Most of the talk I'm seeing among adult gamers is if the game is too "kiddy" or childish for their tastes
That's the exact opposite of the majority opinion. MOST people are saying the game is great for all ages, and the primary age group that is playing the game seems to be 25+. This seems like stealth trolling or you really haven't been paying attention to anyone BUT the trolls. If it's a legitimate question, a 4 year old might not understand everything and they might get scared at a few events in the game but it's perfectly fine for them to play it. The key here is ALL ages.
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Thanks for the input everybody, sounds like it would be ok. And to answer some of the questions on here, the plan is for my son and I to play this together. That works differently depending on the game, like LittleBigPlanet, we pass the controller back and forth so I do the parts that are hard for him. I let him run around in Ico and ride the horse in Shadow of the Colossus, but I watch to make sure he doesn't wander into anything scary, he just likes to play in the open spaces. Other games, I'll have my left hand on the controller doing the thumbstick while he has his right hand on it doing the buttons.
So how we play together depends on the game, obviously I don't expect him to understand the battle system of an epic RPG like this on his own, but it's something we can certainly collaborate on and have lots of fun doing together.
Isn't a RPG kind of a weird choice for a 4 year old?
I think an RPG is a fine choice for a 4 year old. Especially if the parent is playing with them. When I was 4 I was playing final fantasy 1 and dragon quest, even though I never beat them on my own at that age because they were too hard I had a lot of fun talking to all of the NPCs because I liked reading. Could be a similar case here.
If you are doing the battles, and the reading, then yes. With my daughter I usually play the battles, and she enjoys just exploring around the towns and messing around. She sometimes watches me play the story segments and enjoys it.
You aren't going to be able to pass the controller to him and have him play the whole game unless he is some kind of child prodigy. The battles can get too involved and you'll just be shouting orders at him, especially at the bosses. "Defend now! Pick that spell! No, that one!"
Know what I mean? The story is enjoyable for young kids but the gameplay is a little too difficult. If you level grind a lot then let him play the fights at early easy areas that would also work.
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I know an RPG might seem like an odd choice for a 4 year old, but he's had fun playing Final Fantasy with me (the first one, running on my old NES) and he helped with some level grinding when he caught me playing Xenoblade a few times in the more innocent looking areas (squashing icky bugs), though admittedly that game is capable of playing itself if you're high enough level for the area.
From everything I've seen of Ni no Kuni, the visuals and characters look like they would be very appealing to him, I just had concerns about the content being too mature for him. Every other game we've played together, I've only let him play parts that I had played first, so I knew which parts were safe for him and what parts weren't, but obviously not having played Ni no Kuni at all (let alone all the way through), I won't be able to screen the whole game first.
4 years old is too young to be playing this or any video game.
a recent study suggests that to aid development its best to keep them off games until they are 5-6. tbh I think 4 is far far too young, give him/her a colouring book and a set of felt tips. happy for hours :)
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the material of the game is on par with a studio ghibli film
its for all ages
i think the only problem is that the combat is actually very challenging and demanding, it isn't like a turn based RPG, so it might be too difficult for him to play especially later in the game
My 4 year old daughter has watched about 10 of my 20 total hours, and has loved it. She really doesnt care much during the cut scenes, but she loves the familiars and the bosses. She had a grandparent die recently, so death is an issue she is becoming comfortable with.
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About 4 being too young for any video game, that is a good point, and one I take seriously. His game time if very limited and always supervised. To say that NO video game is good for a 4 year old, though, I would disagree. To see my kid at 2 years old, navigating a 3-d space in Ico, learning the area, climbing ladders, pulling switches, it was like I could see his brain expanding right before my eyes. I'm not saying my child is a prodigy or anything like that, I think any 2 year old could do it, I'm just saying I think it was immensely educational for him at that stage to learn how to navigate an abstract simulated 3-d space and manipulate objects on the screen in a simulated 3-d environment.
Obviously, nothing is going to replace or be better than playing with actual building blocks in reality, but games with educational value are just another tool in the toolbox and, with discretion and supervision, there's no reason to ignore that. Heck, he's learning his ABCs on my phone right now and that's more than I can say for the crap cartoons I watched all day on Saturdays when I was 4.
Special thanks to the parents that responded, I do appreciate it.