Earlier this week I wrote a promotional article for a JRPG by the name of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. This title, originally released in Japan as a PS3 exclusive, is making a huge impression on the western front following it’s release on Tuesday. If you own a PS3 and enjoy a beautiful and engaging experience, then you’re doing yourself a great disservice by not purchasing this game.
I found myself completely captivated by this game after only a few short seconds of the first cutscene. Immediately I noticed the attention to detail for the characters and environments. It was like watching a really great film. It didn’t hurt that Studio Ghibli worked directly with Level-5 to help shape the game’s overall art style. You will definitely notice that magic spark that kindled your love for so many of Studio Ghibli’s classic productions.
I’ve heard many complaints about Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch looking very childish. While there is an engrossing sense of child-like wonder throughout the game, it is by no means childish. I’m currently 7 to 8 hours into the game and there have already been many adult themes introduced. And no, not necessarily sexual, (you horndogs) but there are moments where character flaws are exaggerated and deconstructed to their most primitive form. The bright backgrounds and colorful characters are simply a cloak, masking the true tone of this game. Shadar (an obvious embodiment of Satan) is corrupting the hearts of mankind. He is stealing enthusiasm, hope, joy, and love from the hearts of the innocent. You are the pure-hearted, the only one who can save our world from utter destruction.
The combat system is a fresh and exciting take on the classic JRPG formula. It plays shockingly similar to Final Fantasy during some moments and then rapidly shifts in a beautiful fusion of Pokemon and Kingdom Hearts. The game has the beloved, turn-based feel of RPG’s from the glory days, but expands beyond that, with an intense action-based combat system. You can switch between your familiars (your Pokemon) and your main characters on the fly, which provides a truly unique and potentially technical game mechanic (if you know what you’re doing.)
Not to sound generic or uniformed, but I truly love everything about this game. There are great characters, great storytelling, and most importantly, and something that seems to be lost with the modern RPG, great gameplay. It takes a really great RPG to get me hooked these days and Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch has me hook, line and sinker.