Last year wasn’t too kind to Japanese-RPG’s. Square Enix seemed hellbent on destroying Final Fantasy’s reputation while Western RPGs like Mass Effect and Diablo raided our minds and reaped all the accolades. There were signs of life from the Far East, but when one of the most notable titles put out was Persona 4 Golden, a re-release of a game that came out in 2008, it’s pretty disappointing.
Is the long-awaited Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch the genre’s kid hero-sized savior? Here’s a list of why we think that yes, it is.
1) It’s Studio Ghibli
Even though Hayao Miyazaki’s work (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle) may seem like awesome game material (hello Princess Mononoke), it’s probably best that they decided to create something new rather than irreparably damage our childhood memories.
What we get now is the epic production values and charm offensive present in all of the esteemed animation studio's work, which is enough to make any game worthy of a look.
2) It’s Level 5
They’ve produced critically acclaimed but underrated titles like Dark Cloud for the PS2 as well as achieved mainstream success with the Professor Layton series. While they don’t always hit the jackpot with their games, they always manage to give titles an endearing personality--while other makers attempt this with giant tits.
Instead of giant tits, it has giant green monsters
3) It’s challenging but not patronizing
JRPGs lately have wavered between teeth-grindingly difficult (Dark Souls) and insultingly easy (Final Fantasy XIII), but Ni No Kuni hits the sweet spot of accessibility. Its difficulty spikes signal logical progression and aren’t cheap shots unlike Persona’s infuriating one-hit kill encounters. Go deep with menus or enjoy the tactic-based combat that makes you feel like you’re actually playing with monsters and not managing a spreadsheet.
NEXT: Finally, a JRPG with a story we could actually care about