Ni no Kuni preview: otherworldly

With its charming presentation, moving story, and engaging battle system, it's hard not to eagerly anticipate Ni No Kuni.

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We've been long entranced by the gorgeous visuals of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Level-5's beautiful collaboration with the famous Studio Ghibli. Seeing it in motion, it's hard not to be entranced by the game's lush green forests, expansive towns, and whimsical creatures and townspeople. Nearly every moment has a visual detail worth admiring. In typical Ghibl fashion however, the story is as moving as the art. A young boy, Oliver, gets thrust into an adventure in another world (the titular Ni no Kuni) for a chance to resurrect his mother.

The demo I played has Oliver exploring the forest. Monsters are not encountered randomly, as you can see them roam around on the field. However, in typical JRPG fashion, running into an enemy transports you to a separate battle screen.

Those of you who have played Level 5's White Knight Chronicles will likely feel right at home with the battle system. Oliver, and later on, two other party members, can summon Pokemon-esque creatures named Familiars to help them do battle. On the battle screen, the human character you are currently controlling is free to move around, but his/her offensive options are limited. Like Pokemon, one of the strategic aspects is the consideration of the elemental attribute of each of the creatures you bring into battle--certain enemies are weak against one element and that one element might not be very effective on another enemy.

The game pauses whenever you make a decision and each action you take in battle results in a cool-down period before you are allowed to do something else. The cool-down also applies to the Familiars themselves, as they can only fight for a limited time before being recalled. Switching

Familiars around while allowing you to change the human character you control on a whim potentially gives the player hundreds of tactical choices--especially considering there are over 200 Familiars to choose from.

Already a beautiful game, it's obvious Namco Bandai has paid considerable attention to Ni no Kuni's localization. For example, characters speak with different English accents, analogous to the original game's use of different. The Western version also includes all the free DLC Familiars from the Japanese release, as well as an additional easy mode not present in the game's original release.

With its charming presentation, moving story, and engaging battle system, it's hard not to eagerly anticipate Ni No Kuni. The game will be available on PS3 on January 22nd.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 11, 2012 8:00 PM

    Alan Tsang posted a new article, Ni no Kuni preview: otherworldly.

    With its charming presentation, moving story, and engaging battle system, it's hard not to eagerly anticipate Ni No Kuni.

    • reply
      September 12, 2012 4:47 AM

      looks good but no PS3

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        September 12, 2012 5:11 AM

        They sell them in stores you know.

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        September 12, 2012 10:30 AM

        Same, and not really interested in buying one at this point. There's plenty to play on the platforms I do own - you know, all the other ones.

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        September 12, 2012 12:05 PM

        Yeah. This is one game I considered buying a PS3 for, but between the PC and Xbox 360 I can't justify the price.

        Maybe I'll pick up a PS3 on the cheap once next gen hits and play a bunch of the back log then while the PS4 and Next box duke it out.

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      September 12, 2012 10:40 AM

      Did they state if they would have the original Japanese audio?

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      September 12, 2012 10:57 AM

      guy in the green coat looks like an off brand Lupin the 3rd.

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      September 12, 2012 11:57 AM

      bah.. platform exclusives.. humbug!

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      September 12, 2012 12:45 PM

      YES! FINALLY!

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      September 12, 2012 2:58 PM

      God damn, I want this game... I've gotten this far without a PS3 though, I don't see me buying one now.

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        September 12, 2012 8:17 PM

        shouldn't the opposite be true though that now there are more games to play then ever...

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