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Ni No Kuni - Wrath of the Random Battles

Been playing Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch for about 10 hours now, and I fully want to play more, but there are a lot of little problems with the game that, so far, have prevented me from fully enjoying it:

  1. The amount of enemy encounters is insane - literally there are times where I can't go more than 6 seconds without having to fight again. And the battles take too long to start and to finish. Hearing Oliver's "Neato!" for the 200th time starts to grate on your nerves some what fierce. Every time a battle ends, I start hammering X to get through all the screens that pop up.
  2. The Voice acting could have been better: Drippy's voice acting is great, and Oliver's is serviceable, but too many characters have flat, listless voice acting that conveys no real emotion.
  3. Combat menu selection needs to be improved: I shouldn't have to take my right hand off the controller to press the D-pad. That's really annoying. A lot of the combat feels clunky - I know what the design team was going for, and I think that many aspects of Ni No Kuni's combat are inventive and interesting, but it fails a little bit in the execution. It takes too long to have to scroll through a menu to select what you want, especially when the timing in some of the battles can be quite painful. They should have assigned "defend" to a button, instead of having it as a menu option.
  4. Grinding, grinding, grinding: Ni No Kuni sure is a traditional JRPG - the amount of grinding you have to do is crazy. I haven't had to grind this much since... well... ever, now that I come to think about it. Maybe Persona 4 and Persona 3... maybe... but I feel that this game's grinding is more tiresome than those games.
  5. Sidequests are already starting to get repetitive: I hope they improve, because so far it's been "Kill X of this enemy" or "find someone with a broken heart, easily identify what emotion they need and then backtrack to find it from someone". There's no thinking required at all - it's literally, walking around till you see a dot on the minimap grow green.

Having said all that, it's not like I hate the game. Here's some of the stuff I like:

  1. Great Visuals - nice animation, nice colour use, nice character design.
  2. Great Music - the scores are starting to repeat themselves, but most of the music is very enjoyable to listen to.
  3. Combat that's different: As I've said, not all of it works, but it tries to be different and in many ways creates a tense and action-oriented combat system where space and positioning matter. That deserves credit.
  4. Corny but nice storyline: Yes, it's unbearably corny and utterly sincere and more than a little formulaic, but it's nice and so far I'm enjoying it
  5. A great big world: This is why this game is better than FFXIII - it has a world I like to be in and one I can explore. It has NPCs, bustling market places, an over-world map and it feels more of a real place and less like a corridor I have to walk down for 60+ hours.
  6. Wizard's Companion: Seriously. Spent about an hour just reading through the thing. Great stuff.
  7. Familiar Mechanics: an interesting and fun part of the game are all the familiars you can use to fight in your stead. You arm and equip and feed these little guys, and it's great. Feels like what Pokemon should have evolved into.

This isn't a review, since I haven't finished the game (nor am I anywhere near close to finishing it). It's pretty good, but I feel that it could have become a classic if it just didn't have those flaws I mentioned earlier.

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