Review: Ni No Kuni Wrath Of The White Witch
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a heart-warming tale of a young boy named Oliver, who embarks on a journey into a parallel world to become a magician in an attempt to bring his mother back from the dead. Along the way, Oliver makes new friends and adopts many of the wonderful creatures that inhabit the world, raising them to battle other creatures on his behalf as he takes on formidable enemies.
- Graphics are done to such a high-level its incredible. Worked on by Studio Ghibli, Following their art style used in their films, The game looks just simply breathtaking. Transporting the player into what can only be described as a full on animation film. It has an 80s cartoon feel to it, but that’s more a personal vibe.
- Music again scored by the masterminds of Studio Ghibli. Bringing music that can only be described as both fitting and beautiful. The soundtrack alone is enough to grab your attention and really is perfectly scored. From the ambient sounds of town life all the way up to battle music. Not one bit lets the side down.
- So with all this great animation and music, one has to wonder if the story can hold up? You will be glad to hear it does so very well and then some. The star of the show Oliver is on a mission … to save his mum! The story is every bit as entertaining as it is deep and heart felt. You will experience loss, heart warming moments with a large dose of terror, intrigue, loneliness and friendship. The story will easily see you rack up over 50 hours.
- Side quests are present and add variety to proceedings. Mostly used more for getting extra items and experience, Quests can be a nice diversion if you want to take a break from the main story. Always available on tap, Quests can be a simple task such as find a few items around town or can be a bit harder with things such as bounty hunts or returning people’s broken emotions. For you are not the only troubled person in the world. Oh dear god no, Strangers have had emotions taken from them by the evil Shadar, and it falls to you to restore that and make the person whole again.
- Two worlds are available for you to play. Motor-ville, is where Oliver lives and is billed as the real world. Looking like a 50s Americana, Players can hang out in the shops or chat with the locals. The other world is Ni No Kuni, which is as we know is an alternative world to Motorville. Here you will find your evil creatures, glorious open world spaces, new towns.
- Mr Drippy- The front runner for game companion of the generation. Play the game with English audio and Mr Drippy turns into a Welsh talking high lord of the fairies. He is not only helpful, but extremely funny. He is a vital addition to not only the story, but also the whole experience. This fine voice work carries over to all the other characters.
- Everyone you encounter can be spoken too. Might not always get a great story out of em, but talk to them you can.
- Combat at first glance looks like your more traditional Final Fantasy Game, But in reality it is a lot different, First off there is no set order of things. Attack and defend is up to you and it is all very free flowing. You can run around the battle ground, collect pick ups and cast or attack as much as you want. Enemies have the same courtesy. This delivers a fast-paced logical battle system. With controls and sequences simplified, even the novice of players can learn to get to grips with it.
- The whole world eventually opens up and lets you go wherever you want and play the game however you please. Want to go and discover a new island? Knock yourself out it’s your adventure! Later in the game travelling is made easier in a variety of cool ways.
- Chests, pots and bags are scattered all over the world for you to pillage. Cool thing is, they always re gen at a set time so always keep a keen eye out.
- The Wizards Companion is a true inspiration to the genre. This is more of a bible than a collection of past glories. Here you will find spells, short stories, bestiary, guides on crafting items and so much more. The game has you unlocking new spells and abilities which are pages taken from the book, your merely putting them back in.
- The journal keeps tabs on what side quests you have going or have completed. Also extended to bounty hunts. This is really useful if you want to plan where to go next.
- Familiars are your Pokemons of the Ni No Kuni world. You get to capture little creatures to fight for you. You can train them up by feeding them foods will bump up their abilities. Buy them new weapons, armour or accessories to really give them the edge. Its micro management, but again its all been simplified and is really easy to understand and will have you training world beaters in no time. Every creature is different and depending on how you train them, really is up-to you. Make it a healer or a street fighting stabby punk. Once they hit certain levels of familiarity, you get the choice to upgrade them to another version of themselves. This is done via a branching upgrade tree. This resets their levels, but gives new abilities and appearance.
- When experience is dished out at the end of the battle, all members get a share even if they don’t actively take part. It’s this brilliant idea that keeps the game open and accessible. You cannot get punished for not using your familiars to level them up.
- Enemy encounters are not random, you can see them roaming the wilderness. You can sneak up on them and get an advantage, as they can on you! With this setup you do have some degree of power on how busy you are fighting.
- Enemies that are too weak to face you actually run away from you when they spot you. Chase them down for an easy kill. Enemies who pose a bit more of a threat will charge you upon detection. Approach these fights with caution.
- Just when you think the game has shown you everything it has to offer, it WILL chuck a new game dynamic at you. But it never feels like it goes over the top with it. With every new mechanic, it feels right and it actually belongs there.
- Tutorials at the beginning of the game are well done and get you up-to speed. It may feel over whelming, but in truth you soon pick it all up without realising it.
- Map displays everything you need, side quest locations for example.
- Combat system isnt for everyone and it can alienate players not willing to adapt.
- selecting things off the scroll wheel needs speed, even more so as its all done in real time.
- Your AI team mates always steal any health/mp recovery pills in battle. Makes it worse when they dont need it and you do.
- AI characters dont always stick to their designated tactic. If your not careful they will use up all their mp and just fight like an idiot.
- Everytime you get to a new area, the enemies are stronger and you soon feel like you have started all over again.
- The first few hours can be quite slow due to the setting up of the story, characters.
- It takes a while to unlock a remedy for this, but early on travelling around is a painful experience.
In summary the game is simply amazing. Its taken a while, but I think I can safely say this is the closest thing to a perfect game. Yes it’s slow at the beginning, but people who play the JRPG genre are used to this. The game sticks to the genre very well and caters for all types of the JRPG player. It’s bright, it’s colorful it has a good story, loads and loads of unlocks, micro management, crazy over the top battles, random battles it’s all in there. The fact that they were able to cater for everyone and wrap it all up in simplicity is a true marvel. I am thoroughly enjoying the game and will continue to do so for many more hours (even months) to come. Don’t forget PAL users, Namco have kindly given us two free familiars. These can be downloaded from the PlayStation Store. If your a Plus member you can also grab a free dynamic theme. Ni No Kuni overload and its well deserved!