Episode 28: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch—Oliver’s Acid Trip
Platform: Playstation 3
Release Date: Japan 11/17/2011, NA 1/22/2013, Australia 1/31/2013, EU 2/1/2013
Pricing: Amazon $19.25 (as of 1/12/16)
- The artwork and music are beautiful.
- The alchemy system. The game has an extensive list of recipes and it’s a useful way to make needed items without having to buy them or run around for hours fighting monsters in hopes that one of them will drop what you need. Alchemy gave us our strongest items for restoring magic points.
- Capturing and evolving familiars. Fans of Pokémon will probably enjoy this aspect! Esther has the ability to capture some of the monsters you fight and add them to your growing army. You can feed the familiars to increase their stats and their affection for you and you can evolve them to stronger forms as they gain levels. Evolving them does send them back to level one, but leveling them back up pays off.
- Swaine’s WTF reactions to most of the Ni no Kuni events. I know how you feel Swaine, I know how you feel.
- The battle AI. I think the battle system would have worked better if there had been the ability to be more detailed in setting the character’s tactics. You get very limited options: Go all out, focus on healing/removing status effects, don’t use magic skills, and maybe one more than I’m forgetting. I don’t think that Ni no Kuni needs FF12 level gambits, but it would have been nice to have slightly more specific commands, like “Heal when ally’s HP is down to 30%” or “use items” or “DO NOT use Ward, Oliver, and interrupt me while I’m trying to make Swaine steal something.” You had very little control over your allies’ actions and they would sometimes do very stupid things.
- Not being able to see how many magic points your other party members have left. Related to the above and party members doing stupid things. Your non-Oliver party members will run out of MP quickly—especially Esther, who really should have had a higher amount of MP as the person who gets a big chuck of the healing spells—but you can only see that they’re out when you open the items menu.
- The battle system just plain drove me up the wall and I could say more but I’ll stop.
- Repetitive Side Quests. In theory, I like the idea of running into some of the same people and giving them and their sides quests their own mini-storylines. In practice…Catch your own familiars, Dermont! Stop losing your journal, old chap, wot wot pip pip I’m going to staple the damn thing to your head! And I don’t know what Shadar has against that poor merchant couple and why he keeps going after them
- Yes, a new section to our usual review template just for the storyline. The story wasn’t really bad, but it wasn’t exactly good, either. The death of Oliver’s mother feels tacked on—Even though it’s what kicks off the plot and is Oliver’s main motivation!
- Speaking of tacked on…The White Witch storyline could have been better integrated into the game and fleshed out more.
- This picture of a cracked out mouse represents my feelings on the battle system.
The Lowdown: Despite my rants about the battle system, my overall reaction to Ni no Kuni is a shrug and a “meh.” The outlines of a good game are there, but the battle system is frustrating and the characters and storyline aren’t engaging enough to make up for it. The music and graphics, especially the backgrounds, were the best parts.
RPG Roundup Theme Song: “Video Game Theme,” J. Arthur Keenes Band. Creative Commons Attribution License.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White With OST