There are some light spoilers ahead (Ye be warned!)
Because I've only played the game for five hours, just dipping my toe in the water to check the temperature of this ocean sized epic, I've decided to write a first-impressions entry until I get to the point I can write a review! It will happen, just don't hold your breath. For those who don't know/ care, Ni no Kuni is an RPG from renowned developer Level-5 in cahoots with legendary animation studio Ghibli.
The story follows Oliver, a thirteen year old living in the Japanese interpretation of a quaint 1950's American Town named Motorville. After a freak incident, his mother dies. Caught up in the despair, Oliver locks himself from the world. His tears of sorrow bring to life a doll, named Drippy, who is apparently the High Lord of all Faeries. He tells Oliver a way to bring his mother to life which also requires him to save a magical and parallel world.
So, the vibe from the beginning is pretty dark. Olivers inherent goodness and Drippy's quips balance out the darker tones and bring the charm and emotional depth of most of Ghibli's films (for those familiar). The game looks like you're playing a Ghibli movie. Smart cell-shading and environments that look hand painted helped me get drawn into the game in a personal way I did not expect.
Heart has always been an important element in Ghiblis movies and Ni no Kuni is no exception. After roughly two hours of playing, I was literally mending a broken heart. Olivers goodness seems to play a key role in the story outside of being a strong character trait. Perhaps with his goodness lies the lesson of the journey. Drippy's enthusiasm is contagious and I found myself egged on to continue the journey, even when I lost to a boss a few times toward the end of the five hours.
Animal puns and cute critters (even the ones you fight) keep the game fun and engaging for me. The animals remind me of a cross between Pokemon and other Ghibli creatures, such as Ponyo or Totoro.
Combat is a blast. In the tougher boss fights, micromanaging properly switching between your critter, defending and healing were critical to success. Combat is a mix of real-time elements with turn-based style menus, which I imagine will require a lot more tactics later in the game, per the sub-genre's usual standards.
Ni no Kuni so far hasn't molded the JRPG into something new. Instead, the game feels like a throwback to JRPG's of old, when they ruled the genre. That in itself feels like an important lesson Level-5 and Ghibli wants to press onto us. I haven't felt this way about any RPG since Skies of Arcadia and I can't wait to dive back in and continue this gorgeous, heart felt, journey.
Great 1st impression but the demo really turned me off with the 20 minute time limits. Combat seemed somewhat overwhelming with no real tutorials. Does the game at least show you what;s going on with combat and managing 'Familiars'?
@HipHopBeats I'm sorry dude but what?!? A free demo which is designed to DEMOnstrate has a limit on how much you can play it and that's a turn off? How many great games have you missed out on because of some BS like demos having a time limit on them. You are probably one of these people that call Nintendo fascists because they wanna charge a dollar to upgrade games you already own. Gamers these days....
@HipHopBeats The full game has an intuitive tutorial that does help you out a lot. I haven't gotten to the point where I can randomly capture familiars yet, but I bet that'll be pretty well handled as well
The game explains combat and everything quite well in the actual game, and you can check the Wizard's Companion to find out a bunch of information about familiars and items, even ones that you can't get until a while into the game. Also shows you what the familiars evolve into and such. I didn't play the demo, but so far the game as explained everything very well.
Yeah I was interested in this game, but unfortunately I hate turn-based combat. That was a deal breaker...
@JangoF-76 You do move around in real time and the timers go by really quickly, so it doesn't feel like old-school turn based mechanics quite as much.
Enjoying this so far. Only gripe I have is the save system within the dungeon areas, but other than that finding the combat fun and the story excellent.
I wish I could play it, but then I don't have a PS3. And it's almost the era of the PS4 so... Idk if I'll get to. I'm hoping for a Vita port or something, lol.
It's been some time since there was a remarkable new traditional RPG on a console. I hope it does well. Everyone knows this gen has seen a massive decline in the number of JRPGs.
Skies of Arcadia Legends was a pretty good game, or what I got to play of that anyway.
@Ovirew Well the retarted PS4 won't play PS3 games so I guess you'll ever know how good this game is.
@Selznick Where did you hear that? I don't really care either way, since I probably won't get a PS4, but I'm just wondering if this is something that's 100% confirmed about the console.
@Ovirew Uh, isn't your avatar there a PS3 character? It looks like Mao from Disgaea 3. And I am pretty sure that's PS3 only. Maybe it's on PSP, but I don't think it is. Anyway, you could get a PS3 on the cheap even if you have to buy it used seeing how you will have to put up with it for about a year or so.
@Selznick I don't even understand what logic everyone was talking about, but I can make my icon whatever the hell I want it to be, so that's the end of that conversation.
@Djmaster214 You mean my logic? How is it stupid?
@timdogg42069 They make animated movies like Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle
@Clynol I'd try the demo. It's not overly intuitive, but it's a good way to see how you'd feel about the combat.
im a huge fan of ghibli, and with all this buzz i dont see any reason to ignore this game.... combat seems pretty irritating but i bet the story and the overall atmosphere makes up for it
@eran_rothfeld I find the combat to be pretty fun, but that's as someone who did play a lot of old school JRPG's. There are a couple of irritating things that I think just take some getting used to. I think the way they implement the familiars is brilliant.
I did not play the game yet, but based on the reviews, peoples impression and critics, this game is a life killer, a skyrim like addiction !!, may god help us D:
I'm also playing this game right now but I've only managed to plya 3h last night. Very good game with a lot of interesting things. It really has the Japanease touch that I missed so much .... too many games get USAed now ...
I'm really enjoying it so far. I've played almost every JRPG released on the current gen consoles and it will probably only be beaten by Tales of Vesperia
I'm really jealous of you right now, I've been following this game for two years. Curse you, college student budget!