Ni No Kuni: The Wrath of the White Witch - PS3

Also known as: Ni No Kuni: The Wrath of the White Witch: Wizard's Edition

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Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Adventure: Role Playing
Media: Blu-Ray Arcade origin:No
Developer: Level 5 Soft. Co.: Namco Bandai Partners
Publishers: Namco Bandai Partners (GB)
Namco Bandai Games Europe (GB)
Released: 24 Jan 2014 (GB)
1 Feb 2013 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 12+

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Summary

Ni No Kuni, the Japanese RPG collaboration between Professor Layton developers Level-5 and Spirited Away animation studio Ghibli, is not just a visual delight for role-players, but it’s also enchanting to anyone with a pulse.

The story sounds like a classic Hayao Miyazaki film. You control a young orphan boy called Oliver, whose dream is to reconnect with his deceased mother. His tears attract the attention of a spirit called Drippy, who hails from a world called Ni No Kuni - if Oliver is willing to travel into this fantastical land and help its inhabitants with their problems, then he will be able to see his mum once again.

But Oliver’s task gets a little more complicated when it’s revealed that a guy called Shadar is causing havoc in the mystical world. He wears a cape, flies around a bit and is generally a rather nasty chap. To meet him at his level, Oliver has to learn the magic of Ni No Kuni and become a better spellcaster.

In terms of the game world, there’s plenty of opportunities to explore thanks to some intricate map design. Random battle encounters aren’t the order of the day here - enemies wander around just minding their own business. Until they see you, that is. Then they just charge right in your general direction. Sometimes you can avoid them, but Oliver can’t outrun many foes in the early stages of the game.

The battle system is presented in a similar style to fellow Namco Bandai RPG Eternal Sonata, except that there’s no restriction of movement in the play field. Oliver and his friends (consisting of female friend Ethel and Swaine) are controllable in a circular arena and can run around at will. By using the d-pad or the L2 and R2 buttons, you can select actions from a menu - be it attacking, defending or using provisions.

The artwork and surroundings are simply stunning, with such vivid colours and fantastic character design. During cutscenes, you could swear for a second that you were watching a Studio Ghibli film rather than playing a game.

It will certainly draw in Miyazaki fans, and the RPG action looks set to ensure that gaming purists won’t be left in the dark either.