Ni No Kuni has finally hit the west and it’s fantastic.
It’s been a long time coming but we finally got out hands on Ni No Kuni Wrath of the White Witch. If you’re a fan of JRPG’s you owe it to yourself not to miss out on this one, Ni No Kuni is smart, fresh, and most importantly a lot of fun to play.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch tells the story of Oliver, a young kid living in a small American town. After some medical complications take the life of his mother, Oliver is left all alone, that is until his doll Drippy comes to life. Drippy tells Oliver that he is the fabled chosen one who will cast out the darkness from his world. Oliver must learn the ways of a wizard and stop the White Witch from possessing and sometimes stealing people’s hearts. Drippy then takes Oliver into his new world in order to teach him how to become a wizard and defeat the White Witch. The story can get depressing at times but overall its very light hearted.
The thing that distinguishes Ni No Kuni from other RPG’s is the graphics. The art style and the anime cut scenes were all directed and produced by studio ghibli, the folks that brought you such classics as Spirited Away and Howls Moving Castle. Level 5 did an amazing job with the environments and models; sometimes it felt like I was playing an anime and not a video game. The music is also fantastic and was conducted by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. In a world where most localized Japanese media has terrible voice acting Ni No Kuni stands above that. Studio Ghibli is really good at picking their voice actors and they did a great job here. My favorite voice would have to be Drippy because of his Scottish accent.
Ni No Kuni plays a lot like older JRPG’s in the sense that there’s and open world to explore and collecting items to change your stats is a must. What’s really unique about the game is the battle system; it almost feels like a mix between Pokemon and the Tales RPG’s. When going in to battle you enter an arena area, inside this arena you can move around freely and battle monsters. One way to battle your monsters is by summoning familiars which can be collected and trained. Each familiar has their own level, abilities, and equipment, mixing and matching different familiars with different abilities is crucial in combat. The familiar system ads a lot of depth to the game and helps it stand out among the RPG genre. In most RPG’s battling can get pretty boring, especially when random battles are involved. Thankfully Ni No Kuni shows you where enemies are on the map letting you ambush them and gaining an advantage. The fighting system is also very intuitive and fun to use so battling never really gets boring. For people who really love RPG’s however the mechanics in the game might be a little shallow and kiddy looking.
There are also a number of side quests that can be completed in Ni No Kuni but they aren’t your typical fetch quests. Many people around the world have had their hearts corrupted or tainted by the White Witch. They’ve lost their base feelings whether they are joy, love, or enthusiasm. You have to find their lost emotions and give it back to them in order to gain stamps. When you gain enough stamps you get special rewards to help you on your journey. On top of that there are tons of spells and pages of your wizards companion to collect.
Ni No Kuni is fantastic game and breathes life into a genre that’s been on the decline in the recent years. If you own a PS3 and like JRPG’s you need to get Ni No Kuni, it’s got great graphics, music, gameplay, and most importantly it’s really fun. Do yourself a favor and buy it.