Games of the Year

Ni no Kuni Wrath of the White Witch Remastered

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Journey back to the other world in Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered. LEVEL-5’s classic tale returns better than ever, with improved graphics and performance. Join Oliver as he embarks on an adventure through a world inhabited by new friends and ferocious foes alike in the hopes of bringing back his mother after a tragic incident. This charming tale unfolds through the use of animation storyboarded and created by the legendary Studio Ghibli and music composed by the renowned Joe Hisaishi. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch combines beautiful animated visuals, masterful storytelling, and a sweeping score to create an epic role-playing adventure like no other.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Far better than the free to play garbage version they just released.

Review from Steam

Overall good game, story and art are top tier, music are gorgeous, world building and lore are done meticulously, hat off to those wizard companion maker! Some bonus stuff at post game are worth the time for you to get!
Exploration also good , there are thing to do while you are traverse through the world, lots of fetch and grab tho.
The downside....its the battle system , its not fun, jumble of mixed up things, it just sucks. Grind also annoying if you are perfectionist, its more a chore rather than a challenge.
If you like classic Jrpg with straightforward conclusion, this is it. If you want challenge and something amazing that blow your mind, look somewhere else.

Review from Steam

Ni No Kuni is a game I've had my eye on for a while. I'm an avid Studio Ghibli fan, and hearing that they collaborated with Level 5 for a full-fledged AAA JRPG experience was all I needed to hear to guarantee a purchase. Most of what makes the game special is what you know going into it: it's one of the most beautiful games ever, and a faithful recreation of Ghibli's art style in video game form. The rest? Like, the actual game? Eh, there have been better. But it's not bad. And worth going through for the charm of it all.
-My review is about the "Normal" difficulty (which in actuality is the "Hard" difficulty). In retrospect, and I hate that I am saying this, "Easy" might be the better experience. Truth be told, in a JRPG, particularly one like Ni No Kuni, you're never really outskilling the game; you're just leveling up until your problem goes away. This reminds me of Miyamoto's critique of the RPG genre:
"I think that with an RPG you are completely bound hand and foot, and can't move. But gradually you become able to move your hands and legs... you become slightly untied. And in the end, you feel powerful. So what you get out of an RPG is a feeling of happiness. But I don't think they're something that's fundamentally fun to play. With a game like that, anyone can become really good at it. With Mario though, if you're not good at it, you may never get good."
Which is exactly my experience here. I feel like it's particularly pronounced in Ni No Kuni, as you gain more skills and abilities to sort of "unlock" the real game. But yeah, my recommendation is just do it on easy. You'll save a lot of time.
-Expanding on that point, my primary knock against the game is how little it values the player's time. There are worse cases of grind-fests in games, but I'd estimate of the 43.1 hrs it took me to beat the game, at least 15 of them was pure grinding. It's not the gradual kind of grind that is sort of ever-present either; there are some built in features that basically force you to sit down and bear through it for a few hours. See, in the game you have little Pokemon things called familiars which "metamorphosize" (evolve). But in this game, instead of their stats carrying over, every time they transform, they go back to level 1. Like, all the way back to level 1. Imagine if in Pokemon when your Charmander evolves to Charmeleon it actually gets weaker (but with higher potential). That's what is happening here. The end result is that you have to grind to get your guy back to where he once was. There's EXP share (a mechanic I hate in Pokemon) so it's not so bad, and there are efficient ways of doing it, but when you have a handful of familiars who just metamorphisized, you are basically forced to grind em back up until you have a relevant team again.
-This part is optional, and I highly recommend avoiding it entirely, but the side content is particularly guilty of this. When I mean it doesn't value the player's time, I mean that there are over 100 of the most basic fetch quests crammed in here. They're even CALLED errands. Do not do this. Please. You have one life. 100%ing this game takes 300+ hours. Most of which is just walking from point A to point B. I doubt even the devs did any of this stuff. Have some self respect, I beg you.
-Alright, so there's a considerable grind (though again, many JRPGs are far worse), and the side content is trash. But the art is good right? Oh my god the art is good. You will start the game and be blown away. There are tons of Ghibli animated 2D scenes too. And they fit right in because the actual 3D art mirrors it 1-to-1 so well. This is made even better with the fact that this game takes you to some whacky locales. Sure there are the standard desert and ice towns that every JRPG has, but there are some really special locations on top of that. The game isn't afraid to lean into its charm and it does so brilliantly. The music is top notch too, with a full score by Joe Hisashi of Ghibli fame. I really don't want to downplay this point: this is one of the prettiest games ever made and the presentation is enough to make it a recommend. That's how strong the art and music is. If there is ONE qualm I'd have is that I wish more of it was voiced -- some of the biggest story scenes in the game are unvoiced and it feels out of place.
-OK another point on the presentation: there is this 100+ page "manual" of sorts in the game called the Wizard's companion that is just expertly done. It's basically a full-fledged Wizard's tome that they digitized and put in the game. It's got hand-drawn illustrations, little side stories, and serves as an actual encyclopedia of the game's world. Lots of games have this sort of thing but it's usually just menus. This is the best implementation of this sort of thing I've seen by far and deserves a ton of praise. Like I said, the presentation in this game will blow you away.
-It's rare for me to include a point about localization in a review, but the localization is actually so strong that I feel like we got the better version in the West. I used Japanese voices for my playthrough, but the English voices sounded quite good from what I could tell watching others, but that's not really what I mean. The liberties the English localizers took made the game all the better. Your sidekick is this cute fairy named Mr. Drippy which for whatever reason they gave a Welsh cadence to. And it's flippin hilarious. Dare I say it's my favorite thing about the whole game. The little guy had me laughing the whole way through.
-Unfortunately, he's the only strong character of the bunch. The world itself has some good side characters, but your main party is quite bland. Not a particularly big party either; you have 2-3 main characters for pretty much the whole adventure. Wish this part was stronger but Mr. Drippy hard carries the show.
-Well, what's a JRPG without story right? So how is it here? It's ... okay. The overarching narrative isn't particularly inspired, and the cast of characters is pretty bland like I said. There are some neat hooks that differentiate it but it's the standard hero's journey to save the world schtick. The writing is quite childish as well; expect a simple and straight to the point story that isn't particularly memorable that mostly serves to put you in whacky scenarios and locales. At least it crescendos well enough, even if it's all quite predictable and cliche. This is as textbook a JRPG as you're gonna find.
-I actually found the gameplay to be a bit better than others have said. Your AI teammates are insufferably dumb, especially with how egregiously they empty their mana pools, and I wish there was a Tales-like level of AI customization here, but you can control them surprisingly well with the little tools the game gives you. Rather, I think the bigger issue is the simplicity in the combat. Your familiars can only learn a handful of skills (called "tricks") so for the most part you can't do much with any one of them. What's weird is the game doesn't just give you attack and defend buttons (and this is an action RPG!). Instead you order your familiar to do certain actions, which they'll perform for a short period of time. I was able to learn to micro them shockingly well given the game's restrictions, but in the end I wonder if I'd have liked it more if I'd have had more direct control. Like I said though, once you accept the limitations and work around them, you can have a good bit of fun. It's not the deepest action RPG but I found the combat good enough.
-Most of the bosses follow a very strict formula which unfortunately makes them all pretty much the same thing. I'm surprised more bosses didn't have multiple enemies; nearly all of them are a single enemy. Weird. Just make sure to defend against their big AOE attack. They all have that.
Ni No Kuni has some best-in-class strengths and some pretty damning weaknesses. But all in all, it was worth my time. Check it out.

Review from Steam

I'd recommend this game just in certain cases.
It really depends what you are really looking for.
Pros:
*Graphics still look good (Cell shaded)
*Art Style (Studio Ghibli)
*Story (depends, could be a negative for you. It's more like a long fairy tale with that feel all over.
It doesn't tackle deep issues or new themes so pretty standrad but it fits the artstyle and combat.
Con:
*Combat (The combat isnt bad per se but it isnt deep enough.
You have your monsters you can collect and level and equip them with items and skills.
But it isnt complex and doesnt go further than just blindly leveling them.
I stuck with the monster i got in the beginning and even though elemental affinities are a thing enver bothered even for boss fights.
The combat imo is all in all better than the one in Ni No Kuni 2 but still not good enough.
*Ending was kind of underwhelming.
All in all i would recommend it if you already played all major jrpgs you really wanted to play and want to try something different style/story wise.

Review from Steam

This game in the first 20 minutes made me cry like a baby then Drippy immediately made me laugh like a maniac

Review from Steam

my favourite game as a kid. this game caried me through rough times as a 10 year old and has stayed with me.

Review from Steam

An amazing game and very beautiful as you could imagine because of who made it...
the game have a very nice story with a lot of side quests , everything in the game its an experience, every fight, i wasn't into those type of games, but since the battle isn't turn based makes it interesting (could be better if a friend was able to play with the other companions you met along the way, maybe in a future game?).
the game sure have replayability since you can just play it again but this time with a "build" water based, or fire, or whatever you want, and also the difficulty mode! you can play once at easy mode just to enjoy the story and again to focus on fights, or even probably make some kind of speedrun (the game have a timer that you can check everytime you go to the menu (and it doesnt stop even when you are at the menu).
i guess thats all i can say so far, you should play it at LEAST twice... 😄

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