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Okay, so now that I've finished (or at least, been through the credits) of Ni No Kuni, I feel like I can finally talk about it.

This was pretty much the best game ever.

This is only slight hyperbole - it is a serious contender for my new 'favourite game of all time'.  I need to gush.  I'll give warnings for spoilers that happen later on or are terribly story-related.

The game just oozes Ghibli, and in fact is probably better than many of Ghibli's recent movies. This is made by Level 5, who are perfectly brilliant in their own right, but their hand is all but invisible in it. It's just... so visually stunning.  I mean, look at it.


The whole game looks like that.

It is unreasonably beautiful. Everything. I felt like I was watching a 50-hour-long Ghibli movie.

Plus, a Joe Hisaishi soundtrack? I would have bought the game on that merit alone.  Joe Hisaishi guys! I actually hadn't realised what a strong style he has until I heard this. I would hang out on the opening menu screen just to hear it play.

The story is simple, really, but in a beautifully handled way, filled with great characters and plot twists you'll probably see coming but will make you hold your breath anyway. It reminded me a lot of Brave Story, actually, and that is not bad company to be in at all. And the sense of humour was unexpectedly brilliant. Drippy and the fairies in general made me crack up like nothing else... not to mention all the Ghibli references subtly and not-so-subtly strewn throughout.  And the utterly absurd naming conventions. I knew this game was a treat once I visited Ding Dong Dell, only to then have to descend into Ding Dong Well.

And omg, the sheer amount of content!  I mean, we basically have Pokemon in here, on top of a full RPG with an epic story, with crafting, and sidequests, and a fully-interactive world map and dungeons and secret caves and tiny islands and enough cities and people in them to put even the old Final Fantasies to shame.  And that's not even including a whole freaking book in the Wizarding Companion.  That book was so awesome that I want a hard-copy of it. Even the bonus fairytales you get with it... I was not expecting some little bonus short stories in a game to make me want to cry.  Seriously.  It's not fair that throwaway content is that awesome.

The game also makes me unreasonably hungry. You cannot play this game without wanting to eat, only to be disappointed because you inevitably don't have any food as nearly as delicious-looking as the culinary delights within the game.

Just... so good. It was so damn good.  Game of the Year.  I'm going to be horribly disappointed by everything else for a long long time.

You even got to choose Japanese or English audio!  How often have we complained about that?!  It was great, because I don't even want to imagine what the English dub would have done with Drippy or Oliver.

My only complaint is that since I did choose the Japanese audio, I got treated to the somewhat odd localisation choices in names which I would have otherwise been totally unaware of.  Like why did 'Mark' become 'Phil' in the subtitles?  Or 'Sherry' into 'Myrtle'? The names were already Anglicised. And they changed 'Holy!' to 'Sanctify!' for no apparent reason.  'Kuro' to 'Tengri'. The list goes on.  'Oliver' seemed to the only one to make the transition unscathed at times. It was a little perplexing, honestly, there wasn't even the usual excuse that the names were overtly Japanese and too strange for kids because they weren't. And the localisation and writing was top-notch otherwise, so it wasn't a matter of laziness or skill, either. Legal matters? Anyone's guess.


Plus, guys, guys, you get a dragon, and you can fly around the globe in the sort of way you couldn't since Secret of Mana. You have no idea how disappointed I've been that recent games have stopped doing this.

Also Shaddar's castle was just the coolest thing ever even if the camera did make me dizzy. Miasma Marshes too, the trees had eyes omg. Oh man, and how cool was the Shaddar fight? Cassiopeia's was brilliant too, but the stakes felt so much higher with Shaddar.  (Although I do wonder why, instead of destroying it, Shaddar didn't just claim Mornstar for himself? It wouldn't accept him as a master, perhaps?)

Speaking of which, that sucker punch, after going through a 3-stage boss fight and having the celebrations and goodbye?  Even though I saw it coming, because we'd been treated to ominous cutscenes of the Council all throughout (plus, you know, the game is subtitled 'Wrath of the White Witch'), that was still hugely unexpected, I can only compare it to Ocarina of Time when you first emerge from the Temple of Time into the future. Holy crap Ghibli zombies are the creepiest thing ever. 'Tom Tildrum is Undead' was so incredibly unsettling!

Jumping topics because this game destroys all of my coherence, Swaine and Marcassin's story was such a rich vein of drama which they totally ignored, which I was mostly fine with but still somewhat dissatisfied because there is so much untold story there, and also Marcassin seemed unnaturally cool with his deadbeat brother turning up after ostensibly abandoning him at the worst possible moment.  It does seem like Swaine has been trying awfully hard to rectify this for a long time, and hey, he got heartbroken at some point, but what happened in between?  There is such juicy backstory to be had there.  Still, I cannot believe that this game also managed to include time travel, it's like the whole damn thing was tailor made to fulfil all my fondest wishes.

Everything else said, did anyone else find the ending unbearably depressing?  Oliver comes home... to an empty house, all by himself, to get on with a mundane life. ;___; Even if he's over his mother's death, that just seemed so unbearably lonely.  I need to go do all the post-game content to trick myself into believing the adventure goes on.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 7th, 2013 11:36 pm (UTC)
welp you've sold me on this

one day. one day...
Jul. 8th, 2013 06:19 am (UTC)
I ruined the game for my brother. Q.Q

Mom's trying to loose weight so the surgeons will put her on the damn waiting list to get a new liver to prevent death, and the opening...

Yeah. I was crap at not breaking down in tears, and my brother can't play it now without remembering that and why it made me cry and so now he can't play, and he bought the ps3 just for that game. @.@;
Jul. 8th, 2013 12:07 pm (UTC)
Oh dear... it is quite the tear-jerker in this respect. :(
Jul. 9th, 2013 06:14 am (UTC)
it's so pretty ! my friend lent it to me but i haven't had a chance to play it yet. i heard it's a really long game though~
Jul. 9th, 2013 06:53 am (UTC)
It's brilliant! You'll love it. It is decently long, though I think if you played it on easy and didn't bother with any side-quests or exploring you could knock it over in 30 hours fairly easily.
Jul. 10th, 2013 04:21 am (UTC)
eh, i guess i spend 120 hours on p3 so i can't complain anymore :P

but yeah heard great things.
Sep. 23rd, 2013 02:00 pm (UTC)
I just finished it! it truly was a gorgeous game. I playing Tales of Xilia now. But after I'm done I have to replay this again.
Sep. 23rd, 2013 03:14 pm (UTC)
Wasn't it though? *__* I also want to play it again. Let me know how Tales of Xilia is! I've sort of lost touch with the Tales series.
Nov. 6th, 2013 02:26 pm (UTC)
Great article. I'm just starting this game (after having in my backlog since the day it cam out), and OH. MY! What a great game!

It's so beautiful! It's charming, warming and funny. Scary, sad and yes, sexy.

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )