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“Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch” is a RPG developed by Studio Ghibli makers of such animated film classics as “Spirited Away,” “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” and “Ponyo.” The game was released for the Nintendo DS (only in Japan) and the PlayStation 3.
The story of “Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch” follows thirteen-year-old Oliver, whose mother dies from heart problems. When a male fairy named Drippy tells him that there might be a way to save his mother by going to a parallel world called Ni no Kuni, the two set off together. They soon discover that Ni no Kuni is being subjected to corruption by the evil Dark Djinn Shadar. Now they must band together with fellow characters to stop his evil from taking over all of Ni no Kuni with the hope that he will also be able to save his mom.
This game was developed by Studio Ghibli, who designed the characters and settings in the game as well as created the animated cutscenes sprinkled throughout the game. These scenes perfectly set the mood for every new setting and character. The game’s graphics use cel shading (like in “The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker”) in order to keep Studio Ghilbi’s traditional animation style intact.
Like many RPGs, you collect more and more characters to the party, who the player can either take control of or allow AI to take over. This AI is very good, often able to take care of the characters in battle as well as help others in the party. However, if the player wants someone to perform a specific move, they will be able to give the AI orders during battle.
Something else that players are certain to enjoy is the Familiar system, in which they will be able to command a creature reminiscent to a Pokémon. They will also be able to evolve when they grow stronger like Pokémon. On top of that, the player will eventually be able to tame some of the monsters they face in battle into Familiars.
Speaking of battle mechanics, the battle system in this game is great. At first one might assume that it was a turn-based battle system (which to an extent it still is), but in fact the player will be able move around the area and even dodge some enemy attacks. This is not to say that battling is simple; in fact, the player will die regularly if they don’t use strategy for nearly every battle. There is also a ton of content in this game with quests and bounty hunts on top of the main story.
A considerable downside is that this game can be pretty hard. The player might even die several times during the beginning tutorial on easy mode, especially if it is their first time playing the game. This does not only apply to the bosses, but even against the regular enemies if the player does not know what they are doing. Then again, when the player does win, there is a great feeling of accomplishment for winning against a powerful boss. The controls are simple to pick up and the camera angle is perfect without much adjustment.
Another possible downside is that this game starts off much slower than other games. The player will be playing for a couple of hours and still be learning new mechanics in the game. This is not to say that it is boring! The game is entertaining throughout this time, and when something new is added it is just the icing to the cake. The voice acting is also exceptional, especially since several of the voice actors have to be able to pull off both a British and American accent. The voice actors do this wonderfully without their accents ever seeming stereotypical.
Rating 4.5/5- Overall “Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch” is a very good game with great gameplay, an intriguing plot, entertaining characters, and beautiful graphics. If you love JRPGs or Studio Ghilbi, this is definitely the game for you, but it definitely has enough to appeal to people outside these two groups!