Great Games – Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Box Art for the Nintendo Switch release.

Alright, how is everyone doing? I apologize for the lack of posts this past week, I decided to take some time and enjoy my spring break despite all the happenings in the world. On the bright side, it gave me some time to take care of school work, projects, and video games that have been on my backlog for awhile. However, I thought that I would highlight one of the more noteworthy playthroughs that I have been putting off for some time. Strap in folks because here comes information about this RPG of epic proportions.

The art style and narrative found within this game have that Studio Ghibli vibe that adds to the charm of the gameplay.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was originally released in Japan in 2011 and the West in 2013 for the PlayStation 3. When the game released last year for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Windows I knew that I had to buy it again (I never got to finish it when I had a PS3). The story centers around Oliver, a young boy who sets out to another world in order to save his mother. Upon reaching the new land with his new friend Drippy, the lord high lord of the fairies, Oliver learns of a plot by the dark djinn, Shadar, to bring chaos and the end of the world. With this in mind and friends he meets along the way, Oliver must work to save this world and his mother before its too late. The game features many of elements that you would find in typical RPGs, but there are some things that really make this game stand out. One of the first things that I have to mention is the collaboration with Studio Ghibli in the creation of the animated sequences that add some extra to the game (not to mention every movie the studio has made is an absolute gem). The combat system features ranged, melee, and magical attacks, but with the addition of “familiars”, creatures that are found throughout the world and can be tamed to help you in combat. Familiars can be evolved to different stages, much like Pokemon, and they can have differing paths of development with the final stage of evolution, such as being more attuned to fire or water. Combat will also give you the opportunity to receive “Miracle Moves”, special moves that either deal large amounts of damage or provide benefits for your entire team. Players have the option of carrying out specific errands in the game, such as NPC given tasks or bounty hunting, giving players the opportunity to earn some extra currency, items, weapons, or upgrades.

Screenshot of one of many battles the player will encounter throughout their playthrough. The player is given several options for creating tactics and diverse teams of familiars to provide the best experience possible.

I will come out and say it plainly: I have never been that great at RPGs. Most of the time I don’t have the patience to sit around and farm experience to level up my characters or I get stuck and never really get back into the groove of gameplay. However, I didn’t ever experience that feeling during the course of this game. I found myself playing throughout the day exploring the areas, recruiting new familiars, and becoming enthralled with the narrative. I will say that the story and characters that I met along the way I really grew to care for them and especially the bond between Oliver and his mother (I will fully admit that I did cry at the end of the game). Something about the aesthetic of gameplay and the art style really motivated me to finish what I started. The music throughout the game was composed so beautifully and every score fit the respective area it was tied to. Sound design always sets the mood just right for playing a game and even can play a larger role in the grand scheme of it’s design. Even writing this now I can hear the overworld theme play in my head, which is always a sure sign that a game has an impact on the player.

I would say that the animated sequences are some of the best that I have seen in any game. I could sit and just watch all the cutscenes and think that I was watching something akin to Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle.

With the conclusion of this post, I just wanted to say that more uploads will be coming in the soon and that I look forward to discussing video games with you all. As always, I would highly recommend this game to any gamer out there or any fan of the Studio Ghibli movies, you won’t regret it I promise.

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