Thanks to spring break(which went by far too quickly) I was finally able to get through some of my games in my backlog, one of which is Ni no Kuni which I originally pre-ordered. Ni No Kuni is as JRPG as it gets, there’s a world map you can explore, grinding, monster catching(familiar taming in this case). All in all it takes elements found in many of the greatest JRPG games and puts them all in one game. The game begins with Oliver, our hero, also known as the one with the pure heart in his hometown Motorville. It’s a quite little town, which to be quite honest was quite boring, but don’t fret as you don’t spend much time here before you finally arrive in the other world, where the true game starts.
I don’t want to get too much into the story, but without entering spoiler territory it was quite annoying for me as the gamer to completely understand what was going on while the characters themselves don’t have a clue and takes them quite a while to figure out. This wouldn’t be a problem if it only happened once or twice, but it happens quite a lot throughout the game.
Now if you’ve ever watched a Studio Ghibli movie you know just how creative they are, and it truly shines in this game with its Pokemon like monster system. Also, let me just mention I adore the familiar names(one, off the top of my head is Girlfiend who is a ghost that carries her tombstone, and was also someone’s girlfriend when she was alive.) The English voice acting cast is also quite amazing, the only one that falls a little short is the lead, Oliver. It’s not that his voice actor did a bad job, it’s just that sometimes he sounds dead compared to the rest of the cast.
Now for the gameplay, like i mentioned earlier, the game has a Pokemon capturing like mechanic where Esther can tame a familiar after defeating it. I had some issues with this though, since it’s all based on chance I would often find myself grinding on a familiar that i wanted for myself; this becomes even more frustrating for certain side quest which has you capturing certain familiars. Though, the good thing about it was that I did little to no grinding because I was always either over leveled or just there where the game wasn’t too easy or too hard.
I should also mention that there are also some other odd design choices as well. But, let me first mention that the AI in the game is in my opinion, complete trash; Esther being the worse. Esther will eat through her MP like there’s no tomorrow. Now sure, you can change her tactic to lets say, “don’t use skills,” but by doing this she’ll become the punching bag to your opponent; which for some odd reason the enemy ALWAYS goes after the poor girl, no matter what tactic i had her in. This is a huge problem because she’s the only character that can tame familiars. So be prepared to not only fight monsters, but keep Esther healthy just in case a familiar wants to be tamed.
Overall, this is a love letter and a must have for any JRPG lovers and Studio Ghibli fans, and if you’re both like myself you should already have this amazing game! It has fantastic music, character progression, a fun battle system, and is a quite longer than most games in the market these days; it took me 46 hours to beat the main story.