Ni No Kuni is a breath of fresh air in a genre that has been rather lacking of late. This game really brings me back to the style and game play of older, more traditional JRPGs. Level 5 had one goal when developing Ni No Kuni and that was to make a JRPG that is beautiful, compelling and keeps you interested for the 40 plus hours it takes to finish the main story.
The Graphics in Ni No Kuni are gorgeous, original and breathtaking from start to finish. Level 5 gave the responsibility of the look to: Studio Ghilibi, one of the most famous Anime producers in the world. The art work in this game is one of its strongest aspects; I can see this game still been gorgeous to look at years from now. Regardless of whether you are roaming the world map or fighting “Beasties” in a dungeon the art work stays strong throughout the entire game.
The game play in Ni No Kuni does not stray far from the traditional JRPG fashion and you will feel right at home if you are a lover of the JPRGs of old. Much can be explored in the world of Ni No Kuni and the side quests are made worthwhile by retrieving game changing abilities that will improve you character as well as how he reacts to the world.
Familiars are the creatures in the game that are used to fight your battles. If you ever experienced any of the Pokemon games you will quickly see their influence here, you must capture creatures (Familiars) you encounter making them available to use in battle. The battle system itself takes from games like “Tales” where battles are fought in open spaces and in real time. This makes for some very interesting boss fights in the first half of the game and found myself under a lot of pressure to make sure my team was healed as well as trying to dish out as much damage as possible making it extremely satisfying when the final blow was dealt. This trill was not to last and found the only downside in the entire game. Once I found a technique that worked it became easier to take down almost any boss. This didn’t take me away from the overall experience but I did feel like I was coasting at the half way point and nothing was going to stand in my way.
The protagonist comes in the form of a boy named Oliver. Oliver is young, polite and always willing to help others before himself. This makes for a very original take on a lead character in a JRPG where the character would usually be an unstoppable, giant sword wielding badass. But not Oliver, he is likable in a very different way. Oliver is courageous but never arrogant, flawed but ready to learn, kind and always willing to help others over himself. But the real star of the show is none other than Olivers side kick, Mr. Drippy. Voice acted by a welsh stand up comedian; Mr. Drippy is what stayed in my mind long after I completed the game and is one of the best supporting characters you are likely to ever meet. He would be reason enough to give this game a blast.
The setting in Ni No kuni is split between two worlds. Oliver’s home town of Motorville is based on a small American town from the 1950s. Simple but effective and every time I returned I realised how much I had missed it. The alternate world in Ni no kuni is more on the lines of a traditional JRPG world. Full off lush surroundings to walk, vast oceans to sail and dark dungeons to crawl. Each city has its own unique look and style from the machine city of “Hamelin” to the beautiful seaside resort of “Castaway Grove”. I found myself stopping to take in the view many times.
The music in Ni No Kuni is some of the best you will ever hear. I recommend turning your system up and letting the music take you on the journey. It’s very catchy at times and I found myself humming the music while I was away from the game. The music was written by Joe Hisaishi and performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. My biggest complement to the music is how easy it is to listen too. Even when not playing the game I would have it on in the background while relaxing or writing.
Ni No Kuni: Wraith of the White Witch is one of the best JRPGs of this generation, reminding me of the days I spent locked in a room playing Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger. The battle system is refreshing with my only fault it being too easy at times. Most bosses can be taking down with a small amount of level grinding but this is not entirely a bad thing. Some people simple don’t have the time to sink 100 hours into a game and prefer to follow the main story. The game can be completed in just over 40 hours but there are many more to be spent gathering collectables and chasing that platinum if that’s your thing.
Ni No Kuni is compelling, beautiful and grabs you from the very start. It takes you on an unforgettable journey with many great characters to meet. Voice acting for the most part is very good and the music really adds to the experience. I would highly recommend it to any fans of the JRPG genre or new comers alike.
Compelling story Not very challenging
Great Characters Short Main story
Interesting battle system