Author Topic: [PS3] Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Review  (Read 289 times)

Offline CarolineJohnson

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[PS3] Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Review
« on: April 30, 2014, 05:31:24 PM »


二ノ国 白き聖灰の女王 / Ni no Kuni: Shiroki Seihai no Joō (JP)
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (NA/EU)
System: Playstation 3
Developer: Level-5 / Studio Ghibli
Publisher: Level-5 (JP) / Namco Bandai (NA/EU)
Genre: Action-RPG
Release Date: November 17, 2011 (JP) / January 22, 2013 (NA), February 1, 2013 (EU), January 31, 2013 (AU)

Ni no Kuni was originally released in Japan for the Nintendo DS, and was never localized due to the fact that it actually required you to read through a book that came with the game, and there were issues with translating the book. However, when the game was remade for the Playstation 3, it was localized...and then special editions of the game were packaged with a translated version of that book. Hooray for logic...?

STORY

We start off in Motorville, a normal American town appearing to be more or less in the 1950s. While trying out a new vehicle his friend made, Oliver crashes into a river and almost drowns. He is saved by his mother, who soon develops heart problems and dies. It appears saving him from drowning directly caused this.

Some time after his mother's death, Oliver cries as he holds the doll his mother gave him. Surprisingly, it comes to life right in his arms! The doll reveals itself to be Drippy, High Lord of the Fairies! He comes from another world controlled by an evil wizard called Shadar. He also reveals that each person from this other world has a "soulmate" - someone in Oliver's world who is linked to them in spirit and appearance.


Noticing that Oliver's mother looked like the great sage Alicia in the other world, Drippy concludes that they were soulmates. He tells Oliver that Alicia was captured by Shadar, that maybe this could have caused Oliver's mother to die. However, there is a chance she could be brought back to life if Alicia was saved. Oliver decides to go to the other world to save her.

When he arrives in the other world, he finds it is a world of magic and danger, and that things are a lot worse than he thought...

GAMEPLAY

Ni no Kuni plays like a traditional RPG. You walk around, examine objects, talk to people, and micromanage every little thing until your head explodes. You can cast spells in certain situations, but unlike the game's DS counterpart, you won't be drawing the spell out yourself every time. This is probably due to the fact that the DS game's main gimmick, the "Magic Master" book (commonly referred to as the Wizard's Companion), is now stored in its entirety in the game itself, rather than being a real book.

When you first get the Wizard's Companion, it's missing a ton of pages. Most of the book will display blank "pages" with words in the Nazcaän script that mean "missing page". You'll gain these pages as you play the game, and boy will you gain pages. Complete a dungeon? Here's some stories you can read in your spare time and some bestiary pages. Complete a new section of the story and grow more powerful? Here's some spells. Do this and that? Here's some other stuff you can read that won't have much of an effect on the gameplay or story at all but it's nice to have that for background info. While it's all nice to have, it can get a bit overwhelming to stop and find that you've got several chapters worth of info to read and you have no idea which pages were obtained recently because they're strewn throughout the entire book and not labeled with "new" or anything. Not that I don't just stop and read at random anyway, but it's still hard to find all the pages when you're just told what the page is and not where in the book it is.


Okay, so, the battles. Unlike the game's DS counterpart, where everything was wholly turn-based, this game is action-based. While the RPG elements are still there, you are now directly controlling the movement of your characters and familiars on the battlefield. All characters and familiars play somewhat differently, so playing as a party member is a different experience than playing as Oliver. Each character and familiar has different talents, and you must utilize this through each battle. For example, Oliver has a healing spell. If you're not using a familiar that also has a healing spell, you can't use a healing spell.

Now, that doesn't mean it gets confusing when you start playing as familiars. While you're playing as a familiar, your chosen character is safe. Sort of. Every hit the familiar takes also affects that character, but the enemies won't target the human characters if you're playing as a familiar. And hey, the AI-controlled party members can use familiars, too, so you could potentially have the most amazing team of healbuffers on one hand with another character controlling the tankers and you're controlling all the familiars that use up all your damn mana in less than two minutes. Which, you need that mana to cast certain spells outside of battle, so it's probably good to keep some items with you that can restore mana.

But anyway, you can even switch it up. Why not control a party member's familiars? Why not give your familiars to a party member? Just give every party member at least one powerful guy. I don't know how many times I screwed up by giving my party member guys with nothing but normal attack and buffs and screwed myself over by not getting decent assistance. There's DEFINITELY a limit to what you can do alone, and because of this, party managing is crucial.

SOUND AND VISUALS

This game sounds amazing. It was scored by Joe Hisaishi, which automatically makes it good, and Rei Kondoh. You know, of Okami fame. Not wetting yourself in anticipation of the sound yet? Well get this: it actually sounds like the familiar Studio Ghibli sound we're all used to, except it also sounds unfamiliar and new at the same time. It's a very cool sound that exemplifies the game's "soulmates", and I can't help but love it to death.


Okay, so...if Oliver's from a town in AMERICA, why does he have a British accent? So many people in this game have a British accent, unless they're meant to not sound British (like Drippy, who has a Scottish accent). Not that this takes from the game in any way. You could just as easily switch the game to Japanese voices. Oh yeah, this game has Japanese voices included alongside English ones. They may only be switchable from the title screen but, hey, the option's there. Honestly, I actually kind of prefer Drippy's English voice, so I keep it on English.

The visuals are as amazing as the sound. Imagine a Studio Ghibli movie. Now imagine it in 3D, while still looking 2D. Don't understand? Just look at the screenshots on this post. There are probably plenty of them right now, but I don't know because I don't add them in until after I finish the review.

Level-5 has bridged the gap between 2D and 3D in video games, and I'm not talking that 3DS gimmick where they offset 2D images off the background to make it look 3D. I'm talking great 3D that can still look 2D in screenshots. Now, I wish there were more games like this. There are games with a faux 2.5D look, there are games where 2D sprites are mashed on to of 3D locales by way of either locking the screen to have your character as the focalpoint or doing first person or some top-down thing or something, but there is no other wholly 3D game that I know of that could look 2D in screenshots.




STORY: 10/10
GAMEPLAY: 10/10
SOUND: 10/10
VISUALS: 10/10

TOTAL: 10/10
Bonus round: Find the animated cutscene screenshots
« Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 05:43:00 PM by CarolineJohnson »