Living life as a hardcore gamer is great but from time to time it has its drawbacks. When you keep your eyes on multiple game releases and a bunch come out relatively close to one another, you do not get the time you would like to have to be able to play each game. That was exactly the case with Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch when it was first released in America in 2013. I purchased the game and was excited to play it, that desire only intensifying as friends with similar gaming taste raved at how great the game was. What’s there not to love when you look at it from a distance?
• Long RPG adventure game with plenty to do? CHECK
• Studio Ghibli providing breathtaking artistic direction? CHECK
• A soundtrack worthy of praise? CHECK
Between those reasons, amongst many others, it was clear that Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was THE RPG that RPG fans were going to love. I had the game and was really excited to play it, but I knew that I was going to need to finish every other game I was playing so that I could dedicate myself to Ni No Kuni. Of course though, like all good intentions, it kept getting pushed back as more games came out and I would see it as THAT game that sat in my backlog for years. After all this time, I thought about it as the game that “Got away” and so, when I saw it was getting remastered for PC and PS4, I said that it was finally time. I NEEDED to play this game no matter what, and by God, I am glad I finally got to see what I was missing.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered is here to give you the best experience of a game that is nearing its 10th anniversary.
In Ni No Kuni you play primarily as Oliver, a young boy that lives with his mom in a town called Motorville. Within the first 20 minutes of the game, tragedy strikes poor Oliver as his Mom passes away and leaves Oliver virtually alone as it would appear he has no other family. Oliver has a toy that comes to life and you discover that this toy is actually a character named Drippy, who accompanies Oliver as they go to a parallel world that is being ravaged by a sorcerer named Shadar. They go to Drippys world mainly because he tells Oliver that within the parallels of their two worlds, everyone has a ‘soulmate’, and by going to Drippys world, it is possible they could save Oliver’s mom.
Upon entering Drippys world, the player will feel right at home with classic RPG’s as Ni No Kuni has a world map that you travel around on. Upon entering any destination on the world map, you will get to full travel in that location in a larger scope. When traveling, you need not worry about random battles as you can see every monster and so you can avoid combat, though I would recommend trying to always stay as levelled up as possible! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Sometimes you can also see glimmering objects in the wild and upon inspecting them, Oliver will pick up different useful items.
Oliver travels from town to town and helps the residents by solving their problems. The main storyline is extremely easy to follow as there is a star on the map that always points you in the direction that you should be going. Doing side-missions can be a drag in RPG’s, but with Ni No Kuni, I never felt like they ask too much of your time. As well as the monetary compensation and experience points you gain, the entire experience and narrative makes them worth going out of your way to complete. Missions could be as simple as fighting a specific monster on the open map, to finding a mothers children that are missing to other small remedial activities.
Battling in Ni No Kuni is interesting because it flows in such a way that I’ve not really seen before. You may battle as the human characters, but they are simply not going to be as strong as the ‘familiars’ that you pick up as you play the game. The battlefield is normally large enough that you can move around in real-time to avoid attacks as well as heal or form a strategy. Normal battles can be very short but the boss battles are quite exciting! Each boss has a special attack that they have to charge up to use. You are given just enough time to be able to defend from those attacks in hopes that the boss is exhausted afterwards long enough for you to jump in and deal with some punishment. Oliver is not very strong with his physical abilities, however, he makes up with exceptionally strong magic attacks.
Each familiar that you use in battle has to be calculated and thought out as they have stamina gauges that, once depleted, make that character useless for a short amount of time while it recharges. Eventually, you will have a team of characters, each with their own familiars, so it does get a little bit easier to balance out your team. The familiars, as well as the humans that use them, share the same HP and MP gauges and even if you don’t use them all in a battle, every character is rewarded with experience points.
I cannot speak enough about how amazing this remaster looks. I was able to run the whole game on the highest graphical settings with no problems whatsoever. Had I not known that the game was coming up on 10 years since it’s initial release in Japan, I would’ve thought this was a brand new game. Famed anime studio, Studio Ghibli was behind the art of the original game and it shows, especially in the frequent anime cut scenes.
I am so glad that I finally got to play Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered after sitting in my backlog for so many years. Everything I had ever heard about how brilliant the game is turned out to be 100% true. Oliver’s story was nothing short of magical. On PC, the remaster runs like a dream, offering no technical issues or problems, despite running the game with all the graphical settings maxed out.
Some games don’t really age too well, even after a touch up from the developers; Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered isn’t one of these – it’s a timeless classic which has only got even more beautiful and enchanting with age. Don’t let this brilliant remaster go into your backlog.