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POSTED 20/2/13


NI NO KUNI: WRATH OF THE WHITE WITCH

Namco Bandai

PS3

Stunningly gorgeous, charming, alluring, bewitching, entrancing, ravishing and many other words our Thesaurus would love us to blurt upon your screen should it receive commission for each adjectival spurterance. This is Ni no Kuni.

Visuals are courtesy Studio Ghibli, of captivating animated movie fame, and the soundtrack comes from the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Yep, this puppy’s anything but cheap.

We can’t yabber enough about how stunning this looks – apparent cutscenes have you controlling your wee protagonist. Breathtaking!

Anyway, that wee protagonist is Oliver, a lad from the tres ’50s burg Motorville who’s quickly rendered motherless. Still, he has his pointy-nosed cuddly toy, which springs lifewards at the kersplot of Oli’s tears, and announces that he’s Mr Drippy, Lord High Lord of the Fairies – thick Welsh accent and all. Imagine Tom Jones, but bigger than the real thing. We say that with certainty, as we met and patted him once several years ago.

Drippy prattles on about inextricably linked parallel worlds and doppelgangers, the gist of which you grasp is that you may find your mummy again. After procuring a magic enough stick you’re soon spirited away (ahem) to this world, where adventures unfold tackling a pirate (well, she has a parrot) bitchywitchypoo determined to stop you from being the world’s Buffyistic saviour.

Classic JRPGness collides with Pokémon’s Tamagotchi-on-steroids collect-a-gogo vibe. You progress through an alarmingly lengthy adventure collecting these ‘familiars’, fighting beasties of assorted beastliness in real-time battles that increasingly complicate, levelling-up until you feel you’ve a snowball’s chance in Melbourne as of February 2013 to get anywhere. While the main quest will satisfy the most questilogical urges, side missions and minigames will also captivate.

Sure, there’s much backtracking and frustration if you’re undercooked for the next levelled-up battle, it isn’t super-original story-wise and it takes a while to chug to speed, but damn this game’s pretty.

take me back to the start...

 



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ALL WRITTEN CONTENT COPYRIGHT © AMY FLOWER 2008-2014. GAME IMAGES COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE GAMES COMPANIES.