At the very least, I'd like to see a Pokemon game where you can actually get every Pokemon in-game, without having to travel halfway across the US to go to events, only to find out that you lose it if you start a new game. Ni No Kuni came through on this, while Nintendo still seems to be having a little trouble with this concept. Anyway, onto my thoughts.
Originally Posted by Phlogiston
My review on GameFAQs originally gave Ni No Kuni a very high score. Having beaten the game completely now, I can safely say that the high score was justified.
The graphics are gorgeous, something that I rarely comment on in game reviews (hence why I usually stay away from GameFAQs, since they require you to comment on the graphics of a game). In this case, I have to mention a couple things. When you idle on stairs or a slope, take a look at how the characters position their feet. They'll actually position themselves correctly, instead of most games, where they'll be standing flat-footed on slopes and stairs, even if it defies all physics to stand in that pose where they are. The animations are all perfect, and the cutscenes look great, giving you the authentic 'I'm in a Studio Ghibli movie' feeling.
The storyline is excellent, even though it is on the simple side. You're a kid who is trying to save his mother, and ends up having to defeat the bad guys and save the world to do it. There are enough plot twists to keep the player engaged, while not going overboard to the point where it feels confusing. Everything fits nicely, and the humor that's sprinkled throughout the game really lightens the mood during some of the darker turns. One minor criticism is that the first act is a little weak. It might just be me, but it feels like the pacing should've been a bit better for a couple scenes that I won't spoil (you'll know them when you see them). Granted, it'll still take you awhile to get to the other world, but it does feel like the game could've taken a few minutes more with certain things. But once you get to the other world, everything is perfect. And since the story of the game centers around the other world, that is the most important thing.
Some people will likely call the gameplay a mixed bag. But personally, I liked it. The battles are fought in a semi-real time system, where you can move the character you're controlling around at will, while selecting commands. This is useful for avoiding attacks, as well as positioning your character to attack a possible weak spot. The familiar system is well done too, combining Pokemon with Dragon Quest V's monster capturing system to come up with a unique and surprisingly balanced system for making your party competitive in battle. Since your monsters share HP with their human counterparts, you have to be careful which one you send out and when. Send the wrong monster out at the wrong time, and you'll get killed. It's as simple as that. The grinding may be an issue for some people, as when you metamorph a monster, they go back to level 1 and have to be built up all over again to make them competent in battle. One other thing I must comment on is the spells. Oliver gets a massive spell index, and they actually serve alot of purposes. First, they can be used in battle. But aside from that, spells are used outside of battle to solve puzzles and problems too. And not just certain ones either. ALL OF THEM HAVE USES OUTSIDE OF BATTLE!!! I have to applaud Level-5 for doing this, because it's been YEARS since I've seen a game with this kind of mechanic, and it's refreshing to see a company make such a nod to the old school gamer. I hope if Studio Ghibli does indeed make another game, they team up with a company that uses this mechanic again, because it was great to see.
The music is fantastic. Joe Hisaishi delivers an epic score that is both memorable, and also makes the game feel huge. Not much more to say about the music, but give it a listen when you can. It's really some great stuff.
So yeah, if you haven't guessed, this is a great game and definitely worth adding to your library. I give this game the rating of: 'BUY IT'. This is one that's worth owning, especially with the plethora of sidequests and replayability due to the monster catching mechanics.
SBaby's Rating: BUY IT!
Last edited by SBaby; 13th March 2013 at 11:13 PM.
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