Well here we are, one day later than I’d intended. Regardless of the day of the week, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is this week’s WeView title, and it’s certainly an interesting one.
Coming as a result of a collaboration between Level-5, probably best known for the Professor Layton series, and renowned anime house Studio Ghibli, Ni no Kuni was one of those pesky games that had a release in Japan, then seemed to take forever to make its way over to the West. Despite being released in Japan on the DS in 2010 and on PS3 in 2011, it wasn’t until earlier this year that it finally arrived in the rest of the world.
When Alex took a look at the game, he felt that the game’s RPG core was “hardly the sort of thing that really strives to stand out amongst RPGs,” and if that was all there was to the game then it “would have been a romp like we’ve all seen before.” However, it’s the involvement of Studio Ghibli that makes the game special, something that won’t surprise anyone who followed the game before release.
It’s safe to say that Alex was hugely impressed by the game’s graphical presentation, praising its “stunning animation and a visual style (cel shaded, if you will) that at least attempts to match the pre-rendered video sections.” In fact it’s so impressive that he felt it was “actually something of a shock to find it’s real time” when you take your first steps into the game’s world. He did note that “The graphics aren’t always so impressive close-up and some of the animation (away from the movie sections) feels a little stunted and bitty,” but overall felt it was simply gorgeous.
As for the gameplay, he enjoyed the “mix of linear story progression and non-linear subsections” that comes from the combination of being able to explore the larger world and the more focussed approach to the game’s battle sequences. He also felt that the introduction of magic and Familiars added “a subtle complexity that manages to weld together each and every battle, no matter how trivial.”
The game’s soundtrack was another high point for Alex, which he called “stunning”. Sticking with the audio, the game’s voice acting also gained praise, particularly the choice of a “quick firing Welsh dialect” for Drippy, your companion. He called this decision “close to genius” and felt that it made Drippy “someone you’re more than likely to instantly grow very fond of”.
Ultimately it’s the game’s overall production values that Alex really highlighted. Here’s what he had to say in conclusion:
I’m a big fan of Ni no Kuni. It’s a massive game, and whilst the storyline isn’t going to cause many shocks the way it’s all brought together is beautifully done and it’s great to see such production dedicated to a console like the PlayStation 3.
The question is, of course, how you feel about the game. Do you agree with Alex’s praise of the title, or did you feel that it didn’t live up to your expectations? Did you find the game’s art style simply beautiful, or did it just not click with you?
Whatever you feel about the game, you can share your opinion by dropping a comment below. All we ask is that you include a rating for the game from the Buy It, Bargain Bin It, Rent It, Avoid It scale and add your comment by Sunday afternoon if you want to be included in Monday’s Verdict article.