Why did I play this?Why did I play this?

Posted on Feb 27th 2014 at 12:23:26 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under playstation 3, rpg, level 5, ps3, nintendo ds, nds



I am unsure if Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is the RPG I would use to introduce the genre to a child or not. I was planning on showing my eventual offspring the classics first, maybe start with some Dragon Quest and lead into some SNES Squaresoft. I am still leaning towards Ni no Kuni as a launchpad as it throws Dragon Quest, Monster Rancher, Pokemon, and My Neighbor Totoro in a blender and just lets it all puree for hours. Glorious hours. Level-5 and Studio Ghibli have crafted a beautiful world with wonderful characters that show a child's journey from the worst circumstances you could imagine into a strong and independent leader.

Oliver is a resident of the post-war Americana inspired peaceful town of Motorville. Early on in the game Oliver's mother dies, saving her son from drowning after he test drives his friend Phillip's hand made car. He holds onto a stuffed animal that his mother made for him and begins to cry on it. When his tears hit the stuffed doll Studio Ghibli happens and the stuffed animal is granted life, becoming Lord High Lord of the Fairies Drippy. Drippy gives a bunch of information to Oliver about another world where people's hearts are connected. If somebody exists in Motorville, they will exist in this world, so his mother could still be alive there!

Not long into the adventure in this new world Oliver is granted the spell to create a familiar from the power of his heart. Oliver creates the Milites Mitey Mite. You as the player have the ability to feed and grow your familiars as you see fit, and get the ability to catch your own once Esthar is recruited into the party later. Swaine has the ability to steal items and cause status ailments with his gun. Marcassin is recruited late in the game and is another powerful spellcaster to add to the mix of Oliver and Esthar.


That's a tidy pose, ent'it?

You'll really get your power from familiars, as they can take up roles that just don't fit your main characters. Early on Mitey is a pretty good tank and does decent damage, but attacks slowly. Mitey is not very useful after the halfway point, his stats start to flatten. There will be plenty of options for a replacement though, assuming you've been singing to catchable familiars with Esthar! This is a Level-5 game, so expect item alchemy as well.

Combat itself is fairly straightforward, attack, use skills and magic, and you can stagger your enemies and cancel their attacks with proper timing. Familiars with fast attack speed are better at staggering and canceling than slow attackers like Mitey. Staggering can lead to a possible golden glim, which gives the familiar a form of super ability. It could be an offensive ability, healing, or a buff. The combat is turn based, so the feel of attacking and the experience gains give the feeling of Dragon Quest influence.

The music is fantastic, being composed by Studio Ghibli veteran Joe Hisaishi and Rei Kendoh. All the music was performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. The music was first compressed so it could fit on a DS cart, a 4 gig cart though. The PS3 soundtrack is the full orchestral performance.



The world really feels like an old school RPG world though. For every kingdom or large landmass there only seems to be one town to visit. There you stock up on items, move the story forward, run errands for people for items and money, and take monster bounties. For the most part of the game I found the errands and bounties to be the best way to stock up on money, as monsters just didn't seem to drop enough. It really felt more balanced around the fact that you do run all the errands while playing through the game.

This really slows down the midgame, as you end up devoting entire play sessions, multiple hours each time, to simply running errands and taking out bounties. Otherwise you can't afford new weapons and armor and lag even further behind! Eventually the errands start to bottleneck as you're running out of new pieces of heart to take and give to other people, so it doesn't take long towards the endgame.

The game quickens pace towards the end and leads straight to the final showdown with the White Witch. After completing the game the player has the option of creating a cleared save file and returning to the world to complete more errands, bounties. You can also do some more side quests like win stuff at the casino, finish the Solosseum, and make all the hidden and powerful alchemy recipes. As sweet and magical as this game is, this post game content might just be hard to resist.

I would give a strong recommendation to this game for anybody that is an RPG fan and has been looking for a classic styled game that is just modern enough, challenging, and tells a strong enough story to keep you hooked. The characters in this game are not the same tired clichs that have been running rampant in the genre for the past decade, so their performances and development should leave you satisfied.




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Comments
 
As much as I liked this game I found the ending out of place and nonsensical. What did you think of the ending sequence?
 
@Addicted: I felt like it was really clean. Everything wrapped up nicely and was tied with a silk bow. But, there are good lessons in there for children, which is why I'm kind of torn on it.
 
I was a little bummed that we didn't get the DS version, but that is fine.  I figure at some point I'll pick up the PS3 (I'd rather have a 3DS XL, but whatever).
 
@SirPsycho: The portion of the ending where ***spoiler Oliver returns to his house and everything is ok now and he is going to raise himself was off-putting to me. ***spoiler Other than that I loved the game and did almost everything that the game had to offer.

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