Genre: Japanese Role Playing Game
Platform: Playstation 3
Developer: Level 5
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Release Date: January 22th, 2013
Any animation lover knows the name Studio Ghibli, led by master Hayao Miyazaki: some of the movies created by the studio are regarded among the best for their great and touching stories. When japanese developer Level 5 announced that they were going to create a new Japanese Role Playing Game together with Studio Ghibli, fans worldwide rejoiced. From this collaboration Ni No Kuni was born: the game was released originally on DS in 2009 and received a remake the next year released on Ps3. With no news of the game coming out overseas, things look grim for the game: thanks to Namco Bandai the game is finally getting released in the West and a demo of the game is now available on PSN. And it’s time to see if the almost 2 years long wait was worth it.
A child without a mother
The demo has very little story available but, from what little can be gathered, we are probably in for something good in true Studio Ghibli style: the main characters is Oliver, a young kid who has lost his mother. Grieving over her loss and crying all the time, holding a doll given to him by his lost mother, Oliver awakens the doll which tells him that he can bring his mother back to life by journey through the Ni No Kuni. The story looks like will be emotional and easy to relate to, with Oliver being far from some anime tropes: he’s actually quite likeable.
The Two Kingdoms
The demo allows player to play two different scenarios, set in two different locations. Both locations give us a good glimpse of the game: players will be able to interact with a few objectives and will have to be careful in avoiding damage from fire, falls and traps. To aid into the exploration, there’s a detailed mini map in the upper right corner of the screen. Enemies are visible on screen and can be avoided or even engaged from behind, gaining an advantage in the battle to follow. The battle system looks really interesting and unusual: the game flows in real time with the player controlling a single character and his familiar, with the IA handling other characters. Oliver and the familiars can attack with their equipped weapons, evade, defend, run and use equipped skills and spells. The system may actually need a bit of practice to master, since everything is in real time and players will have to position themselves in the right way to perform certain skills but it’s really engaging, never running into the “press attack” until the enemy is dead. Familiar management is limited in the demo, for obvious reasons: however by giving a quick look to the included tutorials we know it will be pretty deep, with familiar changing forms, inheriting and changing skills, elemental affinities and so on. It’s a system which closely resembles Pokemon and that’s not a bad thing at all.
Game or Movie
The game’s presentation is simply beautiful: the cell shaded graphic style captures the essence of Studio Ghibli characters perfectly, with detailed characters and even more detailed environments. If one could turn off all the HUD’s elements during exploration, the game would look like a movie. The soundtrack is equally fantastic, with some orchestral pieces that really send some chills down the spine. The great presentation will surely help players immerse in the magical atmosphere of the game.
From playing the demo, I can’t really find anything wrong with Ni No Kuni, except for the fact that we still have to wait a few week before being able to play the full game. The presentation is fantastic, the plot looks engaging enough and the familiar management looks like being really thought out. As a JRPG fan, I suggest you download the demo if you can to see for yourself. The journey to Ni No Kuni to save Oliver’s mother will probably be something to remember!
- Great graphics
- Great Soundtrack
- Interesting battle system
- Familiar management looks deep enough
- Locations full of hazards to avoid and puzzles to solve
- The plot shows great promise
- None…for now!
Article from Gamersyndrome.com