Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Preview from E3 2012 -- Visual Wizardry Ahoy!By Jason Wishnov - Posted Jun 15, 2012
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is, simply put, a visual marvel. The cel-shading is nothing new, perhaps--older titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and Okami have created similarly striking styles--but Ni no Kuni uses it to create the most cartoon-like visuals yet seen on a console.
Moreover, not just any cartoons: Ni no Kuni (which translates to "another world") is a masterpiece of Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation house behind such classic films as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. The entire game plays out as an interactive Ghibli film, which includes a lighthearted style and coming-of-age story for the hero, Oliver, who is drawn into a fantasy realm in order to revive his deceased mother.
The game follows a relatively tradition JRPG structure, which has Oliver moving through world maps, towns, and dungeons to discover the secrets of the other world. In battle, players can control Oliver directly, or choose to issue commands to "familiars," Pokemon-like creatures that Oliver can collect and accrue throughout the game. Familiars can be swapped out (or removed from the field) at will, so it'll be easy to change up tactics in the midst of combat.
He'll also have up to two other companions. Though they won't be able to be controlled directly, the player can issue strategic commands to them during battle. The player also has free movement control over the characters, though there didn't seem to be any immediately obvious advantage from one position to the next.
The demo consisted of a traditional town/world map (we could ride a pirate ship!) and a dungeon. The elements were familiar, but while the game may not take many chances on structure, the style of the game is more than enough to differentiate it from its perhaps equally conservative brethren. Ni no Kuni is currently being localized for a January 2013 release, and the preview did nothing but make the wait that much harder.