VIDEO GAME: Ni No Kuni Review

 

With movies like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, Studio Ghibli creates amazing worlds that you wish you could visit. With Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, you get that chance! In the first hour of the game, you almost get confused as to whether you're watching a new animated movie from the legendary studio or playing a video game. But soon the cut scenes move to the background and you're playing pure old school JRPG magic.

 

You play as Oliver, a normal boy in a pretty normal world. But Oliver soon discovers that there is also a hidden parallel world and he has the ability to travel between both. In order to rescue his mother, he will have to embark on a grand adventure in Ni no Kuni with a funny fairy named Drippy and defeat a powerful dark magician. Oliver learns powerful spells as you advance through the game, but most of the fighting is done through familiars, magical creatures that you control. Juggling these creatures and using them at the right time is the secret to getting through the various challenges the game throws at you.

 

Ni no Kuni is very deep in the amount of diversions it offers. There is the RPG staple of earning experience points and leveling up, but that's just the beginning. There are bounty and collection quests, monster taming and training, collecting stamps, and even an alchemy-type system that doesn't open up until later in the game. All this stuff sounds confusing, but the way it's presented is the strong point of the game. Clearing the boss of an area and then tackling all the side quests is very straightforward and fun. In fact, it's one of the best parts of the game. You are also often required to teleport back to your home world and solve problems there. Because people from your world and Ni no Kuni are linked, you'll have to spend time going back and forth.

 

The game might not be for everyone, but if you loved Dragon Quest 9 on the DS, this game is definitely for you. The combat is turn-based but with the ability to move your character around the field to avoid attacks or to get in better range of enemy weak points. The story doesn't overwhelm the gameplay and all the different side quests offer a great break when you don't want to progress too quickly. There's even a Pokémon-style part of the game where you can evolve your familiars into a new, stronger creatures! 

My only complaint so far is that there is no visual change to the characters when you equip new gear. My main familiar starts off attacking with a little sword even when he has no weapon equipped. Give him a new cool fire sword weapon and while he now does more damage, the rewarding feeling is lessened as he's still holding his same little sword during battle. But it's a minor complaint. And after playing today's big budget RPGs, the old school and old world charm of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a breath of nostalgic fresh air.

Hint: Feed your familiars the various sweets like Cakes and Ice Cream that enemies drop. This will increase their stats and make taking down enemies a lot easier.

by Alexis Kirsch

Related Links:
Official Game Website

Comments

Submitted by Yveltal on Wed, 01/30/2013 - 12:53

My copy of the game is en route to my house as we speak. The visuals are absolutely gorgeous. I don't think I've seen a game look quite this pretty since Dragon Quest VIII. And after hearing comparisons to DQ and Pokemon and I just couldn't resist. Can't wait to play it!

Submitted by tvdraco on Wed, 01/30/2013 - 17:53

It looks really nice but...Radiant Historia:two demension time line whatchyamacalits This: Two dimensions watchyamcalits. Differnces= untrained boy rather than trained warrior. :o Not that that's a bad thing :o

Submitted by Bakufan on Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:11

I hope they convert it to a movie, looks more suited for a ghibli movie

Submitted by kyle20manga on Thu, 01/31/2013 - 10:18

i played the demo of NiNoKuni and i have to say it's pretty good with the artistic style and tough battles even for a demo the battles were tough and i found it really cool that you could put the game in japanese and english;not many american published games have that future and anyways all in all its a pretty good game.And i thought their was a movie for this?usually the games come out before the movies

Submitted by jkphantom on Thu, 01/31/2013 - 10:19

This game looks absolutely beautiful. with its cel shaded graphics and excellent storytelling (courtesy of Ghibli) this may be one of the best RPGs yet!