Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch 2nd Opinion

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch 2nd Opinion (PS3)

Best JRPG ever made or more of the same fiddly time wasting nonsense? “Final Fantasy seven, eight and nine mixed with pokémon” That’s how Ni No Kuni was first described to me.  If you are a fan of Japanese Role-Playing games this sentence alone is enough to force your drooling glands to kick in so hard you could drown or at the very least ruin a good shirt.

Life is aways full of decisions...

As you first turn this game on you are greeted with a plethora of colours, enough to make technicolour dreamcoats for everyone and anyone, and lots of cutesy characters appealing to the inner child of even the grumpiest old man.  Don’t let this confuse you into thinking this game is for children alone however it has some fantastic elements making this a genuinely enjoyable game. Your protagonist is ‘Oliver’ a likeable floppy-haired 10 year old boy, with a questionable taste in friends and a very relaxed attitude to plush dolls coming instantly to life. Initially a very simple plot line, the first thing you are asked to do is simply run from a building to another building, with food in your hands.  At first glance it feels more like you are being allowed to make minor decisions influencing an animated film than actually playing a game but the whole world opens up pretty quickly.

The game really gets off the ground after the first few minutes when ‘Allie’, a single mother to Oliver suddenly drops dead after a wee swim in a pond.  This causes Oliver to weep uncontrollably onto his favourite stuffed toy, which then comes to life and tells him to follow him to a magical ‘other world’ as he is to save it and this in turn will bring his mother back to life.  Phew.

What I like about the whole thing is the fact that there is such an emphasis on helping people, leaving you with a lovely feeling of having done good in a real way.  Sure you probably ignored homeless people and dying animals on the way to and from the video game shop when you bought this, but this is good enough to wash away the guilt.

The fighting system, as my colleague pointed out, is like an old school turn based JRPG with dashes of Pokémon thrown in.  Except instead of Pokémon, you have Familiars.

As the game progresses you get more and more opportunity to realise your potential as a wizard as every person on the street seems to have a missing page from a book of spells that you own and collect as many Familiars as possible, all with their specially designed ways of  knocking turds out’ve the enemies.

Ni No Kuni is probably the best JRPG on the ps3 and probably one of the best in years on any platform, it’s only downfall is that it is excruciatingly Japanese and if JRPGs aren’t your thing you’ll just keep vomiting on yourself until you can force someone in your house to turn it off.  If you’ve always wanted to experiment with one and not known where to start this is the place to be.  Cutesy, plot driven, beautiful and challenging, Ni No Kuni is a great idea, though not massively original.  If you see a friend who is not a JRPG enthusiast covered in their own sick make sure to get their copy before they throw it out.

David Roberts

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