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WeView: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Time to get animated.

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.

21 Comments
  1. Taylor Made
    Member
    Since: Oct 2011

    I liked this game for 5 minutes then it became repetitive, everytime you walk you fighting something.

    Rent it

    Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 10:06.
    • KeRaSh
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      You did know that this is a JRPG before you booted up the game, right? Fighting and leveling is the core mechanic of that genre.
      That’s like me saying I played a racing game for 5 minutes and realized I had to turn left or right all the time, which is repetitive.

      Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 10:46.
      • Taylor Made
        Member
        Since: Oct 2011

        Different things mate, played a lot of JRPG Ni no is far the worst to ever do it.

        Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 10:56.
      • KeRaSh
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        Well, could you be a little more specific? Your first post doesn’t really make it clear what exactly you disliked. Fights can be easily avoided on the overworld and you should be able to beat the game on easy without any grinding.

        Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 11:15.
  2. Germanos
    Member
    Since: May 2011

    Really looking forward to see the result. Haven’t played it yet and even I wanted to buy it this month I saw an good price for Dark Souls: Prepare to Die edition and picked it up instead.

    Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 10:19.
  3. Moshbag
    Member
    Since: Nov 2011

    Beautiful to look at, painfully tedious to play. Avoid it.

    Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 10:26.
  4. Eldave0
    andUandU
    Since: Aug 2008

    Amazing visuals, OK-ish storyline, dull gameplay. The childish vibe of the whole experience put me off too. AVOID

    Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 10:33.
  5. hazelam
    Member
    Since: Feb 2009

    i’m only a few hours in, but i’m loving it so far.

    the combat works pretty well, not going to set any new trends, but it works well.
    maybe more options open up later.

    the music is just fantastic, the classic sweeping, majestic scores you expect from a Ghibli movie.

    and the graphics, matching the fmv footage very well.
    it’s a beautiful game.

    the voice work is great too, especially Drippy, that guy is just great, makes me smile every time you hear him.

    which brings me to my main concern about the game.
    far too little of the dialogue is actually voiced, most of the dialogue in the game is through text boxes, i can understand that for npcs that have one or two lines, but when the two main characters, Drippy and Oliver are talking, most of the time they’re silent and we get text boxes.
    and not just in the tutorial it where Drippy’s telling you what button to press to open up a menu or something, where i could understand them not having it voiced, but much of the plot based conversations are also just text boxes.

    it’s a shame, because surely they’d have space on the bluray, and they can use it all with it being PS3 exclusive.

    anyway, i really can’t say much about the plot only being a few hours in, but it seems to be a typical Ghibli plot, a kid with a sick or deceased relative and they have to go to a magical other world to rescue them.

    though i think i might have figured out a potential plot twist, i won’t say what, in case, 1, i’m wrong and look like an idiot, and 2, it might be a spoiler. ^_^

    ok, on to my verdict, still early, but i’d say buy it, i did.

    Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 10:34.
  6. Nylon_Angel
    Member
    Since: Jul 2010

    From the moment you start this game, its like being in one of Studio Ghibli’s films. If I didn’t know they had done it, it would haven’t have even taken me five minutes to work it out. Its a very pretty game.
    The game control’s are easy to get use to, but the game itself can be hard. As you play through a game, you should naturally level up and as you reach the next stage you should basically be the level you need to be to complete that section and bosses within in. But that’s not the case here, I find that I need to go off and level quite a bit before I can face bosses and that stops the stories flow for me, a bit annoying.
    I do level grind in other games when I feel I need to but not all the time and not for every boss.
    The other thing that annoys me, is not everything is voice acted. Now I don’t expect, everything to be voice acted. But I do expect a lot of it done and it isn’t in this game and that annoys me. If you are going to make a game like this, it needs to be at least 90% voice acted.
    Don’t get me wrong I have enjoyed playing this game, the story has been engaging and the characters are likeable and well thought out. The visuals are brilliant, the towns and cities all unique in their design, charming and beautifully drawn.
    The game has its flaws but all games do, but if this is the genre of games you play, you will love this game and yes it will frustrate you but what game doesn’t.
    Buy it, but only if this you really love this genre and play games like ‘Tale of’

    Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 10:50.
  7. rept0n
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    BUY IT!!

    Best looking game ever made.
    Brilliant character designs, and the Wizard’s Edition is incredible (although I would have preferred the US’s extra content).

    Very accessible, yet very deep, huge game with a lengthy plot, feels to me like a mixture between Final Fantasy and Pokemon (both of which I love, but this mechanic seems to work better than both).

    The only downside is that I don’t have enough time to play.

    Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 10:54.
    • Forrest_01
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      “feels to me like a mixture between Final Fantasy and Pokemon”

      Seems like i made the right decision not to bother with this one then. Can’t stand Final Fantasy (& JRPGs in general) & Pokemon has never appealed to me as a game either (i’ll happily watch the cartoon though!).

      Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 15:17.
  8. KeRaSh
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    I’ll keept this one short so here are a few points:

    Great visuals
    Great voice acting
    Great sound design
    Great character and enemy models (I’d say the monster design is on par with the original 150 Pokemon)
    Great level design – This game brought back the Overworld and it is absolutely beautiful.

    The story is lighthearted but not in a bad way. I wouldn’t call it childish (like Beavis & Butt Head, which is still love… >_>). The word I’d use would be child-like. There are no mature themes and I actually found that really refreshing.

    The gameplay is nothing exceptional and it did have some niggles that I would have changed if I was in charge of combat design but it’s good enough not to become a bother after the first few hours. This is a JRPG with Pokemon-esque gameplay mechanics so you should be aware of what you will be getting yourself into.
    I spent more than 70 hours platinuming this game and it felt like any other JRPG. Yes, you will fight a lot. If that is something you do not enjoy then do not buy this game. I don’t buy fighting or racing games because the core mechanics bore me but I also don’t tell people to avoid these games because they involve doing the same thing over and over again.

    The game offers some nice distractions in the way of alchemy, side quests, monster hunts, a casino and a colosseum and these things can extend the length of the game substantially if you want them to.

    This game managed to get on my list of all time favorite RPGs and is a definite contender for my personal GOTY.

    As a JRPG lover this game hit all the right notes for me so my verdict is definitely BUY IT.

    Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 11:11.
    • Forrest_01
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      That’s short is it? I’ll make a note to keep out for one of your long posts then! ;)

      Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 15:15.
  9. Kennykazey
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    It’s made by Level 5, designs and cutscenes are done by none other than the amazing Studio Ghibli and it’s some of the best music in gaming by Joe Hisaishi. It shows Final Fantasy how it’s done, and it’s as close as you’ll get to a proper 3D Pokemon game with real time battles.

    It’s not for everyone, but that shouldn’t be a requirement either.
    Buy it, you crybaby bunter!

    Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 11:18.
  10. Alex C
    One for all.
    Since: Forever

    Buy if you’ve not played it on 3DS. Simple.

    Comment posted on 24/04/2013 at 11:31.

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