Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch, is a game that came out on PS3 in the west back in 2010, and with the upcoming release of Ni No Kuni 2 in 2018, now seems like a good time to take a look at what made the original so great.
Ni No Kuni is one of those games that had such an amazing premise, it seemed too good to be true. On paper, we had the company who could do no wrong, Level 5, developing, the God of Japanese animation, Studio Ghibli, creating cut-scenes and designing characters, and even Joe Hisaishi, creating the soundtrack for the game.
Sounds like a dream come true, right? Well… Yes, in-fact, it is.
The game is a dream to play. It looks and feels like you’re in a Ghibli movie at all times, from the graphics to the animations, even the music! It all fits together beautifully.
This is without even touching on the best part of it all; the actual gameplay.
In Ni No Kuni you are tasked with saving your mother, who has been stolen away into this magical world of familiars and giant cats and.. Goodness knows what else.
It’s a pretty traditional RPG set-up, but it absolutely nails the pacing and overall feel. There was not a moment when playing this where I felt bored or as if I were doing the same thing over and over. Which is saying a lot for an RPG, honestly.
If there is a downside, you could say that the English voice-acting isn’t great. I mean, it’s fine, it works. But have you ever seen the English dub of the Ghibli movie ‘Arriety’?
The voice-acting in it feels a little forced and much more a-kin to something from a Funimation dub than a Ghibli movie. The voice-acting in Ni No Kuni feels just like that.
Combat is fantastically deep here, basically being a mix of Pokémon and Final Fantasy. You train up these little creatures, level them up, they can even evolve! Or… Ahem, metamorphosise. You do this by feeding them treats and upping their stats and so forth.
The battle system is quite complex and probably too long to explain fully in writing, so I’ll attach this great Video by GodisaGeek here to explain it.
Ni No Kuni 2 is set to bring back most of the original development team bar the usage of the name Studio Ghibli, though I believe most key people are still involved.
It’s set to change a lot of what the first game started, the biggest being a complete overhaul of the battle system to make it more real-time based, which makes me a little nervous.
All in all, Ni No Kuni is one of my favourite games, and I wholeheartedly hope that the sequel keeps the same spirit.
We’ll find out when Ni No Kuni 2 release for PS4 and PC on January 19th.