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IGN Reviews - Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch


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Initial post: Jan 15, 2013 12:43:19 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 1:08:25 AM PST
Kasceis says:
http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/01/15/ni-no-kuni-wrath-of-the-white-witch-review

9.4

Ni No Kuni is the best JRPG I've played in years, and a must-play for an RPG fan with a PlayStation 3. RT
COLIN MORIARTY 15 JAN 2013

+Gorgeous, lush graphics
+Wonderful, expertly written and performed soundtrack
+Excellent story that's familiar, yet markedly unique
+Engrossing battle system that takes influence from two great JRPG series
+Requires at least 40 hours to beat, and perhaps twice that to do everything
_________________________________________
Can't wait for this game. I loves me some JRPGs!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 12:54:42 AM PST
Well, it's official. This year is going to be one hell of a year for video games.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 1:39:12 AM PST
TimesTicking says:
oh dang, hmmm should I wait for my friend to finish the game so he can let me borrow it or should I just buy the game?

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 3:40:46 AM PST
NCGuy says:
I did like the demo, so I may pick it up down the road.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 4:38:33 AM PST
Yea, I am thinking about if I should get the disc or buy it off of psn.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 4:39:53 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 4:41:02 AM PST
DOOMED!

EDIT: Oh, 9.4. I read it as 4.9.

Capt failed.

I still need to try the demo out for this one. Looked interesting.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 4:40:51 AM PST
Voice of god says:
9GN doesn't write reviews, they write opinions.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 4:41:56 AM PST
Isn't a review composed of opinions?

A completely non-bias review is... well...

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 4:44:07 AM PST
What in the world ...

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 4:55:12 AM PST
uncledonnie3 says:
He's quoting seanintheoc who now goes by MoultonHawk who said that some time ago on here.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 5:37:11 AM PST
I actually preordered a copy of Ni No Kuni from Gamestop yesterday along with 2 copies of Fire Emblem for the 3DS and this is just the beginning of the year! O_O

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 5:41:27 AM PST
uncledonnie3 says:
I want to buy this to support the developer but I have way too many other games to play through and am going to San Diego for a week starting tomorrow. Probably going to be a rental with an eventual purchase down the line. And if someone doesn't mind could you post the whole review?

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 5:48:29 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 5:51:19 AM PST
1#Pen Name says:
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch looks familiar, archetypical and even safe, but underneath the hood, it's none of those things. While developer Level-5 has stayed the course with many conventions of the genre, it's likewise bucked the disturbing trend in JRPGs of emphasizing all of the wrong things, instead focusing on what any game that demands dozens of hours should: roping you in with solid gameplay, complemented by a wonderful story told by characters you care about. As such, Ni No Kuni gets its hooks into you almost immediately, and it refuses to let go.
We've come a long way since the glory days of the Japanese role-playing game in the 1990s. Indeed, many would argue that perhaps we've come too far. Today, the genre is split between the heavily watered-down and the absurdly niche. This leaves many of us floating somewhere in the middle, in the well-worn ether that, for some reason, too few developers and publishers have dare tread in the 21st century. But with Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Level-5 has delivered something special: a JRPG that feels like the games of yore, looks like the games of tomorrow, and draws heavy inspiration from the classics old-school JRPGs fans adore.

Ni No Kuni's story revolves around a young boy named Oliver. Oliver is a citizen of Motorville, a serene hamlet seemingly ripped
out of a photograph of 1950s America. What

A collaboration between the powerhouse videogame development studio Level-5 and the beloved animation company Studio Ghibli.

stands out about Oliver is how good-natured and kind he is; he's not the badass, sword-wielding Any Hero of many games, and this is one of Ni No Kuni's strongest points. You're not playing as a brutish warrior or a devilish rogue. You're playing as a young boy with a pure - albeit broken - heart.
Oliver gets along swimmingly with his mother, is polite to adults, and is pleasant to be around. He'd rather do his homework and talk about cars than cause any problems. All of this is super important, because Oliver's nature is the central pillar of Ni No Kuni's plot, not his physical strength, mental fortitude or arcane abilities. When his world suddenly falls apart around him after an unfortunate event early in the game, Oliver is briefly stirred, but his true nature shines through.
Indeed, Oliver doesn't have an axe to grind. He's not out for personal glory. He finds his adventure and stumbles upon the group of characters that ultimately accompany him not because he's hurt, but because he wants to fix what's wrong with him and those around him. This drew me in and made me care about Oliver and his unusual quest. I didn't care about his stat progression or equipment loadout nearly as much as I cared about him as a person, and his ability to do endless amounts of good for a world (or worlds) hell-bent on standing in his way.

Ni No Kuni's core gameplay is most reminiscent of a Tales game running headlong into Pokemon, with Ni No Kuni taking equal amounts of both games' battle systems and melding their features into something fun, coherent and rewarding. Ni No Kuni draws from Pokemon in an obvious way; it emphasizes fighting with creatures you capture in battle. These creatures are called Familiars, and you'll randomly be able to capture any creature you fight. Familiars can level up, equip weapons and armor and even evolve into stronger forms. The beauty of the system, however, is that it also takes a page out of Pokemon's book in terms of longterm execution. You don't need to capture every creature and level it up to ungodly heights. You can capture a dozen of them through the course of the game and be just fine, but there's more there to explore and take advantage of if you choose to spend the time necessary to do so.
On the other side of the coin, the Tales influence comes from the battle system itself. While you'll be using Familiars in battle (in addition to fighting in battles yourself, should you so choose), those battles take place in open spaces and occur in real-time. So Ni No Kuni instantly becomes about more than pressing the X button and hoping for (or simply expecting) the best. Instead, it's about maneuvering around enemies, finding weak spots and openings, switching in and out Familiars on the fly and occasionally resorting to Oliver and his human friends so they can use items and special moves, from spellcasting to mid-battle thievery. This adds layers of much-welcome depth.
Battling certainly rests at the crux of Ni No Kuni, but there's a flood of content that swirls around the mere act of fighting, and this content draws voluminous amounts of charm out of the game. While Ni No Kuni's narrative progression is largely linear and easy enough to follow, the game's side quests run the gamut from standard and peculiar to unique and heartwarming. These side quests - called Errands - follow the typical JRPG protocol of "do this, get this," but then again, the approach is entirely different.

Instead of simply fetching an item for someone - which admittedly does happen on occasion - you'll instead be expected to cure a character's broken heart. The broken-hearted masses rest at... well... the heart of Ni No Kuni, and it just so happens that Oliver's magical prowess can help save them. Whether a character lacks courage or kindness or even love, Oliver can take those pieces of heart from people who have too much and deliver them to those who are wanting. By following through with these side quests - of which there are scores - you'll see Oliver for who he is: an unusually kind person. (There's another class of side quest called Hunts, which are your typical "kill this enemy for me" tasks, and those are fun and rewarding too. But not nearly as rewarding as helping those around you.)
The real beauty of this system, however, is that there's a tangible reward for completing side quests - whether errand or hunt-based - beyond the mere earning of coins and provisions. Ni No Kuni cleverly places within the grander narrative a metagame that's entirely contingent on completing side quests. For completing them, you get tangible rewards, but you also get stamps on Merit Cards. The harder the quest, the more stamps you get, and each card of 10 stamps can be turned in for special rewards. Rewards range from getting more experience in battle to capturing Familiars more easily, and just about everything in between. This metagame becomes addicting the longer you play the game, exponentially increasing the likelihood of finding solutions to even the most difficult (and at times obnoxious) tasks.

While Level-5 did a wonderful job of concocting a worthy game, Ni No Kuni's most overt draw is in how it looks, and for that, you need to look outside of the game's developer and into the firm actually responsible for the graphics: Studio Ghibli, perhaps the most famous anime producer in the world. Ni No Kuni is unquestionably gorgeous; its stellar aesthetic transcends each and every inch of the game. You'll see a vista and think to yourself "this is the most beautiful scene in the game." Then, you'll see something an hour later and you'll think the same thing. This happens over and over again, because Ni No Kuni looks that much better than a vast majority of games on the market.
Ni No Kuni also contains an exceptional soundtrack, which always seems to hit the right notes (pardon the pun) for every situation. The music is catchy and memorable, but it also stirs emotion and draws you into the experience in ways few gaming soundtracks do. The composition of each individual track is adeptly executed - the music was written by famous Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi, after all - but it's brought to even greater heights by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.
The game's voice acting is also good for the most part, though Oliver's voice acting is perhaps the most disappointing, which is unfortunate considering he's the main character. The good news is that you can keep Japanese voice acting on and read along with the game's subtitles. Either way, you get to take advantage of Ni No Kuni's extraordinary Western localization, expertly translated and delivered, and no doubt the reason the game took so long to leave Japan.
Then again, everything taken into consideration, it was well worth the wait.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is one of the best RPGs I've played in years. Moreover, it joins the elusive ranks of the best PlayStation 3 exclusives, a group very rarely encroached upon by any studio Sony doesn't own. Ni No Kuni is just that good: a beautiful mixture of the traditional makings of a JRPG combined with gorgeous graphics, a wonderful story, a great cast of characters and thoughtful gameplay. Better yet, I truly believe there's something here even for those that don't necessarily enjoy random encounters, level grinding and stat building. The story, characters, aesthetics and gameplay really do mix to make something special well outside of the JRPG niche.

It took me just north of 40 hours to beat Ni No Kuni, and there's still more for me to do. I didn't complete every last side quest and I didn't cruise through the entirety of the game's battle arena. Word out of Japan is that the game's coveted Platinum Trophy could take 80 hours to get, but know this: 40 hours with Ni No Kuni won't allow you to see nearly all the game has to offer.

I didn't want the game to end. It proved one of those special experiences - like I've had with Final Fantasy VI, Wild Arms or Tales of Destiny in the past - where I didn't want to see the conclusion. I wanted it to keep going. That's because Ni No Kuni is just that special, and every RPG fan owes it to him or herself to pick it up and see why.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 6:11:37 AM PST
Lucanus says:
I really hope this game turns out stellar, right now Japanese style rpgs this generation have been lackluster. There has been Xenoblade... yeah, finally something else worth getting excited over. Me want. Thanks for the link and information. :)

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 6:13:54 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:17:54 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 13, 2013 3:05:27 PM PST]

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 6:18:30 AM PST
Rofl. It wasn't until watching the review this morning that I realized this was an exclusive. I wondered why I was seeing posts like Myles' hating on the game. It must be strange seeing the gaming world through such a warped lens as fanboyism.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:18:35 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 6:19:13 AM PST
uncledonnie3 says:
Whatever you say Oskar. I will be playing this game and enjoying it just like I have with Level 5's other games that I've played.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:19:24 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 13, 2013 3:05:28 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:20:03 AM PST
Kin-foot says:
Warped lens? More like a lobotomy!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:20:14 AM PST
new Tron says:
Myles is one of the more entertaining fanbots we've had on the forum in a while. He rages pretty hardcore.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:20:46 AM PST
Lucanus says:
Thanks for making me realize I should have you on ignore. Please proceed. Have a nice day. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:23:20 AM PST
uncledonnie3 says:
Just post on your real account. The charade is over. We all know it's you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:26:19 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 13, 2013 3:05:29 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:28:35 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 6:30:29 AM PST
D_Strasse says:
The Last Story while not perfect is also worth your time IMHO.

As for Ni No Kuni - looks like I'll be grabbbing this at some point. Just need to ensure I get the guide before it goes out of print.
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Discussion in:  Video Games forum
Participants:  41
Total posts:  131
Initial post:  Jan 15, 2013
Latest post:  Jan 21, 2013

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