The lights are on
I’ve been hankering for a JRPG in a bad way. And nothing
down the pipeline this generation has filled the hunger. A few games came
close. Lost Odyssey was the next Final Fantasy that never was. But otherwise,
I’ve been starved. Then Ni No Kuni came along.
heard Level-5 and Studio Ghibli were making a game together, visually, this is
the love child I hoped they would conceive. The game is stunning. A constant
stream of vibrant colors, which leave you staring at the television and
forgetting you’re playing a game. The screens fill you up, and your chest feels
like it has been pumped full of wonder.
the bursting setting establishes the mood, the fantastical soundtrack
embellishes upon it. The songs are sweeping and live in the Studio Ghibli standard
that moved me in their films. It is haunting while still blending in child-like
wonderment, fitting into the world, art and characters with gorgeous grace.
the main protagonist, is a compelling character. At first I thought he was
going to be too childish and the story would never offer any intricacy, but
give it time. The story and Oliver pick up and I became very moved by the tale
that is anything but simple or ordinary.
there is the complex and simple gameplay.
combat is action based with four characters and their familiars, who are Pokemon-like
creatures you go around the world collecting and nurturing into powerful
assets. My party members, however,
weren’t always as helpful. I didn’t want certain characters to reach the
rewarded level breaks that floated down to you during critical points in battle
because it usually was a waste. Cheap deaths also occurred while in the midst
of casting spells, it never became completely detrimental, but the irritation
was enough to make me curse.
dungeons can be taxing as well, and the grinding in each one grew close to
arbitrary. There’s an ice dungeon that took over twenty deaths to make my way
through to the boss. This level of stakes at each battle gives the game both
agency and meaninglessness. There’s a certain point where the grinding doesn’t
feel like progressing and teeters close to frustrating. But it never felt like
too much work, so I think your enjoyment depends on your level of
patience. And you should push through,
because exploring this world is just plain fun. There’s a form of
transportation toward the middle-late in the game that was one of the most puCurinre
and pleasing experiences I’ve had in recent gaming.
are also plenty of side quests with hardy rewards to keep you busy and building
your collection of familiars adds another layer of depth. I dabbled in both
these categories and definitely see the appeal. But the main quest was too alluring
for me to stay away for too long.
wine about dungeons, teammate A.I. and a few cheap deaths in the game, and so
often, it’s easy to wish for game’s to be different, but sometimes, we have to
enjoy the world and the constraints that have been provided for us. And the
world that Ni No Kuni has provided is a stunner.
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