Community Review: Ni no Kuni

I haven't really enjoyed JRPGs since the Super Nintendo — which is a shame because I know I've missed out on a fair few classics as a result of that attitude — but if anything has the potential to bring me back into the mix it's Studio Ghibli. Just the aesthetics of Ni no Kuni is enough to get me intrigued...

My name is Mark Serrels and this is my (short) story. I wanted to play Ni no Kuni, so I (rather stupidly) bought it on the PlayStation Store. Turns out it's a 16GB download. Turns out that takes a long time. So, sadly, I haven't had the chance to play this game yet but I will!

In the meantime, however, I'd love to hear what you think of the game. From comments rattling around Kotaku, I know a fair few of you are playing and loving this game. Drop your thoughts in the comments below!


    It's a very, very pretty game. The gameplay is nothing special though and can be a bit frustrating at times (not being able to run from battles is a horrible omission).

    But overall I'm enjoying it.

      Why run?

        I've died lots of times because a higher-level group of monsters has engaged me and I couldn't defeat them. You can't run so all you can do is let them kill you. It punishes you for wanting to explore outside of the area where you're supposed to be, which I don't really like.

        I don't go exploring anymore, as much as I'd like to :P Don't get me wrong, it's still a great game! Just not perfect.

          Huh, haven't had the trouble. As soon as I realise I'm outclassed I head back. Worked out fine for me so far, only died on the first boss cos I was too slow on a defend.
          I've been doing plenty of exploring too.
          I think the best way to do things is head into town do all that then do the map outside. I'm only in the desert town now so time will tell I guess.

      I'm pretty sure you CAN run from battles. Although when I've tried it it hasn't worked too well and I ended up failing to escape and getting hit in the back instead.

        Oh I meant running when you're already in an actual battle. Sorry should have been a bit clearer there :P

          You can run from battles but not boss fights(not sure about bounties). If you keep pressing L2 or R2 you will find a "run away" option. Sometimes it takes multiple tries as the enemy circles around you.

            Really? Fantastic!

              have to be controlling a human and not a familiar, it is about 2 to the left of the attack option, just past tactics. Know however that if you are in a position where you "need" to run for your life, chances are you are already dead and the mobs will cut off your escape route anyway and you are left with a 5 sec or so inactive timer to boot.
              Rule of thumb, if the game hasn't told you to go to the general area yet, chances are you will die horribly, there are a few exceptions and once you hit the "Rule of 3" portion of the game, any place is more or less fair game

      You can attempt to run if you really want to, it's one of the commands when you control Ollie. Doesn't always work though obviously.

    I'm loving it so far. First JRPG I've played since FFXII on the PS2, but really enjoying it. Probably helps that I'm a big fan of Studio Ghibli's work.

    Easily GOTY so far! :P

    I keep trying to play it but everytime I've started it up I've fallen asleep before the game has loaded. ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

    I have tomorrow off so hopefully will be able to actually play some of it.

    It done good by me. Buy it why dontcha!

    I'm seriously in love. Has been a long time since I stopped to stare at walls to take in the sheer beauty or bothered doing every side-quest.
    Love at first press!

    I should add, the hardcover book that came with the Wizards Edition. Simply Marvelousioso!

    OK, I'll go away now...

    I get the general feeling this game is being a bit overhyped by Kotaku and that I'll end up with incredibly high expectations before I play :/

    Guess I'll find out for myself.

      The game really is awesome. However as long as you do not have Pokemon/Digimon expectations of the evolutions of familiars then it should be fine, they are pretty lazy imo.


      anyways, I havnt played it yet, but I want to. For reviews I tend to look here and IGN as they tend to review on completely different scales and idealogies. So when a game reviews well for both, than it tends to be pretty good. This game did, so I imagine its quite good

    Every article i see on this subject makes me a sad panda, still waiting on my delivery from zaavi. So much so i can't evne play other games, since all i want in Ni No Kuni. though im hoping it arrives this week, preferably today xD

    I did get a bluray from amazon with 48 hours the other day (with their worst shipping the $5 one) so I know miracles can happen.

    I'm 15-16hrs in and loving it. The art style is awesome, one of the most beautiful games I've played.
    To make the game a bit more challenging I've disabled the 'quest objective, tracking star' on the map, it's great that they give you the option! (wish i could disable the 'green dots' too, would force me to explore a bit more to find people to steal their hearts)
    The 'evolutions' of the familiars are a bit disappointing, but still an awesome game.

    Anyone who likes JRPG's should get this game.

      Thought I should add, this game is a destroyer of time.
      Saturday morning I loaded it up at about 6am, after playing for a bit I thought I'd have a break and have some breakfast... It was 2pm.
      I played for 8hrs straight thinking it had been about 3hrs. :-\

    Metamorphing in this game was done alittle lazy, this game has huge epic Guardians yet the final forms of your familiars look almost the same as the 1st generation.

    But besides that I love this game, it has the Golden Sun/Dragon Quest charm to it and is very addicting, well atleast to me it is.


    That is all.

      I keep meaning to start using the words "Tidy!" and "Knickers!" during my Battlefield 3 sessions from now on.

    Loving it - I haven't spent so many continuous hours gaming since FFVII

    Couldn't stand the demo because of the combat system. Why did they choose to make real time battles driven by a menu system? =(

    I am loving the combat system, it is very fluid and fun, only about 13 hours in and just got a boat, my one complaint about the game is no fast travel! Seriously!! It's so annoying when you have to trapse back through low level areas (due to grinding) to get to the checkpoint, only to end up having to go back where you came from!

      *SPOILERS* Be patient, it will come

    Spent pretty much all weekend playing it, and loving it. Haven't really liked a JRPG since... Golden Sun, I think - everything since I've stopped within the first 20 hours because it dragged on. Ni no Kuni appeals to the kid in me that used to love Pokemon (Red/Blue/Yellow; before it was milked to hell) and the part of me that wants to go and play the old Final Fantasy games, but find it very difficult to get past the "random" encounters cos winning a battle then taking a single step and entering another battle pisses me off far more than it really should. The world navigation has visible enemies, meaning it's possible to completely avoid "world encounters" in most cases, and anything that can be beaten in a single normal attack will run away from you anyway. The active combat system is amazing, even if it's a little clunky trying to navigate the menu while running around (I only have one left thumb, after all). The addition of the "all out attack/defence" is great, except that would be even better if the "all out defence" included your active familiar/character.

    My only gripes with the game so far are the (extremely) low taming probabilities (spending two hours fighting Green Bunchers/Tin Men/etc to get one for a quest is boring - it's not necessarily even grinding as after a certain point you get no significant experience for fighting them), the amount of backtracking I seem to be doing (although that might just be me), and the (unfortunately) low framerate of the anime cutscenes (a minor gripe, I know, but it's jarring after the amazing cel-shading of the in-game engine).

    All in all, it makes me feel five years old again. JRPGs nowadays tend to drag for me after about 20 hours or so (currently at about 21hrs), but so far this seems to be getting better. The story is (for once) accessible, and is pretty interesting (if extremely clichéd). Will be playing this until I finish it (with likely a ten hour break for Dead Space), or unless something significantly breaks the game in the coming hours.

    EDIT: And Drippy's accent is proper awesome, en'it!

    Last edited 04/02/13 6:06 pm

      you can press L2 and R2 to swap through the menu options during battles, did it by accident the first time and I still don't do it naturally yet but it is easier once you stop going for the Dpad.
      Not sure if you consider this a spoiler or not but one of the later merit badge rewards is an improved chance to tame, I am also uncertain of how much of a difference it makes as I have yet to get it

    I was disappointed after the first couple of hours. Was slow to get going. Now I can't stop thinking about it. Also, I really like the music.

    Ask me in 3 weeks when I'm playing it on my birthday. Looks like Ambrosia :)

    There are perhaps only a few aspects of the game I have issues with and they are extremely minor. The time it takes to navigate back and forth through the Wizards Companion (but I understand why it is the way it is) and Drippy telling me what I intend to do anyway (though, again, I understand why and there are lanterns hung on each incident later on in the game as though the devs realise you probably don't need to be told but they can't not tell you for the other reasons)

    The good, glorious presentation, music full of emotion and characters that, in any other game you would call one dimensional that, in this game, could not be any other way.
    Gameplay wise, I love that you can feel yourself completing the game and just when you think you are about done, it chucks in another leg of the journey and it makes perfect sense. Too many games these days cannot balance quality/quantity, they are either long and boring or too short to be sweet given the setting or just have terrible pacing overall giving you little indication about where you are in relation to the end of the story/game, Ni No Kuni nails this aspect. It doesn't pull a FF13 on you and gives you freedom 20 hours in and tells you your journey is only just beginning only to wrap up the story 5 hours later when you get to the other side of Gran Pulse.

    I am what I believe to be about 3/4 of the way through the story having just completed the bit after the "Rule of 3" portion of the game and figure I will be hitting end game soon. If I had to equate it with any other pacing in games I would say I am now sailing over the ocean collecting Triforce pieces in Wind Waker.

    As to the combat, I found most battles bar maybe 3 bosses, to be rather easy but that is likely due to me being overleveled by not leaving an area until all bounties and errands were completed. If I were to have skipped past a lot of the optional bits I believe they would be offering more of a challenge.

    In Short:
    This game is amazing, it has all the hallmarks of an old school JPRG with an incredible musical score and art style that will likely be timeless. It has a refreshing take on traditional turn based combat that means most battles are fast paced and fun rather than tedious and as far as I can tell, the game is just the right length with just enough side quests and hidden secrets.

    It is a very pretty and cute game. I also agree that it is very slow going. I'm 5 hours in and not much has happened.

    I also get motion sickness from playing this game, and am not able to play it for any length of time without taking a long break. This is a shame as I'd like to play it a lot more.

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