Ten Hours of Ni No Kuni

Posted by Telemekos (61 posts) -
PS3 box art (cropped)

I learned of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch quite late in its development. Only a week before its release in the United States. The art style was what drew me to the game. I am a huge fan of Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away FTW). Learning that the game was developed by Level 5, the Professor Layton and Dragon Quest VIII people, cemented this game on my must play list. Ten hours in and I can say that this JRPG, while not changing the traditional formula, has hooked me in a way that few other games have. Its art style, combat and so far interesting story have grabbed me in the way only a good JRPG can.

Others have said that the game starts of quite slow and that this is a detriment to the game. I agree that Ni No Kuni has a slow start, but that it is necessary to ease you into the world and the mechanics Ni No Kuni employs. If the game were to dump the player into the deep end of the pool in terms of combat mechanics alone right out of the gate this game would not be as favorably received as it is. Players need time to understand what is going on and what should be done when.

Not only is the combat deep; it is challenging and not afraid to kill the player in new areas where monster difficulty tends to spike. As such leveling is incredibly important in Ni No Kuni. As a JRPG, one expects it to be. So far I have enjoyed the grind. The combat system allows for huge amounts of variation thanks to the Pokemon like mechanic of collecting and training a total of 350 familiars. I do wonder though how I will feel about the combat in another thirty hours. Games tend to strain on me past the thirty hour mark.

The art in this game is fantastic. I cannot help but smile constantly as I play this game. Level 5 did an amazing job of recreating the signature Studio Ghibli art style using the in game engine. Within the game there are also traditionally animated 2-D cut scenes created by Studio Ghibli for the game. These show the same insane attention to detail that Studio Ghibli has demonstrated in its many films. Simply put, this game is gorgeous.

Those are my initial thoughts on Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. I will be back to add more in future blog posts about other aspects of the game as I progress deeper into it.

#1 Posted by Telemekos (61 posts) -
PS3 box art (cropped)

I learned of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch quite late in its development. Only a week before its release in the United States. The art style was what drew me to the game. I am a huge fan of Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away FTW). Learning that the game was developed by Level 5, the Professor Layton and Dragon Quest VIII people, cemented this game on my must play list. Ten hours in and I can say that this JRPG, while not changing the traditional formula, has hooked me in a way that few other games have. Its art style, combat and so far interesting story have grabbed me in the way only a good JRPG can.

Others have said that the game starts of quite slow and that this is a detriment to the game. I agree that Ni No Kuni has a slow start, but that it is necessary to ease you into the world and the mechanics Ni No Kuni employs. If the game were to dump the player into the deep end of the pool in terms of combat mechanics alone right out of the gate this game would not be as favorably received as it is. Players need time to understand what is going on and what should be done when.

Not only is the combat deep; it is challenging and not afraid to kill the player in new areas where monster difficulty tends to spike. As such leveling is incredibly important in Ni No Kuni. As a JRPG, one expects it to be. So far I have enjoyed the grind. The combat system allows for huge amounts of variation thanks to the Pokemon like mechanic of collecting and training a total of 350 familiars. I do wonder though how I will feel about the combat in another thirty hours. Games tend to strain on me past the thirty hour mark.

The art in this game is fantastic. I cannot help but smile constantly as I play this game. Level 5 did an amazing job of recreating the signature Studio Ghibli art style using the in game engine. Within the game there are also traditionally animated 2-D cut scenes created by Studio Ghibli for the game. These show the same insane attention to detail that Studio Ghibli has demonstrated in its many films. Simply put, this game is gorgeous.

Those are my initial thoughts on Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. I will be back to add more in future blog posts about other aspects of the game as I progress deeper into it.

#2 Posted by project343 (2827 posts) -

I actually really enjoy those difficulty spikes. They give me an excuse to poke around, catch some familiars, and enjoy the combat system some more. Also: having 12 difference experience bars fill up after combat is like the biggest dopamine hit in the world.

#3 Posted by Deathpooky (1402 posts) -

Agreed all around. It's a difficult balance between the "grind" being fun progression versus an actual grind. So far this game does it right in terms of pacing and leveling. Every new area and most bosses can challenge you pretty well, but after some sidequesting and exploring you go from struggling to rolling over enemies. Also the familiar system means you're constantly able to plug in and level up new characters, and it encourages you to experiment. And the fact that every familiar gets experience and you're often getting level one guys means I don't feel that pressure to stick to one guy all the time. Great design that should be standard at this point.

And if the Oliver and his story don't break you out of your gaming shell, I don't know what will. It's earnest, engaging, and family friendly without being kiddie, simplistic, or overly sweet. Pretty much what I expect from Studio Ghibli, but good to see it translate to this game.

#4 Posted by Meltac (2002 posts) -

Sounds good, can't wait to play it myself. Been rewatching Ghibli movies for the past two weeks to make the wait bearable..

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