Anime Was A Mistake: Let's Dunk On Ni no Kuni 2

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#22

Update 18: Primal Judgement

I’m back from vacation, and it’s time to dunk on this pile of garbage once again. We do get a confirmation prompt here, but what we’re about to enter is a sham of a bossfight that is almost impossible to lose even on Extreme.

So you might be asking, “If the idiots in Goldpaw use dice to decide everything, why the hell don’t they just roll and be done with it instead of having a long, pointless cutscene that is stacked onto 45+ minutes of solid cutscene with very minor gameplay interruptions?”

The answer is because Level 5 hates me, and by extension you.

Yeah, this isn’t totally just going to be a repeat of the last… how many cutscenes were there with the rigged dice? I want to say three.

Roland finds his purple suit that I’m pretty sure he discarded back at the beginning of the game. I should mention that I’m fairly certain we can unlock his suit as an outfit for him… but not until the very end of the game. Don’t ask me why he has it in the story if he can’t use it in battle: my guess is because Level 5 really wanted everyone to just forget the whole isekai anime thing.

Roland: “Because this is a court of law.”

I don’t know why Roland even bothers playing along.

Roland: “Further, I will show that he distributed devices among his accomplices which were used to carry out deception on a grand scale through the manipulation of dice rolls.”

Pugnacius: “I do not, have not, and will never engage in dishonest practices of any kind, and to accuse me of such is to defame my character and call my good name into question!”

Roland: “Perhaps you will permit those present to withhold judgment on the matter of your innocence until I have presented my proof?”

There’s a reason that Wright x Layton was absolutely the worst Phoenix Wright game, and that’s because Level 5 wrote it… at least, I’m pretty sure. Phoenix’s part in that was the only redeeming factor for what was otherwise trash.

Roland offers up the signed “I DID IT” letter.

Pugnacius: “B- What is the meaning of this!?”

Roland steals one of Phoenix’s poses which pisses me off because he is not even half the goddamn character Phoenix is. Phoenix Wright would’ve had this shit resolved two hours ago.

Roland: “Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the prosecution’s key exhibit: written instructions for the assembly of manipulable dice, clearly signed by Master Pugnacius.”

Pugnacius: “Only that my prior outburst was merely an expression of shock at the brazenness of this shameless act! I have never seen this document in my life!”

Pugnacius: “To stoop to the fabrication of evidence is a pitiful tactic indeed! It is a forgery, plain and simple.”

I’d also like to mention that the second worst Ace Attorney game was the one to use evidence fabrication as a plot point. At least Capcom clearly regretted ever making Apollo Justice a thing and gave him the whole Raiden treatment in Dual Destinies.

Roland: “Why don’t we let Lady Luck be the judge of that?”

Pugnacius: “By all means.”

So here is my entire problem with this scene. One, it’s a repeat of a scene we’ve seen twice already.

Two, it’s something we’ve seen already that is being tacked on to what is now well over an hour of solid cutscene.

Several seconds of the die jumping around later…

How absolutely none of the spectators surrounding the trial haven’t seen the remotes yet is beyond me.

Your brains! Something is wrong with your brains!

Roland: “The prosecution was able to visit the place where these devices are manufactured, and to procure one for its own purposes - namely the demonstration of this fraud.”

Pugnacius does the only thing he can do - begins banishing himself to the shadow realm.

What’s that up in the sky? I’ll tell you what it is - a blatant Final Fantasy 14 ripoff. Pugnacius has just summoned his Primal, because that is EXACTLY what the Kingmakers are.

Evan: “It’s their Kingmaker - Longfang!”

Batu: “He doesn’t look happy…”

Honestly, this is the part that made me question the entire purpose of the Kingmakers. If they’re not supposed to be anywhere near the city, what the hell is the point of their existence? You’d think that they’d be the equivalent of a nuclear deterrent, but… yeah.

You know, just once I’d like to see a story where the vizier isn’t evil.

I was honestly hoping that this guy was just going to rip Pugnacius’s heart out of his chest. This is Not-Lahabrea’s true form, with an outfit that looks so dumb that even Organization XIII would probably question it.

Seriously though, how does he even move with that stupid snake headpiece?

Longfang Discount Gamera is not pleased with this turn of events.

I feel like somebody should just put Longfang out of its misery. It’s so dumb-looking.

Evil Green Man makes a ball out of Pugnacius’s kingsbond and teleports away while smirking, because of course he does.

Meanwhile, Pugnacius is super fucking dead.

Oh, and Longfang is still here.

What you can’t see is Roland, who is now wearing a chef hat and basting Evan with a light gravy.

Sin number 38: how does a quadrupedal dragon bake anything? It doesn’t even have thumbs! This has been the CinemaSins presentation of Ni no Kuni 2.

We’ve been sent to The Fiddy Zone an “inter-dimensional dimension” to either kill Longfang or die.

Evan: “What!? Then we have to stop Longfang!”

I’m also not sure if I pointed this out, but Evan somehow knows a hell of a lot about Longfang for a kid who didn’t know much about Goldpaw when they first got there.

Lofty: “BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE! RIP! MAIM! TEAR!”

So yes, not only is there a term for out-of-control kingmakers, but apparently it’s so common that even Batu knows it. Makes you wonder how often this happens.

Boy Sampson then goes on about how we should hit the glowing goddamn weakpoint. There’s even not one but TWO tutorials about this. I’ll spare you.

If you’ve played FF14, you’re probably thinking “Wait, isn’t this just the Ifrit fight?” and you are absolutely right because that is exactly what it is, only more dumbed-down. Longfang starts the fight in the lava, outside of weapon range.

He’ll then get mad and start shitting out rocks from the lava pool. Ifrit does this exact thing in FF14 only they’re giant metal spikes.

Unlike Ifrit, we could theoretically do this battle without ever hitting any of the rocks - they’re destroyable once they hit the ground.

Each Kingmaker fight also has “higmakers” that hide in the boss’s destructible garbage. They can unleash a special ability (just like regular higgledies) once there’s enough of them around. For this fight, we could actually ignore them completely.

Since we have nothing better to do before Longfang opens up his weak point, I spent a few seconds smashing rocks to get higmakers so I could show off what they do.

Eventually, Longfang starts smashing the ground for no reason, opening up his weakpoint.

I remembered to turn the game back to Normal difficulty, so the party actually does pretty good damage against him.

Hitting his weakpoint enough causes Longfang to fall over, which opens up a second weakpoint: his face. Here, you can see Batu critting for over 400 damage.

I managed to get about 2/3 of Longfang’s health depleted in one cycle, which causes him to start his second phase: making giant geysers of flame sprout from the ground. They’re pretty harmless, though they will light people on fire if they get caught.

After a few more rock cycles, we have enough higmakers to use their special ability…

Said ability is completely worthless. The falling rocks are simple to dodge and don’t hit that hard. It would’ve been better to just keep rushing the weakpoint.

One more cycle, and Longfang is done for.

Next time, we’ll see what happens to Niall’s forest… and start the worst part of Ni no Kuni 2. Probably.


#23

Update 19: The Kingdom of Dipshittia

With Ifrit banished to the void, it’s time for us to pray return to the Waking Sands and/or Rising Stones get moving toward what is absolutely the worst mechanic in Ni no Kuni 2.

Tani: “Phew! We’re back!”

Evan: “I suppose that means Longfang really has calmed down… for now, at least.”

Roland: “Guess we’d better tie up some loose ends, eh?”

Pugnacius somehow revives, despite the fact that he had his soul ripped out not even minutes ago.

Pugnacius: “My desire to lift my kingdom out of poverty became an all-consuming greed… that weakness made me vulnerable… and… he exploited it.”

Evan: “Who was he? The one that stole your Kingsbond?”

Pugnacius: “He came to me some months ago. He promised secret knowledge - knowledge of ways in which our nation might be made yet greater - and in return, he sought high office.”

Remember kids, don’t deal with evil viziers.

Pugnacius: “It was he who suggested that the dice be manipulated. Who gave me the means by which that might be done.”

So, this is one of the things I absolutely cannot fucking STAND about this plot is how no one in the magical isekai realm has any concept of personal responsibility. It’s somehow never their fault for any of the shit they do, even though they weren’t being mind controlled.

Pugnacius: “When did I fall under his spell… and how? How could I have allowed such a thing to happen?”

Roland: “We managed to calm your Kingmaker down. But… without your Kingsbond… will you, uh, will things here be okay?”

Kingmakers are also like Primals in that they can’t be killed… except FF14 goes ahead and kills a Primal off anyway. What I’m saying is that Roland should probably just stick his gun in Pugnacius’s mouth and be done with it.

Evan then introduces himself to Pugnacius (which I’m going to skip), but more importantly…

We’ve gotten Niall his forest back. Time to go back to the forest and subsequently clear-cut it for kingdom materials.

Roland: “Now we can finally start building our kingdom.”

Tani: “Wait. Niall - Pugnacius had his kingsbond stolen by a creepy snake-headed weirdo. You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?”

Tani begins showing her racism against green people.

Niall: “Stolen!? Jings, his kingmaker must be tearing the place tae pieces!”

Batu: “Aye, it wanted to, sure enough. But we taught it a little lesson it won’t soon forget. Goldpaw’s safe… for now.”

Niall: “Kingsbond-stealin’s no mean feat, though… he didnae happen tae be infusin’ things with an awful filthy fug, did he?”

Evan: “Yes! A sort of… purple aura?”

Niall: “That’ll be the Horned One’s doing then, right enough.”

Roland: “The Horned One?”

This is a plot point we will not see again until the very end of the game.

Roland: “So we just need to go to this Allegoria place and get the bond back, right?”

Niall: “Ye’ll have a job daein’ that, I’m afraid. Allegoria hasnae existed for… oh… two thousand years or more now. It disappeared along with the land on which it stood.”

Evan: “So he’s the king of a country which hasn’t existed for centuries?”

Tani: “Is he a ghost or something?”

Niall: “Whatever he is, I’d say he’s lookin’ tae pinch people’s Kingsbonds in order tae try and bring the Horned One back somehow. And if he does that, the whole world’ll be filled with purple fug before ye can say ‘We’re Doomed!’”

Evan: “Then we mustn’t let him succeed! We can’t let him bring back the Horned One!”

Roland: “We sure can’t. But if we’re going to stop him, we’re going to need the strength of an entire kingdom - a kingdom we haven’t even started building yet.”

What we are about to enter is what is without a doubt the worst part of the game.

Evan: “Where did all these people come from?”

Roland: “I see greenlings, sky pirates… even a few people from Ding Dong Dell.”

This line is actually a lie - as far as I remember from my end-game save, we never actually recruit a single greenling apart from Niall himself.

Tani: “They must all want to be citizens of our amazing new kingdom!”

Batu: “That they must, right enough, but how did the swabs even know to come a-knockin?”

Man, a kingdom ruled by a ten year old boy with a tiny green gambling addict for a finance minister. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

And naturally Evan, being a total dipshit, immediately goes for it.

Roland: “So… if Niall’s the Minister of Finance, I guess that makes Batu… the Minister of Defense?”

Batu: “The swab in charge o’ fightin’, ye mean? I like the sound of that a good deal!”

I wasn’t aware getting nuked counted as valuable country-running experience, but okay.

Evan: “No, you shall be my Chief Consul, Roland. I’m no politician. I shall need your help.”

Roland: “Well, that’s very kind of you, Evan… I just… I don’t know if I’ll be…”

Roland ALMOST feels like he’s trying to take responsibility for getting New York destroyed, but then gets over it immediately.

Evan: “It’s a king’s job to appoint his ministers, correct? Then I hereby name you Chief Consul.”

You might ask if Evan ever finds out about the whole getting nuked thing, and I’ll tell you right now that the answer is no.

I’m going to skip a couple of pointless dialog lines since I think we’ve both seen enough of this bullshit. I started Disgaea 5 recently, and the writing in this game is maybe a half-step above any given Disgaea game. All it’d need is Roland complaining about not being the main character and Evan constantly screaming about how much he loves curry.

I vote for “Dipshittia”, after the fact that not only is this country being founded on a totally unachievable political goal, it’s also run by a dipshit.

Yep, Dipshittia it is.

Evan then gives a speech that I’m going to skip about half of, because it’s just the sky pirates getting into line.

They’re really trying hard here to have him channel JFK, and it just doesn’t work.

By the end of the decade, we will put a man on the moon! By man, I mean anime, and by anime I mean we’re banning all anime, anime is over.

Another question you might be asking at this point: does the whole idea of a kingdom being founded on a completely unachievable idea run by a ten year old being a really bad idea ever get brought up as a plot point?

I’m not going to answer, but you’ve seen enough of this game to know what the answer is.

There’s another cutscene with Bluehair McPlotruiner that I’m going to skip.

Welcome to the worst part of Ni No Kuni 2: the kingdom management minigame. The kingdom management game is to NNK2 what, say, Item World or Chara World are to Disgaea… except instead of having a direct effect on gameplay, kingdom management only really affects itself.

Oh, and we’re in Chapter 4 now.

Roland starts off by giving an extended tutorial on how this works, but I’ll just handle that for you. Kingdom management is basically one of those clicker games.

We start off with the castle, and a large barren wasteland with nothing in it. Unlike the main game, kingdom management has its own currency called Kingsguilders (KG). KG is gained at a set rate per hour based on your influence (top-right).

You’ll notice that we have a limit as to how much KG the kingdom can hold. We’re not actually limited to how much we can have, but the kingdom can only store 3000 before it will stop generating more. This means we have to come back every hour to claim our KG… or lose it.

At the start, you’re forced to build four basic buildings: the Spellworks, the Armory, the Blacksmith, and the Higglery. The spellworks researches spells - this is how we upgrade things like Evan’s fireball spell to do more damage. It’s that building in the back, with the gold dome on top of it. If you’ll remember, back in Cloudcoil Canyon we found a locked blue chest. The spellworks is how you research the unlocking spell that unlocks said blue chests.

The armory and blacksmith are used to craft stuff - the armory is the helmet-shaped building to the right of the spellworks. Crafting in this game is pointless.

The building in front of the spellworks is one of the few useful buildings in this mode: it’s the general store, which allows us to (eventually) stock up on high-level healing items we can’t find anywhere else.

Over here, we have the blacksmith (left), the higglery (back), and the barracks (green roof).

The higglery is where we can upgrade our higgledies and make new ones. It’s almost totally useless apart from a few end-game upgrades that require way more KG than we have right now. The barracks is for upgrading stuff for skirmish mode.

All of the other buildings are resource gathering points, which will gather resources as long as they are staffed. Right now, we don’t have the people to do that.

Each building allows you to staff it with characters we’ve recruited - all of our major party members are recruits, as are a bunc h of NPCs from the sky pirate base, Niall, and Floyd.

Each character has four aptitudes: combat, crafting, higgledies, and magic. The explorer’s guild here does have one useful upgrade that increases the speed at which we move on the world map… but we can’t research it yet. That’s because each character has a unique skill that unlocks things depending on where they’re placed.

Some characters, like Floyd here, can only be placed in one particular building. In Floyd’s case, that’s the restaurant. You’ll also see Gerel, the store owner from the pirate base, standing in front of the general store: that’s her specialty. No one else can run the store.

Anyway, that about does it for this update. Next time, we’ll start on the godawful sidequests we’ll need to do in order to level up the kingdom.


#24

Update 20: Go Fetch Grandma’s Dildo from Item World

With all of the buildings we were able to construct, there’s only one we don’t have a person for, and that’s the higglery.

Evan immediately makes a suggestion that requires us to go back and visit that annoying goddamn old lady because of course he does.

Once we hit the road, you can see that the overworld model for Evermore has changed since the last time we were here. There’s one thing I didn’t explain in the last update, and that’s kingdom level.

Evermore has total of four kingdom levels, which cost a (usually huge) amount of kingsguilders and are only accessible once we recruit enough people. The game actually locks progress behind this - you cannot finish the game past a certain point without your kingdom being level 3. Right now, we’re at level 1.

I have a theory that at one point, the developers intended to implement microtransactions for kingdom management mode but backed down because of the outcry over EA and the way they handled Battlefront 2.

If you’ll remember from… how long ago was that again? We grabbed one of our first trip doors right outside of Martha’s cottage, so we can just warp there.

This entire segment is an introduction to sidequests. Roughly half the sidequests in this game award us a recruit for Evermore, though many of those are part of a different mechanic we won’t see until much later. The rest award crafting materials, and are largely not worth doing apart from one.

Evan: “We’ve… um… a favor to ask. We’ve started our new kingdom, you see, and we were wondering if you might like to come and live there. We need someone who knows about higgledies.”

By the way, all of the sidequests are blatant fetch quests, apart from a handful related to skirmish mode and a few that task you with killing superbosses.

Except… and there’s always an except…

We need to find the old lady’s magic dildo, because that is absolutely a name for a dildo.

EVAN! NO!

Martha: “It’ll get even the filthiest pot sparkling clean with just a swish and a swash.”

Martha: “And my little higgledy-darlings outright refuse to be born into anything but the cleanest of cauldrons! So, you see, I can’t be doing without it!”

Evan: “But who do you think could have stolen it, Auntie Martha?”

If I had to guess, I’d say dementia. I have fifty bucks that says the higgledies are like those things in My Neighbor Totoro where only the young (and impressionable) and old (and very senile) can see them. Roland has just been playing along this whole time while he finds a home to put her in.

Evan: “Well then… we’ll get it back for you!”

Yep, nothing to see here but an old, racist, senile grandma.

Welcome to the sidequest screen. I won’t be showing this off much in the LP, but this is a screen you will be seeing a lot if you play this game yourself. The reward is… actually kind of tempting for this point in the game. This sidequest is mandatory, but three-leafed soreaways are NNK2’s equivalent of a hi-potion, and are pretty much the best healing item you can get outside of kingdom management mode.

The Grotty Grotto is just a bit east of Auntie Martha’s house. There are a lot of caves in this game, but Grotty Grotto is actually special for one reason.

This quest is dead simple: the grotto is laid out such that it’s a straight shot to the only group of enemies in the entire area, who are carrying the dildo.

Even on Extreme mode, these guys are done within seconds.

Before we can leave, though…

We get introduced to a character who will become one of the final recruits for Evermore, much later in the game. I finished her sidequest shortly before I went after the final boss on my first run.

Her name is Mileniyah, and apart from being extremely annoying, she adds almost nothing in kingdom management mode if you ever bother recruiting her.

Evan: “Um… is there something we can help you with?”

Evan: “But you said you had a special mission for-”

Mileniyah then gives us the Dreamer’s Key. There’s a whole conversation that explains what it is, but I’ll spare you and just tell you myself.

There are nine caves in the magical isekai kingdom that have a door, like this one. You could theoretically have run across this one before getting this quest, so the key is just to stop you going in before then.

Coming across it will remind you to save before going in. This is absolutely something you want to do, because the Dreamer’s Maze is essentially Item World from Disgaea, except without the ability to leave until it’s completed. Unlike Item World, there are a limited number of mazes (nine) and each one has a fixed number of levels and a fixed enemy level range.

Inside the maze, your goal is to find the door on each level that leads to the next level. The levels are procedurally generated as far as I know.

You’ll notice up in the top-right that there’s a “danger meter”. The dungeon starts at danger level 1, and the circular meter increases every couple of frames. Each danger level (there’s four, I think) increases the level of all enemies within the maze.

Just underneath that meter is our orb count. Enemies in the mazes drop orbs, as do random breakable objects. You can use kingdom management to increase the number of orbs you get, as well as lower the rate at which the danger level rises… and eventually just make it so the game will point you to where the door is.

There’s not much of a difference as far as I know between danger level 1 and danger level max.

There are also blue chests we can waste orbs on, but orbs have a far more important use.

Each floor has an idol hidden in it that will take your orbs and allow you to reset the danger level to 1. This is important not so much for the sidequest mazes as for the big one at the end of the game, which is 100 floors long and requires you to clear all of the other mazes to enter.

The door leading to the final level of a maze will always give you this notification. Thankfully, the danger meter stops once we reach the final floor (and also pauses in menus), and there’s no difference between 1% and 99% on the bar, so long as the actual level doesn’t increase. Grotty Grotto is only three floors.

The final floor of each maze is a boss. Keep in mind that we’re still on Extreme at this point, so let’s just see…

NOPE!

Even on Normal, this thing is a damage sponge.

It took me… I want to say around four minutes to kill this thing, which has significantly more HP than the one we fought in the forest.

This gets us one of the nine chaos emeralds, which we need to combine to access that final maze at the end of the game… if we want to. It’s optional.

Next time, we’ll go back to Goldpaw and start grinding sidequests.


#25

Update 21: Sidequest Grinding 1

Once we get Martha’s scrubber back, all we have to do is teleport over to her cottage and quest complete.

We’ll do just that, and start doing higgledy research. There’s no particular reason for it, we just had the KG lying around and the early higgledy research has a pretty good cost-influence ratio.

I also went and built the kitchen for Floyd - this is again because the kitchen (at least its first level) has a good cost-influence ratio compared to some of our other options right now. The kitchen is one of the big influence-point generators, though not as cost-effective as some other ones we’ll see later.

Before we go to the cutscene, I’d like to just point something out about how broken gear progression is in Ni no Kuni 2. We’re going to kill ourselves a superboss.

Just north of Evermore is this asshole - a giant level 23 whamster. We’re level 19 right now, so it’s a little above us… but this guy’s a pushover unless you’re dumb enough to fight him on extreme. By the way, the superboss drops are fixed so you don’t get anything better for killing them on extreme.

On normal, this boss is extremely easy - he has a shield, but his attacks only hit a small area in front of him and thus we can just run around behind him and hit him repeatedly.

We can even knock him down with charged special attacks and just lay down the damage. Clangston spent probably 80% of this fight eating dirt.

His only real attack when he’s not busy being prone is charging in a straight line, which has a very visible wind-up and is super easy to avoid. The one hit I took here, believe it or not, was because Windows decided to steal focus due to fucking stickykeys since I just built this PC a few months ago and forgot to turn that off.

He dies, and everyone immediately levels up. This is why you want to do most superbosses as soon as you possibly can.

The other reason is this thing.

The bone mail this thing dropped is an armor we won’t see regular drops of until near the end of the game. You can see that it’s nearly twice as strong at physical defense as the previous best armor we had, and over twice as good at magic defense.

I also tried the slime again, but the slime is practically impossible to do without Evan and I didn’t feel like going back to kill it.

Actually, you know what? Fuck it. No plot this update, it’s sidequest time.

Each one of those speech bubbles on the minimap is a sidequest. There’s one we can do right in front of us.

This is Persha, who we met in the basement of the castle at Ding Dong Dell.

Unfortunately, she wants to make a quilt for the inn before she leaves forever, so she needs four lumps of greenglade cotton. We had eight, and it’s almost always worth it to get a citizen, so this is pretty much a no-brainer.

Next up is this guy, Nu Bi, who is a weaponsmith… and would be our primary person in the weapon shop if we ever bothered to craft. But we won’t, because the superboss drops are that good.

Magmanimus, however, is an asshole and we absolutely, positively need Evan to kill it.

Goos, you see, have very poorly defined hitboxes and an attack that hits in a 360-degree arc that comes with absolutely no warning. This means it is very hard to hit them to gain MP back.

The reason we can’t do this with Roland is that Magmanimus spends half of its time in a state where it only takes damage from spells. Evan’s water attack is pretty much the only thing we have that can do any kind of damage to it.

When it gets under half HP, it splits. It splits again at 25% HP. Depending on how dickish the RNG feels like being, this can be not too bad, or they can all sit right on top of each other and become virtually impossible to damage due to the constant 360-degree arc attack.

I’m not going to lie, I died twice on this fight. Both Evan and Roland levelled up (Tani and Batu levelled up from trash mobs on the way to the boss) again.

Its drop is… a really shit accessory.

The REAL superboss drop is the quest reward, which is easily the best sword obtainable at this point in the game.

Would’ve been real useful against that magma asshole… but it’ll be even more useful on our NEXT sidequest that requires us to kill a superboss.

Hoi Den has an EXTREMELY useful skill for this point in the game: she’s how we get the Explorer’s Guild to produce a passive ability that boosts our movement speed on the world map. She wants us to kill Mortimer, who lives in a cave near Evermore. Man, Roland really picked a great location.

Mortimer is a giant asshole of a boss, mostly because he’s very hard to hit without also being hit. Tani dies in the first 30 seconds and I don’t bother reviving her.

His main attack involves chasing after someone, then hitting them with his sword with no real warning to speak of. This does about 350 damage… on normal.

We have one way to kill this asshole, and that is with Roland’s new sword. His sword has the freeze attribute, which causes enemies to freeze solid upon being hit with one of his special attacks. One flatliner and Mortimer is unable to do anything for a good five to six seconds.

His reward is trash, but we don’t care.

The first thing we do upon getting back is shoving Hoi Den into the Explorer’s Guild and getting that movement increase.

We also pick up this sidequest, which requires an item we won’t see as a regular drop until Kingdom Level 3. There’s another sidequest we have to do first, which happens to reward a grass-green thread. Unfortunately, we won’t see that one until after we advance the plot some more.

There is one more sidequest we can do back at the sky pirate base for a rather useless citizen whose only real talent is vegetable farming.

You talk to him and he runs away.

The map will outright tell you where he is, but you have to do this three more times before he’ll join you.

Munokhoi brings our total citizen count to 11, still less than halfway to Kingdom Level 2.


#26

Update 23: The Plot Goes to Shit

Before I start this update, I’d like to say that this update, right here? This is where the entire plot (which is already full of holes and sinking rapidly into a pool of its own waste) completely fucking tanks. This is the point where I realized on my first playthrough that Ni no Kuni 2 is not a good game.

Back in that cutscene I skipped over in the last update, we’re going to find our next objective.

Roland: “But we’re still missing something vital. You have people gathered here from all over the world. If you’re going to unite them, you need a banner to do it under.”

By “all over the world”, he means Goldpaw and the area immediately surrounding the kingdom, plus some pirates. There are in fact two races we don’t have anyone representing right now.

Evan: “A…banner?”

Roland: “What exactly do we stand for? What are our goals? Our values? That’s what I mean by a banner - a shared purpose. Something everyone can work toward. Without that, we can’t call ourselves a nation.”

Ooh! Ooh! I vote that we become Florida and make our purpose to see how many times we can top ourselves in generating stories about strange crimes that occur in the state! Seriously, if I ever get Connecticut Yankee’d to an isekai realm and have to found my own kingdom, the first thing I’m doing is making it Florida. No one would dare fuck with it because they’d get run over by a guy who is simultaneously naked, drunk, and high on meth driving a stolen pizza delivery truck.

Evan: “Hmm…”

Roland: “You’re the King, what kind of kingdom were you hoping for?”

And you just know that because Evan is a dipshit ten year old he’s going to be like “I want a kingdom where every day is Christmas! And the buildings are made of ice cream!”

Yep, it’s dipshit o’clock here in Evermore.

Roland: “Sure, we know that part. But we need something more concrete than that.”

Now, I’d like to pause for a moment and restate something I’m sure I’ve said before, which is this. At no point is it ever shown that any of the four major kingdoms in the isekai realm are or have ever been at war, nor are they in any actual danger of doing so. Like, even Pugnacius probably would’ve just caused his kingdom of morons to die of their own stupidity.

Batu: “And who doesn’t want that lad, hm? Ye think we liked bein’ at it tooth and nail with the wyverns the whole time? Or they with us?”

Further, I’d like to say that at no point in this game is there ever the sort of Undertale moment with the monsters, even though Batu sort of insinuates here that they’re not just mindless killing machines with absolutely zero chance of redemption the way they are in Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy.

And the thing is, this is EXACTLY the kind of game where that kind of thing could’ve been done! The writers for this game had a fucking perfect opportunity to do the Undertale thing, and they fucking didn’t! It could’ve been a character growth moment for Evan and maybe an opportunity to show that he’s not just a Mary Sue!

He totally is a marysue, by the way.

The other major problem I have with this scene is that Batu is the voice of reason here. Batu, the guy who was ready and willing to execute a child. You would think that Roland would be the one chiming in here saying that it simply isn’t possible, but no that would be good writing.

I honestly think that this is kind of the point where the people at Level 5 decided to just turn this game into a cash grab.

But no, no one is going to correct Evan or try to set him on the right path. Instead, he’s going to just plow ahead with his plan to eliminate war from a world in which war doesn’t even exist.

Sure, there was the coup, but that’s not really a war - and as we’ll see going forward, Evan very much means the traditional international idea of war.

Roland: “If that’s your decision, we’ll need to gather intel on our rival kingdoms. I for one don’t feel like I know enough about this world yet.”

There’s one other thing I’d like to point out here, which is that Evan’s council is composed entirely of humans, despite the fact that there are at least three different furry species (cats, dogs, and a third one we haven’t seen yet) with no representation.

By the way, even though we never see Roland tell anyone else about the whole isekai thing, everyone just sorta knows about it. In fact, I’m pretty sure every NPC in the isekai kingdom knows more about Roland than we do at this point.

Now it’s time for us to meet the worst fucking character in any JRPG I have ever played. Remember Poshul in Chrono Cross? Dial that up to about five hundred and you have Boddly.

The library in Goldpaw is right across from the inn. You can’t miss it.

Remember the evil old lady from Spirited Away? She’s back, because Fred couldn’t find any other Ghibli IPs to rip off.

Also she talks like this and I fucking hate her so no, I’m not going any further with this conversation. Basically, she wants us to do three dumb sidequests for her because the game figures you either didn’t notice or didn’t give a shit about the markers on the map.

Anime was a fucking mistake.

Anyway, our first quest is to get her a “red, red rose”. Unfortunately, we need a world map spell that is only ever used for this one particular mission to do so, because said flower is located up a cliff north of Goldpaw.

There’s an NPC in town who can teach us the spell if we recruit her, which means we need to grind more sidequests.

Li Li is on a bridge directly across from the library.

Just when it sounds like she’s going to join us…

Yeah no, we need to bring her three boar asses first. I swear, this feels like one of the developers almost became self-aware and was trying to do some meta commentary but then gave up.

Thankfully, all we actually need to do is walk straight out of Goldpaw and fight a single group of skeleplasms anywhere in the blue circle.

Unfortunately, there’s an extra step we have to take - namely putting Li Li to work in kingdom management mode.

First, I spent about half our KG to upgrade the “hubble-bubblery”, which is basically a healing item research facility. There’s a good reason for this that I don’t know if I showed off, but we can only carry a limited number of each type of healing item into battle… and when you’re dealing with superbosses, you’re going to need the stronger stuff.

Bridge is actually not a bad deal, 160KG for 5500 influence (which I believe is about 80KG/hr).

In the meantime, I started some other cheap research to boost our income to just over 4000KG an hour. Given that the cap is 5000, we’re doing pretty well for this stage of the game. I also had to “finish” the research into that faster world map movement skill.

For some reason, the game doesn’t automatically complete research - you have to click the button. This means our actual influence is a few thousand higher than that last screenshot, bringing us to around 4200KG/hr.

Meanwhile, Bridge finishes.

Man, this spell sucks. Guess you get what you pay for.

The spot where we need to use Bridge is actually more east of Goldpaw than it is north, but whatever. Some asshole went through the trouble of making this twenty-foot span of cliff invisible.

You know, I remember when Okami did this, only it was better because Okami was a good game.

The skirmish battle there is level 16, and is probably impossible with the units we have now. The good news is, however, that we COULD use this to grind up our existing units if we so chose… though we shouldn’t because we don’t have a full army and skirmish mode is pointless.

There’s also a chest here that has a sword with stats identical to those of the freezing longsword we got from that quest last update, but lacks the freeze-on-hit attribute.

The little red sparkle on the ground is the rose, which we bring back to the Spirited Away reference to get our second mission.

Her saying horny-worny makes me want to delete this game.

She also gives us this: a bottle of skin cream.

So, if you’ll remember back to when we were in Cloudcoil Canyon, there was that one area off to the side near the beginning hidden behind a prop clover, which I said contained higher-level enemies that would absolutely murder the shit out of the party. That’s where we’re headed.

We’re not going to do this, because while we do have the facility and the money to upgrade Evan’s spells, we’re missing a key ingredient.

Comely Corals can be obtained through one of the buildings in kingdom management mode, which we actually do have… but it’s a rare drop unless the building is upgraded and the upgrade is not efficient in terms of influence.

I stuck Persha in there anyway while I was working on the LP itself to see if I could get one to drop, but I didn’t get one and took her out. Why, you ask? Well, let me explain that since I never really did (and fucked if the game is going to).

You see how Tani here has a gold star next to her portrait, but Persha doesn’t? That’s because every character has a place they’re particularly suited to work: Tani’s happens to be the mining camp. They also have an experience bar. There are a bunch of upgrades later on that will require us to have levelled up our personnel - and the only real way to do that (short of one facility we’ll get much later in the game) is to put them in buildings where they have that star.

Back in Cloudcoil Canyon, our objective is pretty clear.

I already got the clover the first time we came through here, so we can just go up and fight.

What was once an insurmountable wall dies in about ten seconds.

Roland: “But how do we get up there?”

Batu: “Time was, I would’ve shimmied up there quick as ye could tie yer shoes. But ah… that was a while back.”

Roland: “What about using one of your flying contraptions?”

Batu: “Be my guest, Roland lad. But ye’ll think better of it when ye’re tumblin’ from the sky, yer wings ablaze about ye.”

Tani: “Yeah, dead prop-leafed clover. And didn’t Niall say something about Quicken Growth not working on dead plants?”

You know what we’re about to do?

Put skin lotion on a plant, that’s what.

Three clovers later, and… oh look, it’s a miniature Kulve Taroth. No, that’s literally what this thing is, a miniature Kulve Taroth.

Meet the Incineraptor, possibly the easiest mini-boss in the game. I did this on Extreme without ever really taking more than incidental contact damage.

The Incineraptor, much like Kulve Taroth, will spend an inordinate amount of time spewing flames in a small area. This leaves its legs wide open for attacks. You can pretty much just sit here and build up MP without it being able to damage you.

The boss will fly up and try to reposition itself, which is completely pointless because it’ll just go back to spewing flames.

Just like Kulve Taroth, it also has a dashing attack that usually won’t hit anything. Thankfully, it does not have Kulve’s broken-ass hitboxes to go with it.

Unlike some bosses, the incineraptor can be stunned by a charged (or zing-powered) attack. Flatliner wouldn’t do it, but Circle Cut sure as hell did. The head takes slightly more damage than the body does, and you can pretty much build up your MP to full by the time it gets up again.

Eventually, the boss will roar and take flight for yet another Kulve Taroth ripoff attack.

Here, it’ll fly up and nuke the area directly underneath it, as well as two smaller areas to the sides of the initial blast… just like Kulve, though Kulve can’t fly.

At some point, Boy Sampson gave me an awakening orb, so I turned Roland super saiyan and had him murder the shit out of the incineraptor with repeated knockdown stuns.

Everyone levels up, and we also get a piece of armor that’s an upgrade for Batu.

That and the horn… and one other thing. Directly under the Incineraptor’s nest is a chest.

Inside the chest is a songbook we won’t be able to use until Kingdom Level 2. and probably not until Level 3 when we have actual KG to blow, because the building that uses these costs a fuckload.

Next time, we’ll finish Boggly’s last quest and probably grind more sidequests.


#27

Update 24: Sidequest Grinding II

In the time it took me to write up the last update, I left the game running and made enough KG to upgrade the explorer’s guild again. We are now making more KG per hour than the kingdom can actually hold, meaning 52KG is going to waste every hour.

Most of our buildings are locked from being upgraded until we reach level 2, so all we can really do at this point is push forward and grind it out.

Boddly’s final task is a skirmish battle. She won’t let us take it on without getting a third unit in our army, though.

This entire part of the game is something I kind of selectively forgot about.

If we hadn’t built the kitchen for Floyd already, this is where we’d be forced to do it.

Floyd works kind of like the chefs in I Am Setsuna - if we bring him enough ingredients, he can make dishes that give some negligible buffs for a period of time. Once he’s made a dish, we can then buy it rather than having to bring more ingredients to him.

The look on Floyd’s face tells me he knows damn well he’s screwing us. Thankfully, we have all the ingredients we need.

We then get Gao Jia for Evermore. His only synergy is with the barracks.

Batu: “We have swordsmen and archers ready to deploy.”

We then get two more sidequests to grind. Let’s get right to that. Bai Gon is the closest to the casino, so we’ll go seek him out first.

Great, so we’re recruiting an old hobo by giving him three boar asses. What is it with people and asking us to kill shit for them?

Min Ti, on the other hand, is far more willing to join. All we need to do is bring her a single item, which is purchaseable at the general store both in Goldpaw and in Evermore. We actually have one right now, so this quest is already done.

This also rewards us with the grass-green thread we need for that other person, so we can get two sidequests done in one go. Min Ti’s unit is a gun-based unit.

Erm… yeah, I think Evan’s a little young to own a sex dungeon.

Pi Chi’s primary purpose is being used in the armory. I took a break here to stick all the new people in the best slots I could find for them.

In particular, Pi Chi opens up a wide range of research at the armory that is extremely cost-efficient. By the time I was done here, I raised the kingdom’s income to about 5300KG an hour.

The Grimchillas that Bai Gon wanted us to kill spawn right outside of Goldpaw once you accept the quest. They’re nothing challenging, but I had to kill two groups to get the required amount.

We could go back to Boggly right now but… hey, that’s a quest marker!

This is Fai Do, who is Bai Gon’s grandson. He’s an armorer, but won’t join us unless we give him some silver… which we have none of right now. We can, however, get some potentially through kingdom management mode. I had just enough money to upgrade the mining camp to the point where it can give silver, and Tani is already working there anyway, so we’ll get it eventually.

We’ll come back for this one later.

Oh, and before I end this short update… there’s one other thing I want to talk about. I think they added this in one of the patches that came out after the game released, but there’s now a “Citizen Log” with information about all of the people we’ve recruited for Evermore. I figured I’d show a few of these off in particular, and at the same time talk about why I hate this fucking game.

This is Roland’s profile. You’ll want to note the part at the end about him having a son Evan’s age… and also the fact that this is the first place we can learn his last name (apart from a cutscene much later on). His son never becomes a plot point - but there is something I want to explain about that.

In the first game, there was a plot point about travelling between the isekai realm and the real one, and every person in the isekai realm having a real-world counterpart. In fact, the entire plot is set off by this: Oliver (the main character of Ni no Kuni 1) has his mother die and goes to the isekai realm with the express purpose of finding her isekai counterpart so he can revive her. The entire point of the first game is that death is a very permanent thing that cannot be reversed, even with the isekai realm’s magic.

I think you can see where the writers were probably going: Evan was supposed to be Roland’s son in the isekai world, hence why Roland didn’t want to leave. Why they got rid of this, I have no idea.

By the way, they never at any point bring up the whole real-world counterpart thing (they called it “soulmates” in the first game) in 2.

This is Tani’s. I mostly bring it up because I feel like they couldn’t have made her any more of a San ripoff if they tried.

Lofty’s.

Next time, we’ll finish Boggly’s quest and do a skirmish again, wishing we hadn’t.


#28

Update 25: Reading Comprehension

We have to go back to Boddly… regrettably. Her dialog is almost word-for-word the same as last time we spoke to her, but we have to do this in order to trigger the event flag for the skirmish battle.

The skirmish pops up just south of Goldpaw.

Skirmish Mode now has a new option: Bolster Forces, which allows us to waste our precious KG from kingdom management mode to either get a boost or re-do skirmishes on hard mode. If you’re going to go for the all-skirmishes achievement, you might as well wait until you’re at kingdom level 3 and earning 400,000 KG an hour so you can just buy all the boosts at once.

I went off-screen two updates ago and did some grinding on that higher-level skirmish to get our two existing units to level 6 - they’d be level 3 otherwise. As you can see, the other side has two spear units to start… and gain a few more once we defeat the initial wave. Spear units are strong against swords but weak against hammers, meaning we really should just sit everyone who isn’t Bai Gon out.

As soon as we start the skirmish, Min Ti reminds us that her unit’s “shock tactic” is splitting from the main force to attack independently. This is absolutely a horrible goddamn idea because the split ability is on a timer, meaning that she’ll either get destroyed by melee on the way to her destination or get stuck on a wall trying to rejoin the main force. This also costs 50 military might, just to add insult to injury.

I’m not going to go over every detail of this skirmish battle, apart from a couple of highlights. Chingis gets destroyed in about ten seconds when the spears swarm the rear flank, and the guns and bows (being highly weak to melee) lose most of their units in seconds.

The only other new thing here is the addition of Command Posts. Command Posts are a structure more useful to the AI than they are to you - they crank out a crap unit every twenty seconds or so once you get within a certain radius of them.

You can rebuild them for 100 military might, which converts them to your side. This is almost completely pointless, because all they do is give you 20 military might every… ten seconds or so.

The final boss is a wand unit and a couple of monsters - monsters are special in that they’re basically a standard army unit that doesn’t lose attack strength as they lose HP. These ones are both sword-based, and thus strong against our hammers… but we have our rage bar up all the way.

All we have to do is go super saiyan and they die within seconds.

When we warp back to Goldpaw… aw hell, another sidequest. This one takes a couple of minutes… so I did it anyway to see if I could get some silver ore to drop for that other sidequest we can’t do.

This dumbass had all his shit stolen… and he wants to join us as an army commander. Makes perfect sense.

Right at the entrance to Cloudcoil Canyon is this guy, who is here solely to give us a plot flag at Crookneck Cavern, which is located a small distance outside of Cloudcoil Canyon on the way to the pirate base. We actually stopped there briefly before.

Inside is a dick-ass merchant who is selling Tabbias’s stolen shit.

Once we buy it, Batu confronts him and he sends his bandit buddies at us.

Even on Extreme, it does not end well for him.

One trip door trip later (actually two, one to find out that the game is being a dick and won’t drop that silver ore) and it’s done.

We give the stone to Boddly, who is about to commit a crime against god.

Yes, we gave her all that shit so she could make lipstick.

More importantly, we get a library card. What follows is going to be a short sequence where Roland runs in a circle to five hotspots in order to read some textboxes, so I’ll just post the textboxes.

First up is the book on Goldpaw. These books are a bit different in that they’re the only place in the entire game where any kind of war is ever mentioned. This first screen is all shit we already know.

Capstan-upon-Hull is way to the south of Evermore, and the Eider Downs are the area between Evermore and it. There are no settlements there that are ever shown in the actual game. Note, however, that they don’t say how long ago that war was.

Next up is Hydropolis, the merfolk kingdom. The book is located right next to the book about Goldpaw. I wonder where we could possibly be headed next and what our next major boss fight could be?

You know, I preferred the way Mario Odyssey handled this kind of thing, where it was a footnote on a pause menu that didn’t get in the way of gameplay. Again, we have a war… but this one is another civil war, not an international one.

The long-lost continent of Nausicaa, which is a good film, unlike this trash.

Second to last is Ding Dong Dell. We already know most of this information, but…

So again, this is a civil war, not an international one. If you ask me, I think this entire portion of the game was only put in because the writers had no fucking clue what they were doing. I feel like they had three teams of writers that they kept in separate buildings with no knowledge of each other’s existence and had each one type out a plot and then just slapped them all together.

Roland at one point says that all of these books are actually stone slabs, and that it’s impressive they’d have written about the coup that happened maybe a week ago.

So yeah, what I feel like is that the writers changed up the plot several times before they released the game, and still hadn’t really gotten a single cohesive plot together by the time it shipped. From Roland’s character entry, it’s pretty clear that at one point they were probably going for a direct sequel to the first game (hence why Ding Dong Dell exists) but then decided for some reason not to do that (hence why none of the other locations from Ni no Kuni 1 exist and why the world map is totally different).

Broadleaf are the ones who made the Facebook ripoff, ruled by their beneveolent CEO, Zark Muckerberg. We’ll be heading there after Hydropolis, and it is easily the best-designed yet somehow also the worst and least fitting location for this kind of setting.

This part we will never hear anything about outside of this room, much like the other mentions of any kind of war that ever went on in the isekai realm. Like I said, they never at any point show any kind of actual war in Ni no Kuni 2. I think someone realized this just before it shipped, and that’s why they added this room to the game. They had to go with the “oh, all these wars happened several hundred years ago” bit because they already had assets in place and didn’t have the time or money to go back and fix stuff so there were obvious signs of battle damage or add cutscenes to show an actual war (or the threat of one).

Honestly, it was more than I ever needed to know in the first place. The best part is that this segment is only part of the problem I have with this game’s plot. To really understand why it sucks, I’d have to show you the ending.

Roland: “This place sure has seen its fair share of wars… though I guess that’s true of my world, too.”

This is the first time he ever brings up the fact that he’s from a different world to anyone but Evan, and no one seems to give a shit.

Roland demonstrates his amazing reading comprehension. Let’s total the amount of wars mentioned in those books, shall we?

Goldpaw: 1 annexation war that happened an indeterminate amount of time ago
Hydropolis: 1 human/merfolk civil war, also long since over
Ding Dong Dell: 1 mouse/cat civil war, has been over “for centuries”.
Broadleaf: A handful of human/monster conflicts, but monsters don’t count as people apparently since we’re killing so many of them.

So that’s… two civil wars and a monster culling to one thing that could maybe be called an actual international war. By that standard, Roland should be more worried about the furries turning against the all-human government or having Boy Sampson and/or a nuclear missile explode the continent, since at this point in my first playthrough my theory was that Doloran was travelling between worlds and was responsible for the nuclear strike ala The Gunslinger.

Batu: “Arr… t’ain’t precisely the jolliest o’ conclusions, but it sounds about right to me.”

Now, get ready for this shit.

Evan: “Roland, I’ve been thinking… what if we could unite the world?”

Nice try! Now, let’s see who you really are!

Oda Nobunaga! I knew it the whole time! All that talk about peace when you’re probably planning on lighting the furries on fire until they bow to your every whim!

No seriously, this is fucking textbook Nobunaga.

Roland: “Sure, unite the world and there’d be no one left to fight. That would certainly put an end to war…”

Roland: “But look at these books. Read what they’re saying. Nobody in history has ever come close to doing what you’re proposing.”

No one asked you!

Meet Ferdinand, ruiner of what little semblance of a plot remains in this game.

There are only five countries in the entire isekai realm, and that’s counting Evermore.

Tani: “Amazing! So someone has done it before!”

Roland: “But I just read every history book in here and none of them so much as mentioned his name.”

Read: Ferdinand is a walking fucking plot hole (likely added in at the last minute) who ruins the entire game just by existing. It’s top-secret because not even the writers thought he was a good idea. Anime was a mistake.

Next update, we’ll finally start heading to Hydropolis.


#29

Hydropolis sounds like the name for a Sonic the Hedgehog level. Although, we’re in magical isekai furry realm, so Sonic being here wouldn’t even be that weird.

Gotta stop all these civil wars by making the world all one country! …What do you mean that doesn’t make any sense?!


#30

Update 26: Collective Brain Damage

Oh trust me, you haven’t seen anything yet. By the way, I want to mention that Ni no Kuni 2 is still incredibly unstable on PC. I hadn’t really run into the instability until just now, but it tends to crash a lot and also will crash if it ever goes into windowed mode. Supposedly they fixed this months ago, but it’s still bad.

Nino2%202018-12-01%2020-31-22-03

Once we get back to Evermore, Roland not-so-subtly reminds us to go check kingdom management mode, because the game kind of assumes we haven’t touched it since we unlocked it - this would be a mistake. The reason I’m grinding it so hard off-screen is because I don’t want to end up in a situation where we’re locked out of progress because we haven’t reached Kingdom Level 3 yet.

As you can see, we’re far ahead of the curve. I have to pick up the KG every 40 minutes or so to not waste any.

In fact, we had enough to upgrade this building to level 3, which lets us unlock a new level of healing items in Gerel’s store. Upgrading the Hubble-Bubblery is important, and this was not something I realized on my first playthrough (mostly because the lower-level upgrades are trash).

Oh man, you mean we’re going to get together and give this game an actual plot? I vote for doing the entire thing over only this time it’s a battle royale game.

Step 1. Acquire a nuclear deterrent.
Step 2. Go to Costa Rica and find a scientist specializing in the development of bipedal nuke-launching tanks.

Roland: “First and foremost, we’ll need to sign a treaty with the other major nations of the world, effectively forming a single united realm. We propose to call this treaty the Declaration of Interdependence.”

You can’t see it because the scroll is blank, but further up there’s a picture of Roland riding a nuclear bomb like in Dr. Strangelove.

Evan, please stop looking at me like your plan to end race-based civil wars by creating a single nation ruled entirely by one race makes any kind of sense.

Roland: “We think that’s highly likely, yes. But we can’t worry about that right now. All we can do is visit each nation and try to convince them to sign up.”

Again, Batu is the only one with any kind of sense. Someone on Twitter a few months back said that this scene was like everyone in the room realizes it’s a bad idea but they’re doing it anyway to not make Evan cry. I think everyone has severe brain damage.

Batu: “Sure, this plan o’yers is a noble one, and a fine banner for an up-and-comin’ kingdom to unite under… but ye’re about as likely to get all the nations o’ the world to sign yer little pact as I am to grow a third leg!”

Roland: “Don’t say that. We can do this.”

I’d say he knows more than you, Roland, given that you got New York nuked.

Evan: “Stop it!”

Evan: “I…I don’t know if we can do this. But it doesn’t matter. I want to do it anyway.”

Evan: “I’ve realized something. Now that we’ve been to all these places and met all these people-”

What the shit? You went to one kingdom! One! The one that’s right next to yours!

That’s right, we’re doing it for an NPC we knew for all of ten minutes! This is like how all of the NPCs in Final Fantasy 14 talk about Louisoix all the time, despite the fact that he was in one cutscene where he immediately dies from being fantasy nuked by Bahamut.

Evan: “And I don’t care if we might not succeed! That’s no reason to give up!”

Roland: “That’s right.”

Evan: “Of course, it won’t be easy getting all of the countries of the world to sign our agreement. But if there’s even a chance of success, I have to try. And I’ll need all of your help to do it.”

And he’ll cry if he doesn’t get it, and then Roland will be very upset because the isekai realm version of his son who doesn’t exist in the final version of the plot didn’t get to live his non-canon son’s dream of taking over the world!

And with that, we’re off to Hydropolis! And by that, I mean Goldpaw again because Ni no Kuni 2 will be damned if it’s going to let you walk off without going through a bunch of padding!

Pugnacius: “Indeed it has. It is good to see you well. Since you so kindly shared Doloran’s identity and the details of his wicked scheme, my men have been working tirelessly to apprehend him… without success, I am sorry to say.”

Well no shit, the guy can teleport. How are you going to keep a teleporting man locked up?

Pugnacius: “Even now I cannot believe that he stole - that I allowed him to steal my Kingsbond. Whether I was manipulated or not, what happened was unforgivable.”

If you ask me why this cutscene exists, my best guess is that it was added near the end of development, probably around the same time that the final scene in the library was, because the writers realized that Pugnacius was kind of an asshole and got off scot-free.

Roland: “I read somewhere that the majority of the taxes generated by Lady Luck are intended to help the poor. Is this true?”

I’d like to point you to the update directly above this one, where Roland reads about Goldpaw. I did not skip any of the text boxes for that segment. Nowhere does it mention this.

Pugnacius: “It is. And in my weakness, I allowed her noble purpose to be corrupted… but enough about my woes. How may I assist you?”

Evan: “We came to ask you to join your kingdom with ours in the name of peace.”

Pugnacius: “All of the great nations agreeing on something? And something as momentous as this? The chances of such a plan succeeding are remote…”

Pugnacius: “But Goldpaw will stand beside you in your endeavor. After all, there would be no Goldpaw if not for you.”

Evan: “That’s wonderful!”

Pugnacius: “Indeed. We must hope that Lady Luck agrees.”

Yep, he’s going there.

Tani: “Are you kidding me?!”

Pugnacius: “I am not. In Goldpaw, all decisions are entrusted to fate, as you well know.”

So yeah, we’re going through this cutscene for… what is this, the sixth time now?

Lady Luck is the smartest person in the entire room.

Pugnacius: “The world is in danger. We stand together or fall apart. Goldpaw must join you.”

So yeah, the dice thing was a ruse the entire time. Why do they even have it then? Who the fuck knows.

Now it’s time for a cutscene we’re going to see three times in this game.

There’s one part of this cutscene I wasn’t able to capture, where it shows a mysterious green dragon next to Goldpaw’s kingmaker. You can sort of see part of it in the corner.

So yeah, we’ve got another step to go before we reach Hydropolis.

Fuck off!

Evan: “Yes, I have Roland to thank for that. And Boddly.”

No, Pugnacius signed it because he had his heart torn out by a guy in a stupid-ass snake costume.

Dude, he’s like ten years old! Plus he’s a catboy, and there is no such thing as a straight catboy. Not even Rule 34 has come up with a straight catboy. They just don’t exist.

Yep, he’s gay.

Anyway, that guy has fucked off. Now what?

Hey, this is just a Legacy of Kain ripoff! Those are the pillars of Nosgoth!

You know, it’s real disappointing they didn’t get Tony Jay to voice Doloran.

Well, shit. Next time, we’re off to Capstan-upon-Hull. We also fight another superboss and basically triple Batu’s attack power.


#31

Update 27: Broken Gear Progression

Capstan is a good distance south of Goldpaw, so we’re going to have to walk.

The mountain pass separating Goldpaw and Capstan is pretty nondescript, and also full of enemies that are about our level. We don’t give a single fuck about them, but since they aggro I had to fight off a couple.

We also run into a new enemy type: fire incarnates. These have a truckload of HP compared to the wind ones in Cloudcoil Canyon, and also are virtually impossible to kill without using Evan’s water spell. If they’re not killed after a few minutes, they teleport away.

There’s an entire area off to the side of Capstan, which is going to be our destination soon enough. That dragon is level 50 and is pretty difficult even for an end-game party to handle.

Capstan itself is in an area surrounded by high plateaus that we can’t reach on foot. I wonder why that could be? Anyway, near the town is a tainted monster that we absolutely want to kill right now.

Yvan is a wyvern who acts pretty much like every other wyvern except-

Whoops, I forgot to turn the difficulty down and got oneshotted.

Anyway, Yvan is a wyvern who behaves like every other wyvern we’ve fought, except that he does about ten times the damage they do. A single hit from him on normal does about 350 damage to Roland.

Most of the time, he’s going to be on the ground swinging his axes around like a dumb asshole.

And just like the others, he’ll start flying, which means we need jump attacks or ranged to knock him to the ground. Fortunately, Yvan’s defense is really low.

He also has a divebomb that does a load of damage.

While the fight itself wasn’t terribly difficult, I did have to revive Tani and Batu once each - this is because the AI tends to stand around and try to shoot it, which leads to them taking some pretty major hits. Everyone gets a free levelup, and…

We get ourselves a bitchin’ hammer. How bitchin’, you ask?

It has over twice the attack rating the second-best hammer we have has. That’s how good it is. We won’t find a replacement for this hammer for a long, long time.

We could go into Capstan, but there’s a couple more superbosses I want to take down first. Tani has been hurting for a good weapon for some time now, and I think it’s time we got her one.

Near the exit from Cloudcoil Canyon is this area, which has a cave across a gap. I actually wound up doing this much too late in the game when I played the first time for the reward to be useful, but now’s the perfect time to do it.

To get there, you have to stand right here and mash the action button until you cast Bridge. There’s no prompt for it.

This makes a bridge so we can get across and kick this thing’s ass with Batu’s hammer.

Normally I’d advise against fighting any lightning-based flying monsters with a hammer, but a hammer’s what we’ve got.

This is Stormigan. Compared to Yvan, he’s a total pushover.

Stormigan spends the entire fight flying around, which allows Batu to jump and hit him for massive fucking damage.

His only attack is a charged projectile, which can be completely dodged by just standing behind him.

Evan and Batu level up, but more importantly…

We get a spear for Tani that doubles her attack power. Tani now has a higher attack rating than Roland does. Don’t worry - we’ll get Roland a good weapon soon… but we need a boat first.

I also went back and murdered Googah because fuck that piece of shit. It is completely identical to the other slime superboss we fought, only without the fire element. Batu’s hammer made short work of it, and everyone got another level-up.

Oh, and one more.

Right near Niall’s forest is this area, hidden to the side at the start of the bridges that lead to Niall’s tree. It’s basically a procedurally-generated maze that isn’t actually procedurally generated.

At the end is this fucker. We’re actually higher level than it is, so it’s clobbering time.

I couldn’t tell you what the actual strategy is here, because I had Batu charge up a hammer spin and knocked it unconcious, then beat it to a pulp in about ten seconds. We got about 3/4 of a level off it.

Welcome to Capstan-upon-Hull. It’s a largely unused area, with only a handful of later-game sidequests that revolve around crafting.

There are only a few NPCs here, including an item shop and an inn.

This is Wright, the shipbuilder.

Evan: “Really? Has something happened?”

Sounds like free EXP! Let’s go kick that thing’s ass!

Making sure to grab the trip door on the way out, we can go destroy not only the story boss, but also another tainted monster.

Right near the shrine is another fairy-type tainted monster. With our party levelled and geared the way they are, we’ve essentially broken the game.

Lily is one of the easiest tainted monsters in the game. She sits perfectly still and shoots water balls directly in front of herself, so Batu just gets behind and shoves his foot straight up her ass.

Follow up with a charged hammer spin, and Lily is out of commission for quite some time, allowing Batu and Tani to beat the crap out of it.

I sacrified Batu to show off the only other attack Lily has: a charge forward that will probably instakill whoever it touches. Again, just sticking to her back will stop her from doing any kind of damage.

Not only does everyone in the active party get another level-up, we also get a pair of sandals that are almost as good as that armor Roland got earlier.

Combined with some drops from the common enemies in this area, we’ve gotten a pretty substantial power boost. If there were any other tainted monsters we could reach right now, you bet I’d be murdering them too.

At the end of the beach area is the shrine.

Gee, that sure looks like a boss arena. Good thing I never took the game off normal mode after doing the tainted monsters. Get ready for the dumbest possible logical conclusion ever.

Oh man, I remember this from Nioh. It’s one of those Joru-Gumo things, the half-woman, half-spider youkai. Turns out all you have to do is spam katana slashes on its spider bits and…

Tani: “Umm… some kind of coccoon or egg or something?”

Where’s Bushido Bill when you need him?

Evan: “W-what was that?”

Tani: “Oh my gosh, there’s someone inside it!”

Yeah uh, bad news, that dude is probably liquefying by now.

Batu: “Ye mean to say there’s people in ‘em? Every one o’ the blessed things?”

So… it’s a giant spider or a joru-gumo, right?

Nope! It’s a fucking squid! This makes about as much sense as uniting an entire country by force to end civil wars.

The Jelly Queen is a boss that’s more of an annoyance than an actual challenge, especially with our tainted monster equips.

Batu opens up with his new ranged skill, which launches an explosive arrow that knocks off about 500 damage.

The boss doesn’t move apart from jumping and turning…

And occasionally stopping to fire a fucking laser at people. These lasers do maybe 10 damage to Roland, but they do knock him over.

So yes, clearly this laser squid spun all those webs. Makes perfect sense… unlike Devious Vacuum, who is always funny and charming and capable of saying things that make sense. She’s pretty much the opposite of this trash game. Just trust me, the guy who is LPing a trash anime JRPG.

It also has a spinning multi-laser attack that can be avoided either by being far enough away from it or from being right up against it the way Roland is here.

Finally, it has a charge attack, which is super goddamn easy to avoid. The AI rushes in anyway.

The resulting explosion does minor damage, but also hits Tani and Batu with confusion.

Confusion lasts all of… I don’t know, two seconds? It mostly just makes the AI useless for a couple of seconds and that’s about it.

A few seconds later and the jelly queen dies.

For our efforts, we get a second bone mail that is just slightly worse than the one Roland has.

Evan: “Is everybody safe? Mr. Wright was awfully worried about you all.”

Right. Capstan. Actually, it’s been over an hour, so I should probably go grab our stuff in kingdom management mode.

Back at Evermore, we find our third silver nugget for Fai Do, as well as enough KG to start researching the next tier of medicines for the general store (which we’ll want so we can continue our tainted monster hunts). Let’s just head back to Goldpaw quick and…

Holy shit is it ever sidequest grinding time. We want to do these ASAP because we’re currently making way more KG than we can hold and almost all of our buildings are currently locked behind kingdom level 2.

First, we hand in the silver to Fai Do. The armor he gives us is trash, just like he is.

Next up is this quest, to find Evan’s old tutor from Ding Dong Dell. Clearly she’s an idiot given how dumb Evan is, but we absolutely need her for kingdom level 3. Why, you ask?

Look at her ability. The Institute of Innovation is a building we can’t have until kingdom level 2, but it reduces the cost of all buildings across the board and also reduces the time it takes to do research.

Hetty is in Niall’s forest about to be eaten by wolves.

One Flatliner from Roland later and they’re all dead. Quest complete.

There’s a couple of other sidequests (including one that was clearly one of the initial sidequests that the writers came up with that they later removed when they decided Roland’s son wasn’t going to be a plot point) that I did to hit Kingdom Level 2, but I’ll show those off in the next update. For now…

Back in Evermore, Nu Bi and Fai Do now have sidequests available that award a decent amount of KG. There’s an entire chain for each of them - Nu Bi will want to see weapons of a certain quality (you can upgrade your existing weapons in the armory once you reach a high enough level but it’s never worth it) and Fai Do will do the same but for armor.

Nu Bi’s quest here is either a total pain in the ass that requires a ton of crafting materials or a breeze based on RNG. Thankfully, we found a rarity 5 hybrid bow on the way to the spider-squid, so that one gets completed. Fai Do’s quest can actually be completed… with the armor he gave us for recruiting him.

This brought the treasury to a whopping 15,000 KG… but we’re still short a bunch of people. So, what do we do?

After visiting Capstan for the first time, this guy shows up in all of the major cities. This guy is “Swift Solutions”, which is essentially an MMO-style turn in system. He has randomly-generated quests that usually ask for crafting items or specific weapons and award “tokens of gratitude” in return.

You can then spend the tokens to buy perfectly willing and not at all coerced by what is clearly a system of human traffickers citizens for Evermore carte blanche.

I got all of these except Fitch, who doesn’t really matter. There are two recruits we ABSOLUTELY WANT here: Yung Mein and Chi Pi.

Yung Mein has the first available spear unit for skirmish mode, and thus is invaluable for a couple of skirmishes we’ll need to do coming up (apart from one I had foolishly already done before this).

Chi Pi also has a military unit, but more importantly boosts Institute of Innovation.

Spiffing Smithing is an important skill, but there’s a ton of recruits with it.

Finally, it’s time.

Hell yeah, motherfucker. We absolutely, positively want to build the Institute of Innovation first. There’s only… one small problem.

To get it, we need Aranella Square.

Aranella Square is 25,000KG. We have 11,000 left over after upgrading to level 2. At this stage, since we’re now making close to 8,000KG an hour, the best thing to do is just leave the game running in the background until we can afford it.

I also upgraded the General Store, which is an absolute must for tainted monster hunting.

Doing this gives us a 10% discount on all items, and also makes Gerel the first place we can buy Three-Leafed Soreaway. Since we can only carry a limited amount of each healing item type into battle, this gives us a significantly more powerful healing option.

Next time, after I’ve burned myself out on Smash, we’ll grind grind grind grind grind until we’ve got that goddamn institute.


#32

Update 28: Sexual Innuendo

I’m going to skip the majority of the remaining open sidequests, mostly because they’re the kind of thing where your brain goes on autopilot after a few of them. This one, however, is different. Unlike the other ones, this is a sidequest that gives us nothing but an alternate outfit for Roland.

The “vicious monster” is a down-statted version of the level 50 dragons we saw near the shrine last update. In fact, we’re so overpowered right now that this thing went down before I even had a chance to take screenshots.

Seriously, this was one attack from Batu. Not even a crit, just a regular physical attack.

Roland: “Hm? Is something wrong?”

Evan: “Oh no, it’s just… I was thinking about when they told us what happened… you got ever so angry, Roland. I’ve never seen you like that before. You’re usually so calm and collected. What happened?”

What happened was that Roland realized the isekai kingdom had better guns than he did.

And then he became president and had them murdered by the CIA.

Evan: “What?! You were bullied, Roland?”

Roland: “Sure. I was a pretty small kid, so there was no way I could fight them off. Whatever they did to me, I had to take it.”

Roland: “I was coming home from school crying every day, and my mom got worried. That was the worst part - I didn’t mind the bullying, but I hated seeing her like that.”

I have a feeling that this sidequest was originally part of the main story, back when the writers were still going with the “Evan is Roland’s isekai son” thing. The developers probably had already done it before the writers decided to go with the mess we actually got, and didn’t want to throw perfectly good code out so they just stuck it in as a sidequest.

Roland: “So when I heard that lady say what she did… I guess it got to me pretty bad. Sorry. I shouldn’t have gotten carried away like that.”

So there you have it, the only time Roland will ever mention his son.

Our reward… is a really dumb looking samurai outfit for Roland. I equipped it immediately.

The other sidequests in Goldpaw, in case you were wondering, were purely for non-recruiting purposes. One rewards a cookbook for the kitchen (useless) and the other allows you to take on a tainted monster for some trash loot.

There was one quest I picked up in Evermore to go fight the Goldpaw army in a skirmish for 4200KG. I took this one mostly because it features Evan talking to himself.

All that aside, our skirmish army is now around level 12-13. There are only a handful of skirmish sidequests that actually recruit people, so we’re probably good for a while.

I also took the liberty of upgrading the coffers in kingdom management. We’re making over 10,000 an hour now and will probably have both Aranella Square and the Institute by the time I’m done with this update.

Anyway, back in Capstan, we get sent to yet another filler quest.

Evan: “Hard-wearing wood, hmm? We’d better go speak to Niall.”

Niall: “I think I know what ye might be after. Reckon ye could do a lot worse than an Ironbough tree or ten. They grow over in the Hard Woods.”

Evan: “Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go and get some!”

Niall: “Aye, that ye could laddie, that ye could. But you’ll not be wantin’ to go strollin’ in there unprepared, believe me.”

Yeah, the “hard woods” sounds like it needs some lube.

Roland: “And there’s no other way of getting to these ironbough trees other than going through this thing?”

Niall then gives us a bottle of plant killer. Geez, what is this guy into?

Right across from Niall’s tree is… a giant pair of balls.

The balls are inert.

What follows is an area that is almost identical to (but a bit shorter than) the one we went through to get to the dice factory. The only real difference is that we have our first dark-element enemies, which are just a recolor of the fairy enemies we’ve been fighting since Cloudcoil Canyon. I honestly couldn’t get a single screenshot of their attacks, because between Batu’s overpowered hammer and Tani’s new spear, they were dying in seconds even on Extreme.

There’s also a few of these mushroom spots that we’ve seen before.

At the top is a spot that I can only really describe as a bootleg copy of the Elder’s Recess from Monster Hunter World. There’s also a trip door and a save point, though we have absolutely no reason to ever come back here.

Uh-oh. Sounds like someone ordered a stupid repeat bossfight!

Zagg is somehow an easier, lightning-element version of Thogg, the boss we fought solo as Evan several chapters ago. Unlike Thogg, he has… no real attacks to speak of early on. He’ll sort of stumble around trying to punch people, but that’s about it.

Once he’s lost about a fifth of his health, Zagg will run up to the tree stumps and uh… do absolutely nothing. Seriously, you’d expect that he’d throw things or call down lightning or something, but instead he just sits there and occasionally jumps between stumps.

He’ll do this for a good… probably twenty seconds before deciding to charge up and bellyflop back into the arena. This not only is extremely easy to avoid, but also provides a huge opening to damage him.

Eventually, he performs a further ripoff of Monster Hunter by copying Kirin’s three-pronged lightning strike attack, only with way more time in between when the indicators show up and when the attack actually hits.

To make things even easier, the lightning doesn’t hit all at once - it starts at the spots closest to Zagg and works its way out.

One spinning hammer special from Batu later, and Zagg is dead.

Now, we could go warp right back to Capstan… but what’s this?

Back over by Niall’s tree, one of his underlings has a sidequest for us.

Muriel is pretty useless, and we’re still a pretty long way from kingdom level 3, so we’re going to backburner this for just a bit.

The reason for that is that we can get a load of KG right now by doing a skirmish battle. This skirmish is particularly noteworthy because it’s level 20 and located right next to Evermore. In fact, this was the one I used to grind my army up from level 6 or so when I played this the first time.

No surprise, it’s that guy who we tried to murder in order to steal his land.

I won’t bother showing this one off mostly because the site is being extremely temperamental about accepting my screenshots of skirmish mode, but it’s good to know about if you want to get ahead in kingdom management. 4200KG is almost a third of what we make an hour.

With the money from that quest, we’re able to immediately build Aranella Square. This is the key to getting your influence points up, and more importantly getting that institute so we can lower the costs on future upgrades. For comparison, upgrading Aranella Square to level 2 is 120,000 KG.

Even with a single capacity upgrade, we’re still making more than we can hold an hour. Aranella Square accounts for roughly 40% of our income right now.

While we wait for more money to build that goddamn institute, let’s head to the Jumblewoods and save Muriel. The Jumblewoods is actually a special location of sorts.

Muriel won’t come with us until we save her dipshit animal.

Now, Batu can clearly see that there are two forks in the road, and the quest arrow is pointing to the one on the right. However, if we go the other way…

We run into… oh god. Evan, close your eyes.

So yes, this is uh… “Mr. Higglesworth”, who is not at all a flasher and did not by any means arrive in the Jumblewoods in a windowless van.

I mean, he says he’s a higgledy. Checks out.

Mr. Higglesworth will uh… offer us candy for ten pebbles. Pebbles are an incredibly common drop both from gathering points on the map as well as from the mining camps in Evermore. Batu, you should uh, probably take Tani and leave.

His candies give minor boosts to certain stats, and are generally worth it if you have a ton of pebbles to offload. Eventually, we’ll have tons of useless citizens to send to the gulags, so we’ll have a bunch.

Muriel’s llapaca is on the other side of the map, surrounded by enemies that are too low-level to want to fight us.

In the time it took me to to do that, we made enough KG to get the institute. Not only is it worth a fair chunk of change per hour (1200 or so) but it also gets us the single best research item in the game.

1200 KG for a 20% discount on all buildings and upgrades. Considering that Aranella Square costs 120,000 to level up, this saves us more on that alone than it costs to do the research. This is why you ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY want to make sure you have Chi Pi and Henny if you don’t already.

So yeah, we’re now raking in almost 19,000 KG an hour. The most efficient thing to do is save that income until the institute finishes its research. By the way, good luck figuring any of this out without having played the game before. Our next step will be to grind influence until we can afford to upgrade the institute, which at level 2 or 3 (I forget which) offers us a second cheap research item that reduces the time and cost of all research.

By the way, while working on this update, the first paid DLC for this game launched. It’s $10 for a single procedurally generated dungeon. The boss at the end is a copy-paste of the Black Knight from the beginning of the game. It also has “voiced cutscenes that delve into each character’s past” as if we’d want to know more about these dipshits.

Enough about that shit though, let’s get on with this trainwreck of a game.

You know, I figured there was enough innuendo in this chapter already, but I guess not.

I like that Boy Sampson is actively trying to make Batu’s life harder, and that Roland can’t even be bothered to help at all.

We then get our new boat… after a cutscene that warps us to Evermore. There’s more to it than this, but I’m skipping a lot of it because it’s not really important.

Also, Ketch joins us. Ketch is borderline useless. His only skill is operating the boat workshop, which gets superseded immediately after we leave Hydropolis.

Roland: “It’s a nation built on the ocean, where merfolk and humans live side by side. And it’s ruled over by a queen named Nerea.”

You know, they had that in Monster Girl Quest. It was one of the least body-horror centric parts of the game, though it had a lot of copy-pasted art assets. Strangely, it also had no plot holes, which Hydropolis has a FUCKLOAD of. I wish I could be LPing Monster Girl Quest right now.

Roland: “As for the food, I hear the fish is very good this time of year.”

Roland reveals his secret vore fetish.

We now have our first vehicle: the boat. The trick to the boat (which the game never mentions in the tutorial for it) is that you can hold down shift to make it go faster.

Instead of going right to Hydropolis though, we’re going to head upriver. Just north of Evermore is a waterway that eventually dumps you out here, at the Dugout.

Going straight down the middle path leads us to another tainted monster.

At this point, all I had to do was have Batu charge up his hammer spin and just let loose.

Whammity is a bog-standard whamster with a club. Easily knocked down, low defense.

Everyone but Tani gets a levelup… and Roland gets a sword that is only slightly better than a random drop I got somewhere and forgot about. The nice part though is that it has confusion on it, and a very high chance of inflicting it. Confusion works better on enemies than it does on the party, so we’ll definitely get some use out of it.

Next time, we’ll head to Hydropolis.