A lot of hype and anticipation has been surrounding Namco Bandai’s, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch when it was announced that the legendary Studio Ghibli would be teaming up with Level-5 to develop the game. While we haven’t been seeing many great JRPG releases as of late, will Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch break that streak? Or is it doomed to repeat the same mistakes that titles in the same genre that came before it have?
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is about a young boy called Oliver, who loses his mother due to heart failure after she saved him from drowning. Deeply saddened by recent events, Oliver’s tears awaken the spirit of a doll which his mother gifted to him. The doll was in fact a fairy called Drippy who goes on to explain that he comes from Ni No Kuni, a world opposite to Oliver’s own and that there’s a chance he could save his mother if he finds her alternate self over there.
|The Dream Team!!|
Overall I felt that the story was well thought out and most importantly, kept me engaged the entire time. You meet some interesting and funky characters along the way some of which have some interesting counterparts between both worlds, however none were more impressive than the High Lord of the Fairies himself, Drippy. The way I saw it, there were two halves to the story and unfortunately I didn’t get the same kind of impact from the second half as I did with the first due to it feeling rushed, although the good thing being that all loose ends were tied up as many mysteries are thrown at you from the beginning of the game.
As with most RPG’s, you would expect the gameplay to be fully fleshed out, allowing the player many options to choose from and believe me, Ni No Kuni doesn’t lack anything in that department. When it comes to exploring, the world map is huge as you will be running all around it completing missions, discovering new locations and picking up items you may come across. When outside a town or forest, you see the world from a top down view which allows you to better see any monsters around you. When in a town, the game reverts to a 3rd person view allowing you to take in the environment around you a lot more and creating a better atmosphere with the inclusion of NPC’s and other scripted events.
|Interesting main towns and places to visit.|
One of the interesting parts of Ni No Kuni’s combat is the use of familiars. These Pokemon like creatures are born from the wizard’s heart therefore, naturally meaning that they share the user’s health and magic meter. Each familiar has a stamina gauge which is represented by a yellow circle around their image. It basically shows how long said Familiar can fight for so the longer you keep them on the go, the shorter the stamina gauge will get until eventually its empty and they can fight no longer. To stop this, switch between familiars or whatever character you’re using during battle. There are four signs in total, Sun, Moon, Earth and Stars and so when in battle choosing the correct Familiar with the right sign can go a long way in making things slightly easier and it doesn’t stop there! You can also evolve them into more powerful creatures, allowing them to learn more moves and generally become even tougher. The interesting part here is that when you do evolve a familiar, its level resets back to one meaning that you have to build it up once again, however it doesn’t lose all of its attack and defence capabilities that it built up to that point.
|A familiar is a wizard's best friend.|
Visually the world of Ni No Kuni is outstanding and fully blurs if not, destroys the line between what we see in Studio Ghibili’s films and how the game presents everything. The world map booms aesthetically making good use of its lighting and colour to create an amazing place to roam in. The characters look great and some of them have the most wacky but interesting designs ever showing good creativity and the ability to express their ideas across with ease. Cutscenes played out well and the animation was pretty top notch, although I felt that there wasn't enough 2D anime cutscenes in which the 3D ones were favoured. I thought that by having a good balance between the two, it would really show off the teamwork between the two studios.
|Preferable would have preferred more 2D cutscenes but nonetheless the 3D ones are still brilliant!|
Ni No Kuni is a JRPG that seems to have kept me immersed and interested from beginning to end. With its expansive environments and amazing characters, Level 5 and Studio Ghibli have built a world that intrigues and makes the player want to explore all of it. While I felt that the second half of the story was a bit rushed and yes, I can only feel like stopping the mountain from blowing up a certain amount of times but as an overall package, Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch is simply magical.
Story = 9.5/10
Gameplay = 9.5/10
Graphics/ Sound = 9.5/10
Final We Know Gamers Score = 9.5/10
Had a chance to play the game? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below!
Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch Review
Reviewed by Liban Ali
on Mar 06 2013
Reviewed by Liban Ali
on Mar 06 2013