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Oh Knickers! Ni No Kuni

Posted February 10, 2013

Oliver and DrippyI’ve finished up Ni No Kuni today and am starting to tackle all the post-game content that has now unlocked. All I have to say is how this makes a wonderful start to my gaming year. Fifty plus hours in and it’s still got more to offer.

Ni No Kuni brought back jRPG tropes fans have been screaming for in this whimsical tale of ‘boy finding self’. You’ve got a world map, boats, airships and all the old school trappings that make diving into Japanese fantasy games so magical. A partnership of Level-5 and renowned animation house Studio Ghibli make this a match made in heaven.

I’m a massive fan of Japanese role-playing games. I’m not sure if it’s the slightly dodgy story, crazy character designs, or attention to detail that they bring but I’ve always been a stickler for them. With Final Fantasy becoming somewhat of a mixed-bag these days, Ni No Kuni pretty much ticked all the boxes. It even has the Japanese language soundtrack, which I’d usually recommend, but seeing as Drippy has the most adorable Welsh accent and the English translation and writing just plays up to it, it’s well worth sitting through two or more questionable voice overs.

Also puns. Prepare for plenty of puns. Most of which are awesome.

So what’s wrong with it? Maybe I’m nitpicking but the animation shorts from Studio Ghibli was very few and far between. And if you’re expecting a grand Ghibli sign-off then you’ll be disappointed with the ending. It’s short, snappy and all done in-engine. It doesn’t really resolve much and is a let down if you ask me.  Not to say it ruins the overall journey, which of course is the most important aspect, but when you look at a popular jRPG like Final Fantasy, which traditionally ends on a lengthy and expensive looking CG ending, Ni No Kuni just seems forgot to pop the cheery on top of your ice cream sundae. It was just missing that last piece of the puzzle.

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Another mild annoyance is that the capture rates on the familiars are excruciatingly low. One illusive mob called Toko has a capture rate of 2% that can be increased to 2.4% if you unlock one of the merit skills for doing side quests. Forums are rife with complaints from gamers killing hundreds of the damn things to capture one. The worst thing? They’re very difficult to find in the first place so it’s kind of like kicking you when you’re down.

Not that that should put you off. I’ve laughed, cried and had a big dorky smile creep across my face at every cheesy joke, pun and story development. It’s genuinely one of the most entertaining and heartfelt RPGs I’ve played in years.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 12, 2013 2:35 pm

    A few things have annoyed me about this game, which has sadly put me off :( I feel that the team mate AI is moronic (at best), no matter what you command them to do >.>

    Another thing is the sheer amount of boss fights this game has O.o Spending a crap ton of time grinding in order to beat them, which can be quite depressing/dull lol

    Sure grinding is common practice in JRPGs, but it’s just no fun for me in Ni No Kuni.

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