Reviews for the Lazy Gamer: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Game: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Publisher/Developer: Level-5 and Studio Ghibli/Namco Bandai
Describe This Game in Three Words: It's Almost Perfect.
Plot Synopsis: A young boy named Oliver has just lost his mother. Orphaned, his tears free the King of the Fairies, named Mr. Drippy, from his prison inside a doll she made for him. Drippy informs Oliver he is the prophesized Pure Hearted One who will rid the land of Ni no Kuni from a dark djinn called Shadar. In doing so, he may also be able to save his mother. And so a grand adventure begins.
Up Up: For almost a year I have been dreaming about Studio Ghibli's first video game as they are arguably the greatest animation studio in the world rivaled only by Pixar. Teamed with Level-5 they've delivered an experience that is almost unbelievably like actually being inside a Miyazaki film. Using every inch of the processing power of the Playstation 3, you find yourself part of one of the studio's epic stories almost immediately.
While it's pretty, it's the gameplay that really sets the title apart. Nintendo might as well stop any plans they had of trying to make a really grand RPG out of Pokemon because they will never top this. Oliver can fight on his own, but the real approach is the familiar warriors he conjures out of his heart to do the stabbing. These are warriors, mages, all kinds of classes, and they mimic Pokemon battles right down to types being more effective on some types than others. Battling is a pure joy, though returning to a more traditional turn-based system does take some readjustment.
Ni no Kuni also boasts an almost perfect balance of linear and non-linear play. Slow at first (It's an hour before your first fight) and not really rewarding of exploration, you do finally get into the worship of Inconsequentia, Goddess of Side-Quests after the fall of the second boss. Errands and bounty hunts are available in a nice measure, neither the overwhelming number from Xenoblade or absent. It's truly a game that allows for a languid, enjoyable RPG experience unlike anything since Secret of Mana.