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2013 Games Preview: Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch

Posted January 4, 2013 - By Adam Rosenberg


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2013 Games Preview: Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White WitchRelease Date: January 22, 2013

Developer: Level-5 / Studio Ghibli

Publisher: Namco Bandai

Platform(s): PlayStation 3

The phrase "ni no kuni" translates directly from Japanese to "two countries," which is fitting given the marriage of gaming and film at work in Level-5's Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. The RPG is the product of a collaboration between the veteran developer and Studio Ghibli, the anime production studio behind the likes of Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away. Early reports from the 2011 Japanese version of the game suggest that this is a perfect pairing.

What We Know:

We actually know a whole lot about Ni no Kuni, given the fact that the game has been available in Japan since November 2011. The story follows a 13-year-old boy named Oliver whose mother dies when she attempts to save him from drowning. Oliver's tears of grief give life to a doll named Drippy, a gift from his departed mother. It turns out that Drippy is actually a fairy who, with the help of a magical book, is able to transport Oliver into a parallel reality where his mother may still be found.

 

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Tokyo Game Show 2012 Preview »


 

The book that transports Oliver to this other world is also a fundamental component of the game's combat mechanics, which uses an "active time battle" system of the sort seen in many games from the Final Fantasy series. Oliver can attack using either direct damage spells or summoning familiar, magical helper creatures that do his bidding.

As you might expect from a game with connections to Studio Ghibli. the chief selling point of Ni no Kuni is its visual execution. The game is absolutely gorgeous in motion, essentially amounting to an interactive Ghibli-style adventure. 

What We Expect:

Given that Ni no Kuni is technically a two-year-old game, you don't have to look very far to set your expectations properly. Read or watch one of our many previews, most recently from Tokyo Game Show 2012, Gamescom 2012, and E3 2012, for a better sense of how the game actually looks and feels in motion.

Import reviews of the Japan-localized release have all been extremely positive, which definitely bodes well. You might feel SOME concern over the fact that the North American release was delayed from its original winter 2012 release into early 2013, but it's probably safe to chalk that up to getting the translated story just right. It's still not clear if the coming release will include previously released Easy Mode and DLC from Japan, but even just the core game should be more than enough to get fans of JRPG and Ghibli stories amped up.

2013 Games Preview: Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch
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