Review by leeko_link
"This Should Had Being a Film, An Award Winning Film I Tell Ya"
Ah with all the trailers, all the hype, all the glorious Studio Ghibli animated cut-scenes and those cute Japanese anime style characters. Yes Ninokuni: Wrath of the White Witch(Shiroki Seihai no Joou) had them all and I admire Studio Ghibli in jumping to make this JRPG possible, the problem is though that this game itself would had fare better as an animated feature film.
They are awesome, unique, and very detail drawn and animated. Yes I'm talking about the animated cut-scenes and artworks here. These are legendary, Studio Ghibli should create more of these in this time and age, as for the in-game stuff they pale in comparison. I don't know why but this game seem to fit more as an animated film than it should as a game. I mean basically all the good stuff are shown in the cut-scenes, with characters cooking things, beautifully drawn towns and villages, great scenarios all that stuff are proof that this should be an award winning film rather than a boring over 70 hours JRPG full of boredom and wannabe.
What can I say I love the childish music and animated orchestrated tunes featured here. It reminds me of my youth when watching all my favorite Studio Ghibli films like Kiki's Delivery Service, Graves of the Fireflies, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Laputa: Castle in the Sky. Currently I enjoy Spirited Away and all the stuffs here, my few complaints though, there aren't that many voice-works, not that I care but when you're making a game with tons of animated clips scenes, I want to hear what the characters sounds like, not some sentence that just suddenly appeared for two seconds.
This is whats wrong with the game, the gameplay is kinda similar to Pokemon. Like Pokemon you play as a kid (later a group) who had to go collect these so call Imajinn, creatures that the boy and his party could tame and catch. Though you can catch as many as you wish, you could only equip up to 3 of them per each character for battle, besides these little uninspired creatures are going to be your main usage in battle anyways as the main characters themselves hardly do anything worthwhile in battle other than doing tactical work. The other frustrating part is that these critters are very stupid, they can't use item on their own so whenever you want to cure HP, restore MP, heal a status and or use a spell you will always had to go back to Oliver and friends. Also another Pokemon element is that these critters could also evolve into bigger uninspired beast which is stronger but still required complicated tactics.
Though battling is kinda fun if you're a Pokemon or in Sony's universe Invizimals player, catching these critters and lending them for help in battle is a good thing but c'mon after playing so many Pokemon clones in the last few generations, this kind of idea seem too over-used I mean just last year Final Fantasy XIII-2 did this, now it seem like this game wants a piece of that Pokemon pie too. Other than that the battle is meh to me, I really wish it would be something interesting but being a worst Pokemon clone isn't something I want with this game considering there's already two monster taming games (Jade Cocoon 1 & 2) with Studio Ghibli-style characters and arts that are way better than this.
As for exploration and side quest goes, yeah there are a lot of them and they too are straight forward and tedious, the only interesting part are the main quest which I only play just to see Studio Ghibli's magic sprinkle all over them but playing the extra stuff just doesn't excite me. You do get some good rewards for completing them and they are pointed to you with a star on the map which means you don't had to worry about not having much to do as they do offer a lot but other than that the game's pretty long, boring, and linear. You hardly get lost, there are tons of those critters to find, tame, and force them to join you and a big world to explore with towns, dungeons, and stuff and there's also some more quest after you completed the game so you won't feel like you just wasted money on this but yeah if you like a long game this is it.
Is It Worth Buying?
JRPG fan, Level-5 fan, fans of Studio Ghibli's work, yes, this game is your game but to me I feel this should had been an award winning animated film instead. With Sony's massive space in that Blu-ray disc, this could easily be turn into a three hour animated film or a three seasons animated series but I just couldn't enjoy this as a game. As a game it felt unoriginal, the battle system is clunky, having the Imajinn lack of doing anything but attack is just awkward, the cut-scenes and arts are a treat to be seen but the in-game stuff just look so boring, the lack of voice-work is also a downer, the game is too long, and after playing this I rather go back to playing Pokemon and watching Spirited Away simultaneously instead. Due to a heavy use of animated footage, I had to say this is one game I rather want as a feature film just like Final Fantasy XIII which I too think would be better off as a feature film.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 07/03/12, Updated 08/03/12
Game Release: Ninokuni: Shiroki Seihai no Joou (JP, 11/17/11)
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