Ni No Kuni: Lair Of The White Witch Tokyo Game Show 2012 Hands-On PreviewBy Moye Ishimoto - Posted Sep 19, 2012
Studio Ghibli fans of North America, Europe and beyond, the time to finally play Ni No Kuni is drawing near. (Well, 2013 isn't too far away, right?) Before Tokyo Game Show 2012 officially opened, Namco Bandai allowed us another sneak peek at Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, which is the PS3 version of the Level 5 game localized for the Western market.
While our Gamescom hands-on preview took us through Eruption Interruption this time we were able to visit a more serene, forest environment, "An Errand For Old Father Oak," with a battle, of course. Oliver and Drippy venture into the Deep Dark Wood in search for the Guardian of the Woods, a giant green furry dinosaur-like monster who has run amok and needs our help to "put him back on the straight and narrow."
From the animated forest surroundings and the quirky sidekicks to the giant green monster (complete with trees growing out of his back), Ni No Kuni truly does feel like we're stepping into the famous Studio Ghibli world that calls upon all of Miyazaki's films.
Here, we were given the option of battling the Guardian with either Oliver (armed with a variety of spells) or Maru Mite, a familiar. With helpful tips from Drippy, who is the High Lord of the Fairies, we can choose to attack, defend or "cut loose," which allows the character to perform a special, finishing move, but not flee the scene, which is what I originally thought. Oops. (But how amazing would that option be?)
In this one-on-one battle, the player must circle and maneuver around the Guardian while also picking up blue and green orbs to replenish magic and health. Because attacking and defending need to recharge after each use, you can also cancel a maneuver in real time to defeat the enemy. Bonuses are also awarded for proper defense, which Drippy is always happy to remind you about.
With music composed by Joe Hisaishi (who writes the music for all the Studio Ghibli) to the cute sound effects, Ni No Kuni does allow gamers to immerse themselves completely in Hayao Miyazaki's universe, as Akihiro Hino, President of Level 5, promised in a roundtable interview. He believed that this marked the first time the entire animation studio was involved and credited in a video game and that he hopes to continue working with them on many more gaming titles.
As for people (like us) who've been waiting to get their American hands on Ni No Kuni on the PlayStation 3, what changes were made in the localization process? Namco Bandai worked hard to keep Wrath of the White Witch as close to the original Shikkoku no Madshi version as much as possible. While the biggest struggle was translating the script--because there are numerous Japanese words that are hard to match--fans will find that this game will remain true to both the Studio Ghibli and Ni No Kuni universe as much as possible.