Friday, September 19, 2014

Backlog Video Game Review of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

 As mentioned in my last post, I am going through my backlog of video games and playing them. I picked Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and I feel this was a great choice because this game had a lot of things I enjoyed immensely. 
The hero of the story is a young boy named Oliver who is kind to everyone who lives in Motorville City with his mother. Oliver's kindness is an important aspect to the plot of the story because this isn't about his physical strength, but the strength of his heart. Oliver's adventure leads him to not only an entirely different world, but a myriad of great characters and as the story progresses you come to care about him even more as you see how much he cares for others and genuinely wants to help those in need. 
Oliver and his mother
The battle system reminds me a bit of a Tales game with planning out tactics and figuring out an enemy's weakness in real time. There is also a Pokemon feel with trying to charm various creatures you fight in battle and make them your familiar. You can choose different familiars to fight alongside you and even evolve them into stronger forms. The system menu is quite easy to navigate which is always a plus with me. Level grinding did not seem like a chore because the way the game has been designed actually made it fun. 

The world of Ni No Kuni is beautiful, and I was delighted to see the Studio Ghibli art and animation incorporated into the game. The musical soundtrack is also inspiring with fantastic orchestral arrangements that fit very well with the different moments of the story. I found that I loved exploring all the different areas because there was always something fantastic to see and plenty to do. I never found myself bored while playing the game at all and found that I really liked having that freedom of exploring.

Of course there are side quests in Ni No Kuni known as errands and you get various awards for them and something known as Merit Stamps. When you complete a quest, you get a certain number of stamps on Merit Cards. The more difficult the task, the more stamps you receive. You can trade in 10 merit stamps for rewards such as capturing familiars more easily, or gaining more experience in battle. While some of the quests are fetch this or that; many of the quests are about mending a person's heart and you get to see just how kind a person Oliver truly is. 

There are quests known as Hunts too given by a character named Derwin in the game which involves capturing the specific types of beasts that he asks for and showing them to him for rewards. While the rewards and stamps are pretty great, this is the one thing about the game I did not like. Derwin's Hunts is one of the most infuriating quests because some of the beasts have a ridiculously low charm rate. One of the beasts requested had a drop rate of 4% so of course it took a very long time to get it. This led me to wonder why the character whose talent was charming beasts wasn't at least given a spell to capture them rather than leaving it entirely random and up to chance. It became very frustrating and I almost didn't finish all of the Hunt quests because of it. I did finish however, but that was my least favorite part of the game. 

Once the game is finished, there is still more to do as you get some spiffy new spells and you get some post game side quests you can do. There's even a bounty hunt with Derwin that offers some pretty great rewards if you choose to do them. These side quests do add a little more to Oliver's story and are actually fun except for that Derwin quest because those are a bit tedious. 

Overall Ni No Kuni is a great RPG and I would recommend it highly to fellow RPG game lovers. It has a great story with amazing characters. The game play is actually fun, with gorgeous artwork and music which makes for a game that is quite enjoyable. I'm definitely glad I picked it up because it is a nearly perfect game and one worth playing. 

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