Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Has anyone played it? The animation and general aesthetic make it look promising. Co-developed by Studio Ghibli.

Gamespot’s favourite review can be found here: … ew-6402702

I haven’t played that but the graphics look like they will stand the test of time.

I’ve heard (from studio and DQ fans) that combat completely ruins it but I’d still try it.

Whilst it looks beautiful, I get the feeling the story isn’t as original, or well told, as it ought to be, and the gameplay/ battles look as samey as any other JRPG on the market (not a good thing IMO).

Here is my Review:

Does a world full of wonder and imagination make up for a narrative lacking depth? Some would say no. Others would say yes. Unfortunately, this game is very underwhelming when it comes to the story and gameplay.

The narrative lacks depth and is too simple. It may be charming at first, but it becomes very stale. The only time the story ever picked up was near the end of the game. And even then, it was very unfulfilling. If you have to play for 30 hours for something significant to happen, you know there is a problem.

I wanted to like the characters, but they have next to no development or growth. They stay the same throughout the entire story and don’t grow at all. Oliver just does what he is told without any hesitation. The same can be said for the other characters. Also, they have almost no back story. What little there is can be summed up in one sentence, “I’m the daughter of a great sage”. Or, “I’m a thief with a hidden past”. Those sentences are never explored any deeper and little exposition is at play.

The battle system is so flawed I almost stopped playing the game! Once you get a second character in battle, the AI turns to HELL! For instance, if you set someone to heal, they will completely waste your MP, healing you over and over again. Most of the time they end up dying and you have to solo most of the boss battles with Oliver. It’s only until later in the game that they become more manageable.

More often than not your familiars will: walk into each other and get stuck, party members will just stand there doing nothing, and your spells will get canceled out by those of your enemies. This results in wasted MP. Another problem is, when you evolve your familiars they start from lvl 1 and you have to lvl them up all over again. Evolving them makes them vulnerable and weak. It almost feels like you are constantly starting over again. As a side note, I also don’t like the way in which you capture familiars. You can’t just capture any one you fight right then and there, by weakening them. The capture process is random and requires pure chance. This gets very frustrating if you want to capture a specific one. As It could take 1 battle or upwards to 30 battles! IMO, the familiars have very few attacks throughout the game and things get very boring and repetitive fast.

Moving on from the battle system, we will discuss the various sidequests found in the game. IMO this is another major flaw in the game. There are just too many! And because there are so many, they end up lacking originality, adding no value or significance to the story. Also, the same kind of sidequests are repeated over and over again within each new town. This isn’t an MMORPG, it’s a game driven by story! Or lack of story, I should say. You are either mending someones heart or doing a pointless fetch quest that took no thought whatsoever story-wise. When you arrive at the next town you can rinse and repeat that bland formula. As a result, I sickeningly skipped through each quest givers dialogue.

Apart from the negatives, the only thing I can give praise to is the design of the characters and environments. While the various designs of the familiars you capture throughout the game can be limited, simplistic and dull, the bosses make up for it. Compared to their counterparts, they are of course larger, and more thought went into their designs. That on the other hand, makes me wish with each evolution, your familiars grew in size. Anyhow, that is not a possibility because of the limited space in which you have to fight your battles.

lastly, we move on to the game’s rich world. The environments make you feel like you are playing and not just watching a Studio Ghibli movie! Even though everything is 3D, the environments no matter what angle you turn the camera, feel like they have a hand painted background! The characters of which you control, serve as the foreground; just like an animated film! This is most impressive and I found myself just starring at each environment with awe. For all the games flaws you get immersed into the world and that in itself, is a great accomplishment!

In conclusion, I believe some people might be blinded by the immersion and imagination the game’s world and environments have to offer. This in turn might allow some people to overlook the many flaws contained within the narrative. This aspect of the game might also not be enough for some people. The artistic design comes with a price. As I said, the story is very unrefined and lacks much needed depth. The battle system which is another important aspect of the game, needed a great amount of refinement. I would give this game a 7.5 and on a good day an 8. It got a lot of things wrong and only a few things right.

Wow. By the sounds of it, frankly, I’m surprised you even gave it a 7/10. Sounds more like a 5/10 (mediocre). Great to see someone not afraid to criticize a game that will likely be loved by many, simply because of the art direction and that it’ll likely remind people of their favourite Ghibli film, or whatever.

This seems like the latest in a long list of very mediocre RPGs which are ultimately getting high scores due to their production values rather than their gameplay and innovative storytelling (i.e. Xenoblades, a horrid, horrid JRPG that got 9/10s across the board for reasons I’m still not sure about).

Entertaining read also. I presume you either have your own review site, or you put on sites like Amazon?

Actually, I haven’t written a review in a long time. I guess I just had to vent. To be honest, I actually enjoyed Xenoblade and the Last Story more than this game. I just really wanted to like this game more than I did.

I’ve played too many RPG’s over the years and have come to know what I expect from the genre. Again pretty graphics don’t make a game. Nintendo knows this well.

Oh no, people disagree with me, there must be something wrong with them!

Xenoblade offered a lot. A big, inventive world, an innovative battle system and a solid story in the tradition of the Xeno games, though a little slower to go through given the size of the world (but nothing forces players to grind every random side quest so the pacing is up to them to an extent). It’s a flawed game for sure (yet, what isn’t), but the good outweigh the bad for many. Maybe not you. That’s okay too. It’s not the production values however, considering most people slammed how it looks, its character models, etc, before the scope and design of it was revealed as good enough to overcome that.

I actually loved the scope of the environments in Xenoblade. Being able to actually see your weapons and sets of armor was great as well. Not since Legend of Legaia had I seen this in a console RPG.

The story was nothing mind blowing, but it made leaps and bounds compared to Ni No Kuni. The battle system was fun for a while but after playing the game for 60 hours I got kind of sick of it…

Also, in Ni No Kuni you are almost forced to do the sidequests because you need money, rare items and weapons. One thing in my review I forgot to mention was: the items and weapons in the game were WAY over priced!

For example, one MP recovery item is 800 gold! And later in the game a better version of that same item is about 1,200 gold. MP items are a necessity and an essential part of your survival (mainly because the dumb ass AI wastes so much of your MP) in battle. You shouldn’t have to be forced to grind money just to afford 5 or 10!