No Other Game Has Made Me Feel So Conflicted *SPOILERS*
Ugh. Just finished the game. That ending left me so perplexed. It was honestly comparable to the worst filler arc I could possibly imagine.
It's so much worse too because the ending with Shadar was so amazing. It was really emotional and I felt like it captured that "Studio Ghibli" magic really well. And those are just my thoughts on only the plot.
This game has a ton of amazing moments, but I feel that it also has an equal number of moments where I just want to crush the disc into tiny pieces.
Like the gameplay for instance. The battle system is really fun and cool to watch. The familiars are great and the spells look awesome. It just sucks that the AI completely blow and never do exactly what you want them to do. The worst case was when one of the AI members accidentally killed a Toko by casting a spell before I could tame it in time (I'd been trying to farm one for over 4 hours that day). That instance right there made me quit the game for three months after I bought it on launch day. Capturing familiars like Pokemon is cool. RNG isn't.
Voice acting follows the same principle. I felt that all of the characters had great VA's, EXCEPT for Oliver.
The pacing of the game felt this way too. At some points in the game, I felt really pumped to move onto the next dungeon or stage, but at other points the game was asking me to retread a lot of the same territory. This was especially prevalent in the errands. Things like the take/give heart sidequests got incredibly old towards the end.
I have never simultaneously loved and hated a game so much as Ni No Kuni. It's really strange. Still, I really hope that Studio Ghibli will do more collaborations with video game studios because the aesthetics in this game were fantastic.
3DS Friend Code: 5327 - 1004 - 6814 (Jin)
The shadar conclusion was what the game was building toward, and I actually value those fights leading up a lot more than the events that happen after his eventual defeat. Like you said, what happens after feels VERY filler-ish.
I liked the combat to an extent. After a while, getting interrupted with cutscenes just got infuriating. I just wanted to play the game and I'd get cutscene'd by an enemy 3 times in a row for pitiful damage.
I don't have as much of an issue with the RNG as most people seem to have here. I think it's because I never gave a crap about what I used. The game can be played without caring about your familiars. I used a lot of what you get throughout the story. If you do happen to care about that sort of thing--I get it would be a nightmare to force the game to give you what you want.
Yeah the AI was pretty bad. A deeper tactics menu(that could be set outside of battle) would've been a big help. Often it was easier to just let them stay dead and finish the fight alone. What's worse imo though is you can't switch Oliver out of the party and if you plan on catching familiars you can never have the brothers in the same party.
The pacing, I think was okay other than the part about the whole Give/take heart thing. Even worse was in the side quests when that same merchant couple gets brokenhearted over and over. How does Shadar have time for this? Another one that bugged me was that guy who kept losing his diary. It was funny the first few times, after a while I would just groan when I saw him.
As for the story....I actually enjoyed it and there were quite a few twists that took me by surprise. What disappointed me was the villains and the ending. The white witch and Shadar essentially had the same, reason for turning evil. They wanted to help humanity but failed and instead just made things worse so they fell into despair. The difference is that with Shadar, not only did his feel more genuine but there were consequences for his actions.
Sure, the first time the white witch used the manna spell she had no idea what it would do. Using it the second time she knew exactly what she was doing, quite a few people probably ended up dead, would've destroyed the world if Oliver didn't stop her and yet there are no consequences other then her deciding she's going to fill the castle with flowers. I'm not saying she had to die and I get that it's aimed at a younger audience, probably trying to teach them forgiveness but come on now.Then again, it could just be that I'm not fond of villains who SUDDENLY see the error of their ways.
The ending just felt lacking. Oliver is moving on. Okay that's great, we understood that from the conclusion with Shadar but what about everyone else?