Well, it so happened I was closer to the end than previously thought. The last bit further shaped my opinion.
The story ends well enough, and with typical JRPG flair. Spoiler here, but you’re on another plane of existence for the final fight. There are some logic lapses within the main villain, and the final twist is a bit less fun than I had hoped. Still, as compared to other RPGs, there’s a better story to hand your hat upon.
Oh, I would be remiss to mention Roland’s dream return to his world and the scene with the kid. That was messed up.
I will say that Evan is no Oliver (main character from the first game). I never felt any agency or connection. His story line just didn’t work for me. All the other supporting characters seemed to be painted with a wider brush.
All dem der Options
I’ve mentioned a few times now that NNK let’s you do many activities. Regular combat, skirmishes, quests, crafting, dimensional doors (mini dungeons), tainted monsters, and kingdom building.
Truthfully, not a single of of those things matters except for the main quest line. There are a half dozen mandatory skirmishes, that have little bearing on your level and more to do with the ability to understand rock/paper/scissors. I used the starter Higgildies and that went by just fine (healing is great). I never needed to craft since all my gear from loot was at least 1 tier better than available. I would have had to grind my Kingdom for a few more days to get a chance at something better. Dimensional doors provide an optional kingdom character… after 9 dungeons. Tainted monsters give a decent loot item and good exp.
And that’s really all that matters for the main quest line. Core experience. When I reached the start of the penultimate act, I was within level range (every enemy had a white name). The last 2 bosses in that act then jumped over me by 12 levels and I needed to get very creative.
The final act itself was 15+ levels above me to start. Getting experience through normal means (regular battles) is useless. Tainted enemies are the way to go. The last string of boss fights, I was dramatically underleveled and was 2-3 shot multiple tries. Good thing I had dozens and dozens of healing items that I had not used once in the entire playthrough.
That final challenge was what I would consider “normal mode” for pretty much any other game. I needed to pay attention, dive smartly to avoid damage, focus my attacks at a given time. It was a ton of fun, even if I did die a few times in the attempts.
I am putting NNK2 on the shelf. The remainder of the content is busy work in my eyes, and would provide no real benefit. I can’t see what’s after the final boss in terms of challenges, and my power level is about as high as it can go without boosting my character levels.
It is really a rare event that I end up putting an RPG on the shelf after the final battle – Mass Effect series aside. There always seems to be something to do afterwards – be it a battle coliseum, extra hard bosses, or deep dive dungeon. Maybe I just missed it.
Still, it’s a fun game with a good story. Little on the low challenge side (until the last bit) and there’s some busy work to be had, that’s entirely optional.