Review by Rachenar
"Pretty to look at but been there, done that"
Let me be perfectly clear: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is the perfect game to own if you're a JRPG fan who owns a PS3. You will sink dozens of hours into this adventure and will come out of it refreshed: Finally, a decent JRPG on PS3! However, and this is a pretty major point, don't expect your mind to be blown; you will eventually appreciate the combat and the story, but there's that lingering feeling of deja-vu that permeates Oliver's journey.
You set out to save your mother's soulmate, who is being held captive in another world by the Dark Jinn. Oh, and you're a wizard. Cue the odd creatures who have soulmates in the 'real world' and you've got an interesting plot. The story is for the most part consistent; there are, however, some long-winded cut scenes and dialogue sequences that tend to derail from the action. It's your basic 'hero saves the world' story with some neat (albeit somewhat predictable) plot twists.
Awesome animated cut-scenes, along with colourful characters, towns and dungeons. A truly wonderful score complements the entire journey, although some tracks tend to repeat noticeably. Credit should be given to the terrific voice actors, who do a commendable and consistent job throughout the 40 + hour adventure. The chaotic squabble of sound effects and voices can become seizure-inducing during battle, but this is forgiveable, given the quality of the overall presentation.
This is where I believe the game suffers slightly:
Gameplay pros: All your typical JRPG fanfare: a casino, a battle arena, multiple sidquests where you battle bounty hunts, reunite people's hearts, synthesize new weapons & items through an alchemy pot, find hidden treasures on the world map, and more. Also, boss battles in this game are pretty awesome.
Gameplay cons: You've seen this all before. Battle is done through monsters called familiars that you tame, which learn abilities and evolve into stronger monsters, exactly like pokemon. That's it. Your human controlled characters are on the field, but only cast spells or steal; 99% of battle is through familiars. This is a fun system but again, it's nothing mind-blowing.
Overall, if you're a JRPG fan like myself that's been itching for a new game to sink dozens of hours into, this is definitely worth the investment. If you expect to get a 'what Final Fantasy XIII should've been' type of experience, then you'll be slightly disappointed.
OVERALL SCORE: 8/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 02/07/13
Game Release: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (US, 01/22/13)
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