When I was younger I hated RPGs, whether they be western or Japanese. And I still hate most of those games. But I've found in recent years titles have improved in these genres - the Western RPGs have implemented better combat or shooting mechanics (depending on the title) for example. But Japanese RPGs were something I was always wary of, until Valkyria Chronicles came about and singlehandedly destroyed every other title in any genre this entire generation. The formula with that title combined just enough new strategy/tactical RPG mechanics with old, and it was an exciting, well-paced, and brilliantly executed title.
Now we have Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. Before I saw any gameplay for it I had more or less written it off as another menu experience with pretty graphics, though I did turn my attention to it because of Studio Ghibli. Then, I watched the video below
And I really understood that while it does mix that menu-based RPG combat, that it was sort of in "real time" much like troop movement in Valkyria Chronicles was, and only upon menu selection is gameplay "paused" much like when aiming in VC. This clearly shows an attempt at mixing new and retro concepts, and based on how that worked with VC, I find this title to be very promising.
But that's not all VC had going for it. The characters, music, and graphics were extremely beautiful. And after reading IGN's review as I'm sure many of you have, I must say, I'm really happy that I decided to go through with the preorder for this game and its steelbook.
Below I've isolated some of the key quotes that left a really good impression on me.
Better yet, I truly believe there’s something here even for those that don’t necessarily enjoy random encounters, level grinding and stat building. The story, characters, aesthetics and gameplay really do mix to make something special well outside of the JRPG niche.
The music is catchy and memorable, but it also stirs emotion and draws you into the experience in ways few gaming soundtracks do. The composition of each individual track is adeptly executed – the music was written by famous Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi, after all – but it’s brought to even greater heights by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ni No Kuni is unquestionably gorgeous; its stellar aesthetic transcends each and every inch of the game. You’ll see a vista and think to yourself “this is the most beautiful scene in the game.” Then, you’ll see something an hour later and you’ll think the same thing. This happens over and over again, because Ni No Kuni looks that much better than a vast majority of games on the market.
While you’ll be using Familiars in battle (in addition to fighting in battles yourself, should you so choose), those battles take place in open spaces and occur in real-time. So Ni No Kuni instantly becomes about more than pressing the X button and hoping for (or simply expecting) the best. Instead, it’s about maneuvering around enemies, finding weak spots and openings, switching in and out Familiars on the fly and occasionally resorting to Oliver and his human friends so they can use items and special moves, from spellcasting to mid-battle thievery. This adds layers of much-welcome depth.
<message edited by Satanas on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 5:15 PM>