I heard this one thing this one time. I heard that Ni no Kuni is whimsical? Have you heard that? I dunno man, I just heard it randomly somewhere.
From the harshest critiques to the more forgiving ones, I've gathered the range of review scores pulled from Metacritic. Everyone definitely agrees this Studio Ghibli/Level-5 collaboration is pretty. It's imaginative and adorable. But there are certainly some flaws. Here's what six reviewers think:
Ni no Kuni's combat, side quests and puzzles never come close to matching the imagination on display in its visuals. I was charmed, but always by stuff surrounding the gameplay - never by the gameplay itself. Level-5 hasn't created a bad game but an inconsistent one that doesn't seem to understand its own strengths and weaknesses.
The flashy look and cheerful tone will pull some people through, but at its core, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is missing a chunk of its heart that's hard to ignore.
Ni No Kuni is a mercurial experience. One minute I was exploring the world with adoration, and the next I was cursing a cheap boss battle. The journey can be fun; I liked collecting and growing familiars and watching the breathtaking world before me, but Ni No Kuni doesn't come without frustration. Enter for the beauty, but know it comes with a price.
Level-5 and Studio Ghibli's contributions are harmonious. As a game, Ni No Kuni builds upon classic JRPG foundations, eschewing the evolutions of Xenoblade Chronicles and Final Fantasy XII. But the assured flair with which Level-5 has implemented each of the game's classic components combines with Ghibli's masterful storytelling to deliver a JRPG that's quite unlike any other.
And while the story may lean more heavily on cliché than Ghibli's film work, it retains the studio's innate ability to articulate the mental landscape of a child, and to relate that viewpoint back to adults in meaningful ways. A familiar tale in a familiar genre, then, but this is a game full of youthful wonder, imagination and thoughtfulness.
'Forced' is a word you can rarely apply to this game, though. Ni no Kuni is rich yet breezy, classic yet modern, exquisitely made and completely sure of itself. Best of all, Level-5 and Ghibli's artists have worked together to create a gorgeous adventure that feels like it belongs to both of them.
It's a world where pretty fantasy archetypes clothe heartfelt domestic drama, and where outlandish cartoon creations sit at the heart of an engrossing game, infusing it with their exotic charm. Ni no Kuni wears its Studio Ghibli inheritance as lightly as Oliver does his little red magician's cloak, transporting us from one universe to another with the wave of a wand.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is one of the best RPGs I've played in years. Moreover, it joins the elusive ranks of the best PlayStation 3 exclusives, a group very rarely encroached upon by any studio Sony doesn't own. Ni No Kuni is just that good: a beautiful mixture of the traditional makings of a JRPG combined with gorgeous graphics, a wonderful story, a great cast of characters and thoughtful gameplay.
Better yet, I truly believe there's something here even for those that don't necessarily enjoy random encounters, level grinding and stat building. The story, characters, aesthetics and gameplay really do mix to make something special well outside of the JRPG niche.
I have been asked a few times which games Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch resembles the most and, to be honest, I cannot think of a single one. This is such a refreshing and unique experience that brings together a solid story and characters with gorgeous visuals and a fun combat system. Merit cards add huge value to the questing system and magic adds a great element to how you traverse the world. The only gripes are extremely minor and don't even put a dent in this polished game.
This collaboration between Studio Ghibli and Level-5 has produced a beautiful tale of friendship, courage, and adventure that covers multiple age groups and brings older gamers back to a time when they first started to fall in love with RPGs. With over 30-60 hours of gameplay, this is a game that you cannot afford to pass up, it is a true gem. To put it best, this game gave me the same feeling as the first time I saw the original Star Wars trilogy.
Oh wait, that's right. We haven't reviewed it yet! Jason Schreier is taking his time. Lucky the reviews editor over here is so kind. And smart. And awesome. (It's me.) We'll have our review this week. For now, here are our impressions, and some tips on playing the game.