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.