Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - Analysis
The glory days of Japanese RPGs were long since ended back in the 1990s. In fact, for many they even lasted too long. Today the genre is divided between games that have been simplified to the extreme in search of greater accessibility and those that have done the opposite. That means that many of us who enjoyed those great games when we were teenagers find ourselves in no man's land, in a limbo that for unknown reasons few developers have dared to step on. But with Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch , Level-5 gives us something special. A JRPG that is true to the genre and true to those who made it great. It has the look of contemporary titles, but exudes a classic flavor that will make all lovers of the genre fall hopelessly exhausted.
The Ni No Kuni story takes place around a young man named Oliver. Oliver is a citizen of Motorville, a quiet town that we might as well have taken from a photograph taken in 1950s America. He is a kind-hearted boy, kind to the neighbors, and who doesn't mind running errands. He is far from the anti-hero that we are used to seeing in many games. And this is one of the strengths of Ni No Kuni . You don't take the role of a warrior or a clever rogue. You become what you were years ago. A pure-hearted child with an innocent soul.
Oliver gets along wonderfully with his mother, is polite to adults and is obedient. He prefers to do his homework and talk about cars before getting into trouble. Although they seem trivial details, in reality the plot of Ni No Kuni is based on that, on how Oliver and the rest of the characters behave with the rest of the inhabitants of their world. Neither his physical strength nor his arcane abilities are too important. When his world collapsed due to the dire events that we will see near the beginning of the game, Oliver's character briefly faltered, but only to resurface with more fortitude.
In fact, Oliver doesn't have an ax to wield. He does not seek glory or a reward. He embarks on the adventure just to ease his pain, because he wants things to go back to the way they always have been. Personally, Oliver's story touched me a lot, and I'm sure there will be many more who are not ashamed to admit that a tear escaped with this game. Oliver's strength is that we will care little if he progresses or not, we will not care what weapons he carries. We are only going to want to take care of him, take him to the end of his adventure and regain his world, and if possible, without much change along the way.
The gameplay of Ni No Kuni is at times as if the Tales saga meets Pokemon. He takes elements of both sagas in equal parts, borrowing the best of each house and getting a mix just as fun as either of them, and he does it with consistency. The references Ni No Kuni takes from Pokemon are quite obvious, rewarding the use of creatures in combat. In addition, as in the original game, we can capture one of those creatures when we face them. You can make them level up, equip them with weapons or make them evolve into more advanced forms. Unlike with Pokemon, we will not feel the need to capture all the creatures that we find in our path, but if we follow in Ash's footsteps and do so, it will be much easier for us to be successful in our adventure.
We continue with the analysis of Ni No Kuni on the next page