Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch PlayStation 3
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Released on 01-Feb-2013
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is an epic role-playing adventure centred from two legendary Japanase studios. Join the intimate and heart-warming tale of a young boy named Oliver, and his journey to a strange world to learn magic and bring his mother back from the dead.
Key Features of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch on PlayStation 3
- Oliver's emotional story and quest in a strange new world
- A new kind of RPG that combines western and Japanese styles of gameplay
- A unique companion-based combat system
- The creative genius of two legendary Japanese studios
- A visually stunning experience with anime-style cut scenes
Along the way he meets many new characters, strange versions of people he knows from his own world, include Esther, an adventurer who is missing part of her heart – in the real world, she is Shelly, a sick girl who cannot leave the house. Together they explore the land, encountering more friends who help him learn and grow, formidable foes to fight, and strange creatures that Oliver can collect and build into a menagerie.
The gameplay of Ni no Kuni embraces all that you would expect from an RPG, keeping the traditional Japanese elements that make for great escapist adventure, and adding new features for an experience like no other. As you'd expect, there's a free-roaming map to take across the unique world of Ni no Kuni itself, varied transportation systems to get you around, and many secondary quests, mini-games and more.
Ni no Kuni also introduces a new, menu-driven combat system that allows you to choose who takes on your foes – you, or one of your pets. You can control this with a real level of specific detail, or pre-set instructions for your companions and colleagues with options like 'Provide Backup', 'Keep us Healthy' or 'Do What You Like'. And when you do enter into combat,you'll be greet with even more dynamic visuals as the action plays out.
All of this is delivered by the imagination and talent of two of Japan's leading creative studios – LEVEL-5 and Studio Ghibli. LEVEL-5 are the renowned studio behind the Professor Layton, Inazuma Eleven and Dragon Quest games, and bring all their experience in crafting story- and character-driven game mechanics to Ni no Kuni. The art, design and animation comes courtesy of the legendary Studio Ghibli, the anime producers responsible for films like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle and more, and who even bring the acclaimed composer of many of these films, Joe Hisaishi , to produce the memorable score for the game.
The result is a game that expertly and seamlessly fuses the skills and genius of both creative forces, visually stunning with fully produced anime-style cut-scenes, powered by a cel-shaded graphics engine that produces cinema-quality real-time animation. Ni no Kuni offers you a world of environments, landscapes and cities, an animated movie universe inside a video game.
It's not often that the video games sales chart throws out a genuine surprise, but that's what happened this week as long awaited Japanese role-playing game Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch knocked blockbuster juggernaut Call of Duty: Black Ops II off the top spot. It's a stunning result for an RPG, especially considering it's a PlayStation 3 exclusive. The game proved so popular it even sold out completely in some areas.
"We are thrilled at the weekend sales of Ni no Kuni in the UK," said Lee Kirton from UK publisher Namco. "We have more stock going into the channel this week so check with local stores to receive your copy. We hope the word of mouth and demand for the title continues as it does prove that JRPGs are special and we invest a lot of time and effort within this genre."
Ni no Kuni is a collaboration between developer Level 5, best known for Professor Layton and Dragon Quest VIII, and Studio Ghibli, the Oscar-winning animation studio behind such wonderful films as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. It follows a young boy who journeys to a fantastical world after the death of his mother and has been unanimously praised by the specialist gaming press.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is out now for PlayStation 3.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a collaboration between the games developer Level-5 - a Japanese role-playing specialist, known for Professor Layton, White Knight Chronicles and the last two Dragon Quest games - and Studio Ghibli. The film animation studio is a national institution in Japan, and has had a number of worldwide hits like Spirited Away.
Two big names in their respective fields, then, and Ni no Kuni doesn't disappoint. Fans of Level-5's work will find the fun characters and gentle storytelling of Layton and the finely-tuned RPG gameplay of Dragon Quest here. Meanwhile, Ghibli aficionados will get to enjoy some beautiful animated cut-scenes, another lush orchestral score by Joe Hisashi, and the thrill of stepping into one of the studio's magical worlds and heading off to explore.
In fact, this game is more Level-5's work than Ghibli's - the game studio wrote the storyline and script - but the two companies have collaborated closely enough, especially on the gorgeous look of the game, to make sure it retains the feel of movies like Ponyo, Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbour Totoro. Perhaps more importantly, this PS3 exclusive is a great epic role-playing game in the classic Japanese style, blending a strong storyline with gameplay elements from Pokémon, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, the Tales series and more into a nostalgic adventure that will delight kids and adults alike.
The story concerns a young boy named Oliver who lives in a slice of Americana called Motorville. After an accident, his mother dies and he's left an orphan - but then a toy his mother made him comes to life. Mr Drippy, a funny, big-nosed creature with a Welsh accent and a lantern in his nostrils, tells Oliver that he's a lord of the fairies from a parallel world, and that Oliver is a pure-hearted wizard who can save that world from evil - and maybe bring his mother back into the bargain.
After they journey to the other world, Oliver discovers that many characters there look like people back home - the king of one town is actually the shopkeeper's cat - and he can solve their problems by travelling backwards and forwards between the two worlds. In fact, you don't do this that often, but it still works brilliantly as a storytelling device, giving the fantastical events of Oliver's adventure a touching human dimension.
Otherwise, the story is a colourful fantasy romp in which Oliver contacts the Great Sages of the world to learn new magical powers and ultimately challenge the Dark Djinn, Shadar. He travels by land, sea and eventually air around the world map, fights monsters, gathers a party of friends, explores dungeon-style areas and runs errands for people in town - including, in a rather sweet touch, restoring the enthusiasm or kindness of people who have been "broken-hearted" by Shadar's spells. It's lovely, traditional stuff, reminiscent of the old 2D Final Fantasy games - but with a twist.
As well as wielding his own magic spells in battle, Oliver and his friends can capture and train "familiars" to fight for them, just as in Pokémon. There's a huge number of these creatures, they come in all sorts of wonderfully bizarre designs and have a wide range of skills, from magic to healing to defence to physical attack.
This is where Ni no Kuni reveals itself to be a surprisingly deep and tough game. There's an enormous amount of flexibility in how you set the familiars up: each of your three characters can switch between three familiars in battle, you can keep reserves, you can equip them with items, you can train them up in certain attributes, you can change their skill set-ups, and so on. It's really absorbing stuff.
It's not just fun to tinker, but it's great fun putting it all to use in the game's battle system. Although fights take place in standardised arenas in the old-school JRPG style, they're not random or turn-based. This is a real-time system where you need to move and think on your feet, where timing is important and where using the right skill against the right creature at the right time pays off big-time.
In so many RPGs, battling becomes something you do in autopilot. Not so in Ni no Kuni, where there are frequent tough bosses and the enemies' level keeps pace with your own, always keeping you on your toes. Everything in this game is perfectly balanced, right down to how much money you earn and how often you need to buy and use items or stop at an inn. No slacking at the back there!
So Ni no Kuni is not just a beautiful game (although it really is) with an affecting storyline that will touch your inner child - it's actually a seriously involving and fun RPG which you feel like you're always mastering, and in which it seems there's always something more to discover. It's an absolute must for any PS3 owners with a love of the genre.
- A stunning-looking game that brings the imagination of Studio Ghibli films to life
- The storyline is touching and real without being overly sentimental
- Deep systems and fun fighting will keep you absorbed for hours on end
- There aren't enough of the animated cut-scenes, and too much dialogue is done in text
- The design of some side-quests is a bit basic
- After a great start, the game and story are a little slow to really get going.
It's been a long time coming, but Level 5's lush role-playing game Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is finally reaching UK shores in just a few weeks. Developed in conjunction with legendary Japanese animation outfit Studio Ghibli, home of Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and more, the game follows a young boy who ventures into a magical land after the death of his mother.
Is there room in our stony cold hearts for a whimsical Japanese RPG in 2013? It would seem so, if the glowing recommendations from the gaming press are anything to go by.
"The perfect storm of adventure, challenge and emotion," gushes GamesMaster magazine's 95% review. "A lesson in what being a JRPG means." IGN's review comes in a hairs breadth beneath, with a 9.4 score. "Ni No Kuni is the best JRPG I've played in years," proclaims the review. "A must-play for an RPG fan with a PlayStation 3", it continues while praising the "gorgeous, lush" graphics and "engrossing" combat.
"Ni no Kuni is rich yet breezy, classic yet modern, exquisitely made and completely sure of itself," says Eurogamer's 9/10 review. "Best of all, Level-5 and Ghibli's artists have worked together to create a gorgeous adventure that feels like it belongs to both of them."
"A gloriously beautiful game by any standard, both visually and emotionally," reckons Metro GameCentral, handing out an 8/10. GamesTM is similarly impressed, also awarding an 8/10 score and declaring: "It's delicious. Coming as it does from two creative teams at the top of their respective fields, we expect nothing less."
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a PlayStation 3 exclusive, and is on sale from February 1st.
Studio Ghibli, the award-winning animation company founded by Oscar-winning Spirited Away director Hayao Miyazaki, has never worked on a video game until now. The stunning looking PlayStation 3 role-playing adventure Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch finds the movie powerhouse teaming up with Level-5, the developer behind Professor Layton and Dragon Quest VIII.
In a new video diary charting the development of the game, Yoshiyuki Momose, Studio Ghibli's director of animation, has explained how they approached the project.
"This is the first time Studio Ghibli has been deeply involved in a video game," he says, describing how the film's visual style was driven by Ghibli's artists. "Despite that, we used the same approach we take on our animated films. The process was not so different from the way we usually approach animation. I directed and staged the animated cutscenes and art for the game as though we were making one of our usual animated films."
That certainly comes across in the footage that has been released, which looks like nothing less than a playable Ghibli film. Having to populate an entire videogame meant that the studio was able to experiment in ways that a feature film wouldn't allow, however. "In some instances we made characters that we normally wouldn't create, or should I say, we had the opportunity to," Momose says. "It was fun to be a part of that. Since Studio Ghibli makes animated films in the fantasy genre, people assume we've created something like this before. But it's surprisingly new for us to create characters in that style."
"Ghibli always has a heartwarming touch to their work. They're very conscious of that and I wanted to incorporate a similar feeling in my projects," adds Akihiro Hino, the CEO of Level-5. "They helped us think through the development of Ni no Kuni."
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of White Witch was released in Japan in 2011, and finally comes to the west in a fully voiced English translation on January 25th.
Fans of Japanese role-playing games will finally be able to sample Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch in English, with a demo version scheduled to appear on the UK PlayStation Store on December 5th.
The PlayStation 3 exclusive is a collaboration between Japanese developer LEVEL-5 and Hiyao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli. LEVEL-5 is best known for such hits as White Knight Chronicles, Professor Layton and Dragon Quest VIII. Studio Ghibli is the Oscar winning creator of such animated classics as Spirited Away and Princess Monoke. In case that doesn't sound posh enough, the soundtrack is performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ni No Kuni follows a young boy who journeys through an alternate world in search of his dead mother, guided by a fairy and a magic book. The demo will include two full sections of the game, complete with Guardian of the Woods and Moltaan boss encounters.
It came out in Japan in 2011, earning high scores from respected magazines and websites like Famitsu, but will finally reach the UK in a fully voiced and translated English language version on January 25th.
Acclaimed Japanese role-playing adventure Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch has been earmarked for a European release in the first quarter of 2013.
Namco Bandai's new PlayStation 3 game from Professor Layton creator Level-5 has caught plenty of attention from Western fans thanks to the involvement of the legendary Studio Ghibli animation house in its development.
It follows the exploits of an aspiring magician called Oliver who journeys into a parallel world in the hope of bringing his departed mother back to life, befriending and training mystical creatures along the way.
Veteran artists from anime masterpieces such as My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away helped to create the visual design of Ni no Kuni's world, while regular Ghibli composer Joe Hisaishi provides a typically evocative score.
Though the accompanying Nintendo DS version of Ni no Kuni will not be heading West, the PlayStation 3 edition is being subtitled into English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, while English dubbing will be available alongside the original Japanese voices.
Level-5 boss Akihiro Hino said: "It was important for me that players outside Japan also have the best experience of the game we can give them."
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch confirmed for Europe
UK gamers will be thrilled to learn that the much talked-about Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is making its way to European shores next year.
Ni no Kuni is a collaboration between Level-5 and the legendary Studio Ghibli, the renowned Japanese animation studio behind films such as Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro.
Featuring stunning visuals and music from Ghibli stalwart Joe Hisaishi, the game tells the story of a young boy who ventures into another world to become a magician, while meeting and recruiting strange creatures to help him on his quest.
Akihiro Hino, president and chief executive officer of Level-5, said: "It was a momentous experience to create a game with artists who represent Japan as much as Studio Ghibli and Mr Hisaishi do."
Ni no Kuni topples Call of Duty from … (04/02/2013)
It's not often that the video games sales chart throws out a genuine surprise, but that's what happened this week…
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch … (28/01/2013)
Ni no Kuni is not just a beautiful game (although it really is) - it's actually a seriously involving and fun RPG in which it seems there's always something more to discover…
Review Roundup - Ni No Kuni: Wrath of… (17/01/2013)
Is there room in our stony cold hearts for a whimsical Japanese RPG in 2013? It would seem so, if the glowing recommendations from the gaming press are anything to go by…
Studio Ghibli's animation boss talks … (20/12/2012)
Studio Ghibli, the award-winning animation company founded by Oscar-winning Spirited Away director Hayao Miyazaki, has never worked on a video game until now…
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch … (04/12/2012)
Fans of Japanese role-playing games will finally be able to sample Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch in English, with a demo version scheduled to appear on the UK PlayStation Store on December 5th.…
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch … (16/02/2012)
Acclaimed Japanese role-playing adventure Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch has been earmarked for a European release in the first quarter of 2013.…
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch … (17/10/2011)
UK gamers will be thrilled to learn that the much talked-about Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is making its way to European shores next year.…
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