some art on the side, so he was a shoe-in for a position on their new game.
Fred was happy with his six-digit salary working at a job where all he did was draw a bunch of blatant Mononoke ripoffs, but was a little concerned about how all his boss wanted him to do was ape someone else’s style. One day, he went to his manager and voiced his concerns.
There is literally no angle at which Tani does not look horribly deformed.
Fred’s told his manager, “Boss, aren’t we ripping off Mononoke a little too much? Can’t we, I dunno, come up with something original? Wouldn’t that be better?”
Fred’s manager looked at him, befuddled. “But that might actually require us to hire animators who could do something other than rip off Miyazaki… nah, fuck it, we’re ripping off Mononoke too much. Start ripping off Nausicaa instead.”
And that’s how this cutscene came to be.
Anyway, next update, we’ll go into the King’s Cradle and witness as the game rips off both Sonic 2006 and Gravity Rush 2 at the same time.