I’ve had fairly mixed opinions on Ni No Kuni mainly based off the fact that when you evolve (or metamorphisize, whatever) your familiar goes back to level 1. That to me seems like such a grind and that’s not even before you consider there are other familiars likely to replace your team as you progress. However once I did my research and decided on my team to focus on the game became a lot more enjoyable (especially when you reach the point of the game when a certain familiar nets you 2000xp a fight).
I’ve reached the point where you can travel pretty much anywhere in the world (2nd form of travel for non spoilers sake) and with my team sorted (kinda, I REALLY want a Toko just cos it’s the most ‘studio ghibli’ looking creature even if it’s crap) and a handy spell that shows you all the chest locations in the overworld I want to do EVERYTHING!! All the quests, all the alchemy, all the casino stuff and collosseum battles and of course most of all finish the main story. Like Journey I’ve not really felt this compelled to play a game since I was little and although I was expecting it with this game I am relieved as it did feel like my built up expectations were going to diminish the overall experience.
So here’s my current (not final) pros & cons of Ni No Kuni so far (40 hours in for those that need somekind of time reference); + The atmosphere of this game is sublime. Music and art direction really help you immerse yourself in the world. + The story which one could argue has been done before or is cliché still hits the right notes and drives you to keep going to see what happens next. + The fight system is fun (AFTER you get All out Attack/Defense and gain more strategic control of the battle). + Voice acting is well delivered (except for one thing. See below :P) + The designs of the familiars rich in a Studio Ghibli flavour that makes you care about your “army” + CAPTAIN WHAMTASTIC!!!!
- As stated above the initial grind can ruin the flow of the experience (I don’t mind grind but it should ALWAYS be post story) - Inconsistent Voice usage. A lot of cutscenes may have one sentence of spoken dialog and switch immediately to text. This was probably mostly to do with localization as having voice actors for every single character would have taken up so much space and money. Still when it comes to that I think it should be one or the other or text with NPCs only. - NEATO!!! (seriously! Nearly every damn time I win a battle!!............also jeepers) - Unable to give teammates ‘Restraint’ to stop them from using all of their MP. (“what? you’re empty? AGAIN?!! ESTHER YOU SUCK!!) - Side quests can get repetitive (Take heart/give heart etc). The dialog makes it a bit more interesting but the bottomline is you press X at one person then press X at another. - It took me a while for the game to keep me hooked but boy, when it did... :)
Now I get to return home and continue my adventure. GATEWAY!!!!