Though It Takes Some Time, Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch Spends It Wisely With Stellar JRPG Action
We've waited quite some time for Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, the JRPG-style collaboration between the folks at Level-5 and the wondrous animators at Studio Ghibli, the same house responsible for such movies as Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. But Namco Bandai made sure it wasn't time that was wasted, and as a result, we've gotten what can easily be called one of this generation's most startling adventures. It does take some time to get into (even four hours in, you're probably wondering when something magnificent will happen), but it's time well spent.
The game focuses on Oliver, a young child who gets into trouble, like most youths do, but still has an inseparable love for his mother. When she seemingly passes away, he's devastated, unprepared for facing the world alone. However, his tears manage to bring a strange toy she's given him to life – a lantern-nosed Welsh fairy by the name of Drippy. He informs Oliver that his mother can, in fact, actually be saved, but only if he helps him save a magical deity in a far-off universe. Oliver, at first reluctant, decides to lend a hand, and the pair's adventure begins.
This isn't one of those "flash in the pan" RPG's. It takes a while to get started. In fact, you don't even head off to Drippy's world until about an hour or so in, helping out a friend with his custom built car first. And even when you do enter this magically concocted world, it takes some time to get into it, meeting up with characters, wandering through towns and getting used to the open battle world, where Oliver may seem a little overwhelmed at first. However, with Drippy's help (and his constant responses of "TIDY!"), Oliver learns more about the power of magic, and is able to hold his own throughout each random encounter.
Once you do chip away at the game for a bit – like a few hours in, like we said, it's a doozy – you begin to get some help. A lovely girl named Esther joins your quest, not only proving to be an able member of your battle party, but also useful in recruiting familiars. This is where the Pokemon-like angle of the game settles in, but thankfully not to a dorky "gotta catch 'em all" degree.