Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a wonderful JRPG created by Level-5 which features a lot of art and animation from Studio Ghibli, the same company responsible for the wonderful Hayao Miyazaki films that we all know and love.
This game’s lead character, who is from a city that is analogous to Detroit from the 50’s, called Motorville. Anyone paying attention and knows Detroit’s history can make this connection.
Gameplay: The game is enjoyable to play, however there seems to be a bit too much hand holding for my liking. At one point they show you some script which you can translate, and it was a pleasure to take the effort with paper and pencil to do the translation, but after you are done, they kinda ruin it for you by telling you what it said anyway. Then there is the fact that they put stars on a map to where you have to go. This makes the game a bit too easy.
Combat: Combat it pretty standard… until you realize it that it becomes a bit like Pokemon where you have to catch the familiars and you find yourself wanting to catch them all.
Translation: Being a JRPG, this game of course originated from Japanese, and it is a joy to listen to the game spoken in Japanese and turn on the English subtitles, until you start to notice that there is a major disconnect between the languages. What they are saying isn’t matching up with the subtitles. Then you realize that the subtitles are actually captioning for the English version, and not a translation of the Japanese version. It is understandable that there is some required dialogue rewrites as some things don’t translate very well, but there are some really head scratching moments. They change the names between the Japanese and English versions. It’s not like the name differences are Japanese to English names. They are English names in both versions. Mark becomes Phillip. This is by no means is a game breaker, but I find odd and a little disappointing.
Vocals: One final thing that bothers me is that despite that we are in the era of the Blu-ray disks, there are many points in the game where they stop with the vocals and just go with text dialogue. Are they still scrapping for space that they have to sacrifice vocal tracks?
Story & Art: The Story and art are by far the best parts of the game. The visuals are very nice and pleasant. You couldn’t expect any less from Studio Ghibli.
Overall I would like to give it a better grade, but I think I would give it a solid B.