VIDEO: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (2013)

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Sofie treads dangerous waters as she releases her second game review, officially becoming a female game reviewer. This time, in a extension to Miyazaki March, Sofie reviews the Studio Ghibli and Level 5 collaboration Ni No Kuni. And as an avid RPG gamer, she’s found the game she dreamed of as a child that truly has it all.

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Tag: Movie Dorkness: Miyazaki March

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  • Jonathan Campbell

    The guy behind Sauron?

    You mean Morgoth?

    The Black Enemy? The first Dark Lord? The Middle-Earth version of Satan (or even, their name for Satan)?

    Hm…I might not have minded that, actually….

    Something to think about.

    I spent this entire review wondering who you got to voice Drippy.Turns out its Welshy…..which was so damn obvious I feel kind of silly for not thinking of it.

    Anyway, I love RPG games, but I am HORRIBLE at finishing them. I think the only one I’ve ever completed was the first Suikoden; all the rest- Final Fantasy VII, VIII and X, Dragon Age….er, okay I haven’t played that many now that I think about it- all of them, I never managed to finish. Even if I wanted to, I either got stuck, or got distracted and started on something else, and forgot about them, even if I was enjoying them.

    (Well, FFVII and VIII, admittedly I might have just been BAD at them and not able to finish because I kept getting beaten, but….)

    Oh well. Excellent review.

    • Sofie Liv

      Well, at least Frodo didn’t have to go fight Morgoth to after we spend three whole movies only talking about Sauron!
      That would just have been sheer overkill. Perhaps I should have said “Some-one else who controlled Voldemort.”
      Because really, seven books or eight movies building up just one bad guy and then go. “whups, sorry, this is not the ACTUAL bad guy, he is just the minion.”
      What the hey?

      Welshy is the greatest 😀
      My only regret is I never seem to be able to hang enough out with him when I see him at my now yearly trips to Alcon in England.
      And well, knowing Welshy, and having the plushie given to me by a fan… this just became way to obvious -_-;

      True that is the thing about RPG games, they are loooooong games.
      They take forever to finish, so really to play and RPG is like having a little cosy project in the background where you just play a little ones in a while.
      I did play Ni No Kuni in just one massive bulk took me, between two or three weeks I guess, though the reason why I did that is because I do not own a PS3 myself, I had to borrow my sisters consol, and she kind of wanted it back quick as possible.
      So yeah, now own a PS3 game.. but not PS3 consol.
      Ahh, the sweet life of being a nerd living in poverty X)

      Nice of them to re-release all of the classic RPG titles to the 3DS though.
      I can even buy the original Zelda triology over 3DS eshop if I wanna.. and I am probably gonna eventually.. Just need to finish. “Link between worlds.” first.
      I’m such a nerd.

      • Jonathan Campbell

        “Well, at least Frodo didn’t have to go fight Morgoth to after we spend three whole movies only talking about Sauron!
        That would just have been sheer overkill. Perhaps I should have said “Some-one else who controlled Voldemort.”
        Because really, seven books or eight movies building up just one bad guy and then go. “whups, sorry, this is not the ACTUAL bad guy, he is just the minion.”
        What the hey?”

        Yes, yes you should have said Voldemort.

        Although, I don’t think that’s entirely unusual for Japanese RPG’s (or Japanese stuff in general). FFX did something like that (still never finished it, but read the spoilers and stuff). Naruto just went into overkill in that area.

        I own a PS3, but I haven’t played it in ages (damn addictive Internet). My brother has it now….but he is just borrowing it (whether he knows it or not).

        And yes, you are a nerd. Nerd.

        • Sofie Liv

          Yeah they do, writing in RPG is usually kind of fragmented.
          But there in lies the difference, aside from the added plot of the PS3 game that was not in the original game, the writing is so tight!
          It’s structure downright perfect and clearly has been worked on a lot.

          It’s not just the characters mindlessly walking from temple to temple finding souls stones and triforce pieces to have story thrown on it as an after thought.
          Here the story becomes extremely central and is so well structured, being such a good heroes journey that is all about Oliver at first setting out for entirely selfish reasons but ends up a mature responsible adult ready to sacrfice himself for another bigger course.

          I am not saying Zeldas stories are bad… they are just not as tightly written nor cleverly structured as this one.
          Zelda usually have decent stories with a great game play.
          This has a great story and a great gameplay, there in lies the difference.

          Final Fantasy.. I.. erhm.. arh.. the games I have played, I often end up a bit to quick having no idea what is going on.
          And i’ve played through Kingdom hearts and loved it, and mostly knew what was going on.
          All though… Why did Riku look like Anseem?
          Seriously why? What happened? EXPLAIN TO ME GAME!

          And no playing through. “Dream drop distance.” did not explain a damn thing about all of this! in fact it just raised even more questions! and not in a good way.
          Not like “Zelda Majoras mask.” where things seems to be so purposefull vague that you can spin a thousand theories around it, that game is brlliant in how it present these things.
          There’s a reason why people are still discussing the meanings of that game here a decade after..

          Yes.. yes I am a nerd.. i’m.. No i’m not sorry. I’ll just nerd on! *puts on glasses*

          • Sofie Liv

            Also don’t get me started on Naruto.
            It was one of my first mangas, I collected it and ready it religiously when I was a kid.
            I have just given up now.. it just threw the ball.

            See that’s where One Piece was a heck of a lot smarter never calling. “This guy is the strongest one, really he is?”
            But more having a constant saying of. “You are shrimps in this massive world, and this bad guy right here, he’s a drop in the ocean you are sailing on!”
            So the constant encounter of new bad guys seems a lot more natural and progressive as we always knew there was something even larger out there we havn’t reached yet.

          • Jonathan Campbell

            I’m sticking with it; I just want to see how it all ends.

            Part 2 still has some (SOME) good moments, and it earnt a lot of my good will from Part 1.

            To be fair I don’t think Naruto really had a problem with the whole “this si the strongest one” thing; that’s more a problem with lots of other manga. Naruto had a whole bunch of different problems. Naruto introduced or hinted at most of its major villains early on.

            Actually, with one major exception, Naruto stopped introducing or hinting at new bad guys quite early on.

            But….well, this has been what the last arc was like (SPOILERS….if anybody cares):

            – Tobi: I, Tobi, am Madara Uchiha, and I have been behind everything all along!
            – Madara: Fool! I am the REAL Madara, back from the dead, and I was controlling YOU all along!
            – Tobi / Obito: Fine. I, Tobi, am really Obito (WHAT A TWIST!) but you underestimated me; I was playing the fool, and I really WAS in control all along!
            – Madara: Aha!, but you see, I KNEW that were playing me all along, and I was prepared! I am STILL the ultimate villain behind all of this!
            – Zetsu: Foolish fools! I, ZETSU, am the REAL mastermind behind everything! Every war and catastrophe in history is all of my doing!
            – Kaguya: And I, Zetsu’s mother, that person you only heard of ten chapters ago, I am the TRUE, FINAL, ULTIMATE VILLAIN OF THEM ALL!
            – Sasuke: Okay, they’re all beaten. Now….I AM THE FINAL VILLAIN!
            – Orchimaru: I’m still around. Somewhere. Doing stuff.

            EDIT: Also, Kabuto. He’s in their somewhere.

          • Sofie Liv

            I sincerely doubt highly that Naruto has ANY idea where it’s going or even want to go.
            And that’s the huge problem, no planning, just stretching out.. stretching, and stretching and streeeetching.

            One Piece has definit planning, every thing makes sense in context, any plot twist or reveals having been sat up well before they happen so it all makes perfect sense when it happen, PLANNING!

            And yeah, that is mainly a Dragon Ball issue I mentioned, but it’s still the same problem of having NO idea where the author even wants to take this, but just keep stretching it out far longer than the exsperitions date because well.. Income!

          • Jonathan Campbell

            I’d say its the opposite.

            Naruto definitely had a plan- a lot of things were hinted at way before they showed up in the story; the current, final battle between Naruto and Sasuke, was something Kishimoto mentioned in an interview many years ago. The problem was it was planned poorly, and if anything they stuck too rigidly to that plot, because a lot of stuff was just padding to get us from A to B.

            Its more like, he created this excellent world and these great characters, but was more concerned with sticking to his- limited and somewhat narrow- main story than he was in developing any of them. The biggest problem is how he handled the characters and more or less screwed over his magic system and worldbuilding, both of which were actually quite excellent (though, I gather that he was under pressure from his editor when it came to certain things). Huge chunks of the story are just training arcs, many popular characters are forgotten, and Akatsuki pretty much existed just so that there would be people to fight.

            One Piece…Oda plans, but he plans so that he doesn’t HAVE to plan. He’s been up-front about this- yes, he’s got how the story ends a few other details made up already, but he LOVES writing the manga and hopes it goes on for many years more, so a lot of arcs are relatively self-contained and probably written as he goes along. The difference is that he sticks to certain rules so that he can write what he wants without compromising the main story or anything he was planning to do.

            If any manga is stretching things out, its One Piece- lets be honest about that. Its just, Oda is much BETTER at stretching out his story, because most of the stuff he’s writing is supposed to be FUN.

            DBZ – Toriyama knew exactly where he wanted to go with that. The problem was simply that his manga was so popular than he kept been forced to carry on. But the actual plots were fairly simple anyway.

          • Sofie Liv

            Actually if you really read One Piece you’ll get astounded over the amount of detail in the manga.

            Stretching out? Hardly, why?
            Because nothing ever happens without it having meaning or consequences to other things that either has been or will come.
            Nothing at all in this entire manga is inconsequintal, it all connects! It connects so well it shouldn’t be allowed in such a manga.

            Yeah many of the archs could be self contained but they also fit neatly together in the greater puzzle, and nothing that is brought up is without value or meaning it WILL be used later for something else.

            And of course them going from A to B is just such a fun ride that you don’t even notice that that is actually what they are doing.

            It is obvious that Oda has known all along exactly how this is going to end, and he vaguely knows where it goes from arch to arch. Nothing is just a coincidence.

            Yeah Naruto hinted a long time ago that Sauske and Naruto would end up becoming enemies and ultimately kill each other in a final battle.
            But the manga clearly had no idea HOW it was going to go about it WHY they would do this.

            Honestly, when I heard Itachis final motivation it didn’t seem like a well planned hinted at reveal, it seemed like a spurt in the moment idea the author had to.. urhm.. CHARACTER DEPTH! Out of the blue.. which.. really… doesn’t connect a lot of things.
            Except making Sauske pissed, there wasn’t to much use for it.

            Yeah Naruto questions the village leadership for a few chapters but the manga never goes with that line of thought, it just stops.

            I sincerely believe Dragon Ball was supposed to end with the panty wish before the time skip.
            Everything else up to that point was a fun well written ride, then the things started getting… Odd.

            It was still a funny enjoyable manga in many ways, but the plot from there on off was very odd and just got stranger as things got along.

            But by god was it all worth it for “Dragon Ball Abridged.” dammit I love that web show XD

            … “Muffin button?”

            And sigh, yeah.. Maybe I am being an etlistist when it comes to “One Piece.”
            It is my favourite manga of all time, i’ve read through all of it several times.
            I read Naruto first! I’ve read it YEARS before I got into One Piece.
            But yeah, in my personal taste.. One Piece rules all, and Usopp is best strawhat.

            I can’t help myself X)

          • Jonathan Campbell

            I DO read One Piece, and I know how much detail there is.

            But that doesn’t matter.

            How good or detailed a story is actually has very little to do with how much the author planned or whether they did or not. Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire is a good example of a story with a LOT of detail, VERY intricate and complicated plotting…and an author who admitted several times that he makes a lot of it up as he goes along.

            Actually, GRR Martin is a good example because he talked about this, saying there were two types of writers- Gardners (who make it up as they go along) and Architechts (who plan out everything). Most writers are in the middle, but lean one way or the other. Martin knows exactly how his story is going to end and maybe a few other details, but other than that he makes things up.

            You can’t tell whether a story was planned or not just because something that was used years ago returns out of the blue and fits in perfectly with the story, because you’d be surprised how much of the time that was really the author going “Hmm….I need a pirate in this scene…Hey! I made a pirate years ago! I’ll use him, and everyone will think I planned it all along! Mwu-ha-ha-ha-ha!”

            Actually, a lot of writers would probably find sitting down and intricately planning out the story before they write it to be very, very boring….because it becomes easier to lose interest or be dissatisfied with the project. Very often, when a writer makes up a story, he / she wants to be as surprised and adventurous as their reader will be. NOT knowing is more fun.

            A lot of One Piece arcs don’t add all that much to the larger story- the Enel arc comes to mind. Yes, he might show up later on and yes, he might turn out to be a pivotal character….but no, that wouldn’t mean that Oda planned that all along. It would more likely mean that he kept Enel alive because he was smart enough to know that he might need him in the future. But that wasn’t the point- Oda wrote that arc because he wanted to, because he felt like it, and because he thought it would be enjoyable.

            The line between planning and not planning is kind of blurry, and a well-crafted story is not always the sign of a well-thought out plan. I’ve read interviews with different writers across different genres and mediums over the years, and there are always stories that seem planned out that turn out not to be.

            Having been on a Naruto forum, I know that many, many people were predicting that Itachi was a “good guy” long before the reveal, and having seen many, many arguments…I can see that, if nothing else, it could have went either way. But I was mainly thinking of things like Nagato’s eyes or Madara’s name or certain techniques been hinted at or name-dropped long before they appeared.

            Naruto’s plot is actually quite simple (you know, all things considered), which is why I don’t have trouble believing a lot of it was planned, and just executed poorly. The problem was that during a lot of these story arcs, NOTHING HAPPENED. Naruto, the main character, went several arcs either playing a supporting role in the story, or spending the whole time training- he didn’t even have a proper fight until half-way through Part 2. Yet, a lot of this was what the story was focused on. The only one who did stuff was Sasuke, but he went back and forth from “barely in the story” to “the story is about him”, and most of the supporting cast got very little development.

            But when your main character spends half the story training and the other half not doing much…you don’t have to plan too much. The problem wasn’t that Naruto wasn’t planned; its that the planning and execution sucked.

          • Sofie Liv

            You know.. I am not going to convince you, you are not going to convince me.

            And the ridicoulesness of this situation is we both like One Piece and has a certain fondness for Naruto.

            Naruto will always be a part of my childhood and I DO have a fondness of it up until the time skip so.. Truce?

            And lets just agree manga is an awesome medium with lots of good stuff in there to find.

            In the case of Enel though, I am pretty damn sure it was setting up to something important.
            Especially that front page comic he was a part of where he ran around on the surface of the moon and met Vegapunks little army of small robots.
            That can NOT have been a pure coincidence and something to be forgotten, it has to be brought up later and have a meaning.

            Just the thought… Enel is currently residing on the moon.. On the moon. With all the small moon people.
            It’s just to out there to not mean anything.

          • Jonathan Campbell

            Remember that Womens Panel video?

            This is the second time we’ve had to call a truce.

            Over something we both mostly agree on.

            Alright; a truce.

            ….

            For now.

            For now.

            EDIT: Even if he is planning something with Enel, even if he has a rough idea, that doesn’t mean everything about it is planned out. It also doesn’t mean that most of the other stuff in that arc had anything to do with the main plot either.

            Most writers plan AND make stuff up as they go along, and sometimes they set something up without knowing for sure what they are going to do with it later.

            Planning alone isn’t an indication of quality, and making stuff up isn’t an indication of failure.

            Enel on the moon could be something, it could be nothing. Its entirely up to Oda- he probably wouldn’t like to think that he HAS to follow a highly-detailed plan with his story, even if he is the one who made it up.

          • Sofie Liv

            I just rather have a nice chat than dragging out conversation to spoil both our days and enjoyment of something WE BOTH LIKE!

            Some-times… you just need to pick your arguments and look at it and go.
            “Do I mind this guy likes Naruto more than One Piece though it’s the other way around for me?”

            No… No I don’t, in fact I think it’s awesome that you like Naruto that much still, I wish I could, all the more power to you sir.

            I am a writer myself so I kind of know that.

            Still such basics things as structure is still important to me and if an idea goes against the structure it will have to be cut.

            But sometimes, In a fantasy novel I wrote I at one point introduced an old man as a character, the biggest purpose he had was to be killed off later.
            How-ever when the time came to kill him off, it just happened that it made so much more sense to kill off the thirteen year old girl whom I personally adored as a character.
            It was her whom was supposed to die, and I could do nothing about it, because anything else felt wrong.

            The plot of the book still largely stayed the same, i know all along how it was going to end and I knew how specific key scenes were going to happen and what they meant, I knew every bodies motivations as I introduced it, so any reveals already made sense in context.
            A lot of the filling was thing I came up with as a wrote though, and often I had to go back to re-write previous chapters to make them fit better with future chapters, that’s just how writing process works, it’s a series of hours figuring stuff out and rewrite and rewrite until it is right.

            I of course don’t know, but I keep imagining Odas mind working kind of like mine where he just knows how certain key events are going to go, and knew years in advance.

            As well as knowing every single character so well and what this characters motivation, what their ideals and morals are, their personality.

            That at least is what I find important in my own writing.

            Also the Moon.. The freaking moon has been put into play in One Piece.

            At some point, the strawhats will travel to the moon!

            Even for One piece that’s just.. Pffff. It’s ridicoules, in the funny great sort of way X)

          • Jonathan Campbell

            I think you misunderstood.

            I never said I think Naruto is better than One Piece; I know it isn’t.

            I probably like Naruto more than you do since I’m determined to see it through to the end, but yeah I agree it jumped the shark long ago. One Piece is definitely better.

            What I was talking about was, you can’t tell quite so easily whether a story has been planned or not by how good it all is, or even how well it all comes together.
            I’ve ALSO wrote stuff, and I’ve researched different authors and their approach to writing, and people write differently. Other writers might be less ruthless than you were (or, more), or have a different story to tell.

            In the case of Naruto its really a question of priorities; Kishimoto made a lot of great characters and was working with a lot of great concepts, but that wasn’t the story he chose to write. He chose to take it in a much simpler and dumber, and dare I say more DBZ direction, where it would be all about training and big power attacks and so on. Its not that he didn’t plan it, its that he planned a totally different and much less interesting story than what he could have given the material he had to work with.

            And for One Piece, the priority for Oda is to have fun and keep the story going because he’s enjoying himself too much. Yes, he knows how the story is going to end and he has ideas for the future, but that doesn’t mean Kishimoto didn’t either, or a bunch of other writers who lost control of their story. Usually a bit of both that happens- some planning, some making it up.

            I’m not trying to spoil either of them for me OR for you; I just disagree on why One Piece works and Naruto doesn’t. Both of those manga have a huge, huge number of characters- especially One Piece- and most of them will be ultimately superfluous to the main plot when its all said and done. But One Piece isn’t about the main plot for Oda- he’s enjoying writing his manga, and so he’s taking it slow, and that gives him time to bring back characters and ideas he left on the burner years ago. For Kishimoto, the approach was to stop caring about most of his cast and focus on (what he regarded as) the essentials of Naruto and Sasuke, and their POWER LEVELZ! Because that’s the story he wanted to write.

            Maybe the Straw Hats WILL go to the moon- but if they don’t, will that ruin the story for either of us?

          • Sofie Liv

            Pfff, this is the most ridicoules argument between two people ever.

            We agree! We agree 99 percent. dude this is so pointless, it’s ridicoules and we are both to fault, HAHA!
            Also neither of us are telepaths with access to Odas mind (as far as I know, are you hiding something?) So there is absolutely NO WAY to settle who’s right. It’s all a matter of perception.

            And we are probably also speaking past each other again actually saying the same thing but in different ways.
            I mean of course Oda has not planned out every single little detail writing doesn’t work that way.
            I am just convinced that he has worked out all the most important key moments, the vague lay out of the overall plot, and know damn well what the purpose is for each and every main character he introduces. He knows where each and every straw hat will end up, he knows this!
            And he vaguely knows how… not preciesly, but vaguely.

            No it will not ruin the manga at all if they don’t go to the moon, it’s still my favourite manga, I love it to pieces and I nearly flipped when Usopp unlocked that haki thingy two weeks ago, no manga can get me continously as hyped as One Piece, or make me laugh as much… to big reveal with five star god Usopp… first time ever I just had to stop reading because I was laughing so hard.

            It became even more funny because on the first page where the stars for each character was revealed I DID in fact go over it several times asking. “wait a minute, isn’t Usopp supposed to be here?” and was confused he was not there.
            Then, SPLASH PAGE! Oh my god.. I can’t, I just can’t. HAH! XD

            I will say though, I really wanna see the strawhats go to the moon now! I will be just slightly dissapointed if it doesn’t happen!

          • Jonathan Campbell

            Okay then.

            And I’M convinced that Kishimoto planned out more than you give him credit…and that the problem was his planning and direction sucked.

            But its good to hear you gush about One Piece; brought a smile to my face.

            Anyway, Doctor Who is nearly on, so….see you next hilariously-awkward-argument-about-nothing.

          • Sofie Liv

            Maybe he did, and well poor planning or no planning in these kind of things… it’s hard to tell apart!

            Naruto just sank ship, we all know that.
            The start of the manga was charming and heartfelt, dammit I cried at Gaaras backstory, don’t judge me!
            And Rock Lee whom fought so hard in spite of his handicap of never being able to do genjutsu getting that leg damage, that was sad!

            Seeing him and Gaara working together by the end them developing this kind of odd friendship and apprecation of each other, so sweet and so satiesfying!

            Aw man, Doctor Whooooooo!

            And I can’t even see it at primetime like you stupid actual british people, I have to wait until I can stream it tomorrow :,(

          • Jonathan Campbell

            I cried, I WEEPED, when we heard the details of Gaara’s childhood. And the second time we heard Sasuke’s, at the Valley of the End.

            MANLY TEARS!

            “And I can’t even see it at primetime like you stupid actual british people, I have to wait until I can stream it tomorrow :,(”

            (evil grin)

            Oh really?

            Oh, but its SOOOO much fun, this episode.

            That’s TOO BAD you live in little-old-Denmark, isn’t it?

          • Sofie Liv

            Rock Lee my baby! I’m so glad you got better! You deserve the best my man, you deserve the best! You’re adorable, if I were Sakura I would totally go for you instead of Sauske… even if you are kind of weird.

            You know what one piece will forever be to me?
            Just.. this will always be the thing.

            One piece will forever, be the manga… that made me cry.. Over the death of a ship… A SHIP!
            I cried, BECAUSE THE SHIP DIED! And it’s a ship!

            MEEEERRRYYYYYYYYYYY! Bwahahahaha D,:

            One Piece is THE manga for manly men crying manly tears, and not just in that quiet sexy kind of way.
            no no, Bawling snort and tears while screaming and crying.

            Just notice how every single main had such a cry fitt at least one.
            No matter how cool and manly he is, even Zoro! The manliest, must stoic and badass of men, had a crying fit like that, big wide open mouth, snot, tears and everything.

            That’s a manly cry dammit! ….. I don’t even know how Brook does it, he doesn’t have tear ducks nor the thing that makes snot.. He doesn’t even have a nose! What the hell!

            NOOO! Doctor who! Bwahahaha! *Crying manly One Piece tears!*

          • Jonathan Campbell

            I cried when that Dalek died in the 9th Doctor’s run.

            In front of my family.

            I’m not ashamed. It was REALLY sad.

            Anyway, episodes finished.

            Was alright.

          • Sofie Liv

            That was sad, it really was, a very effective episode.

            Oh gosh doctor who, yet another franchise that both had me laugh like a mad clown and cry like a little baby.

            It becomes really impressive when it manages to make me do both in the same episode!

            I’m okay with alright, as long as it wasn’t bad ^^

          • Jonathan Campbell

            In fairness I had this Danish girl distracting me while I was watching it, so I might have missed a few seconds here and there.

            I liked it, but the twists at the end were slightly lame (except one, which was just predictable). Not BAD, just a bit lame. It was mostly fun, I think- but it was an episode that ran on tension, and there was more at the beginning than the end.

          • danbreunig

            I’m enjoying these chats too, even when they involve others’ conversations and reading as an outsider. Really, I’ve learned so much about these games and shows just from these threads and reviews alone that I wouldn’t find out about them elsewhere. So thanks for the nerd education, and the writing tips because I’m going through the same long process myself and…
            [spits out coffee] You published a book already!?

          • Sofie Liv

            Published no, wrote one yes, released it for free on the enternet yes, I got mostly very positive feedback on it 😉

          • danbreunig

            So the inevitable four-part question:
            What’s the title, what’s it about, where can I read it, and Danish or English?

            Plus a few forums ago I remember you listed yourself as a published author among other achievements, so naturally I thought a paper-bound hold-in-the-hand book.

          • Sofie Liv

            Translated it’s called. “Second chances.” it’s in Danish, sorry.

            I’m published on this very site as an article writer, and i’ve written a few manuscripts for theatre sketches and short films actually made.

            Also I wrote just one single short story called. “Bunny Hopskins.” that was published by a magazin.

            So yeah, not much, but it counts!

          • danbreunig

            Hey, that’s nothing to sneeze at, me dear. Where I come from that’s already professional enough to fill three people. Still there’s something special seeing your name cemented forever to a piece of your own creative writing for all to see, and hopefully favorably. In the Internet age what’s publishable and what’s not can be sometimes blurry, but just knowing you make something substantial and it’s out there for the world…so fulfilling.

            This comment is c/2014 Dan Breunig. 😉

          • Jonathan Campbell

            KINGDOM HEARTS! I KNEW I’d played another RPG.
            (well, KH 2; and I still didn’t finish it, but still…)

          • Sofie Liv

            I actually owned a PS2, so I had the time to plays those probably!
            That’s also how I managed to play dragon quest eight as a kid, on my PS2, which I owned.

            Then I traded it away for a keyboard because I wanted to learn how to play the piano.. which I did. So good on me.
            Also it was to my littlesister she has the PS2 now, so it’s not like it’s lost or anything, I can borrow that one whenever I want, that one is not in as high a demand as the PS3.

          • Jonathan Campbell

            I had all three Playstations (and before that, a Nintendo). But I didn’t play my PS3 as much.

            My little brother was annoyed when it turned out that the PS3 didn’t play the PS2 games like Sony promised it would, and we had to get rid of most of our PS2 games.

            I asked for a keyboard a couple of Christmas’ ago because I also wanted to learn to play….but I didn’t. So, BAD on me.

          • Muthsarah

            “Final Fantasy.. I.. erhm.. arh.. the games I have played, I often end up a bit to quick having no idea what is going on. ”

            Which ones have you played? Some are, of course, more to be played than others. If the plots are losing you….you’re probably playing one of the later ones. The good ones have ridiculously simple plots, and fast-paced gameplay that lets you zip from simple plot development to another You can just breeze through them. There isn’t even much grinding needed. The games were almost ergonomic that way.

          • Sofie Liv

            You need to move to the PS2 era before I caught on, that was the one and only consol I ever had that could play Final Fantasy games.

          • Muthsarah

            The 16-bit Final Fantasies were re-released for the PS1. They’re a little slower than the SNES versions, unfortunately. I don’t know if the PS3 can play PS1, but the PS2 can.

            But there’s always emulation. Get ZSNES and FFVI or FFIV (the former is more impressive – and very steampunk – but the latter is as classic as old RPGS get). You’ve played Chrono Trigger, haven’t you? Was it you who said that recently, or am I thinking of someone else?

          • Sofie Liv

            Yes i’ve played Chrono Trigger, I loved it 🙂

          • Muthsarah

            Well, then what’s keepin’ ya from the Golden Age Final Fantasies? They’re really quick plays, if you get ’em on either emulation (easy as pie) or on an old SNES (probably expensive).

            I grew up on those games, playin’ them from the first grade. Along with Super Mario World, they were among my earliest gaming memories. They’re simple to pick up, and fun as hell. And they still look great, in a traditional-animation-is-nicer-than-CGI kinda way.

  • Mezzin’ video there! I truly believe that this will be a game looked back on in a couple of years as a classic RPG in the spirit of Chrono Trigger and Earthbound. They may not be looked on as classics now (at least by the majority of gamers out there), but they will.

    What amazed me is that even at Alcon, an anime AND gaming convention, there was only ONE Ni No Kuni cosplayer there as Oliver. ONLY ONE! How have more otaku/gamers not picked up on this? Maybe because it’s for the PS3. I guarantee if Curse of the Dark Djinn was released in the West on the DS, or even Wrath of the White Witch, they’d be all over it like white on rice! Still though, it’ll gain the cult status and recognition it deserves eventually. I’m certain of it!

    Oh also, great job from Welshy there on Drippy. The Drippy doll I bought you. You’re welcome once again. Nice to know he can be there to be insensitive yet hilarious for when you’re feeling down. Make them tears tidy he will!

    Lovely version of Kokoro no Kakera too. Really made for a good capper! 🙂

    • Sofie Liv

      In any case, I got a copy of the game now and I love it to bits.
      So I know for a fact I am going to play it multiple times in my life.
      It’s rare I feel like these long games has that much of a replay value, but I feel like this is genuinly a game that will follow me for the rest of my life, that I am going to sit there as an eighty year old granma going. “Now kids, let me show you a great game! Who wants to sit on me lap as we start?”

      It deserves a cult status, it truly does, and yeah.. Not as popular as most other big titles.
      But I guess that’s what comes from being the first game, so it’s not a franchise yet, compeating against such titles as “Final fantasy.” or “Zelda.” that has had decades to pick up a large audience following.
      This though is a must play game for fans of RPG and studio ghibli for sure.

      I don’t get why they didn’t translate the DS version, that just seems so stupid to me.
      The main reasoning I have heard is that. “The Wizards companion can’t be translated to english.”
      … You’re joking right? You DID in fact translate it for this bloody game! you all ready translated all the freaking game, you just need to slap that on the DS version, jeesh, Nintendo get off your ass’s allready!

      Mr. Drippy takes good care of me, and thanks, a little nervous about putting my own singing into my videos but well… that song, it’s so pretty.. even though it’s like three tones to high for my comfort zone in singing <_<

      • It was originally a real book that came with the game you thumbed through and drew the symbols with the wand stylus they included. The extra memory space of the Blu-Ray disk helped make it less costly. Printing a decent sized tome of spells for a rather niche game wouldn’t seem worth it to most corporate executives. The US special edition had the book as a pack in, though .

        • Sofie Liv

          But it seems like the coolest game accesory ever!

          It’s just Nintendo’s english contribution devision that’s being a pain and don’t want to be put any extra afford into anything.

          This is not something new, if a game isn’t to sure to earn in the cash but only moderately so, they wont release it.

          Sigh.. Same reason why “Miles Edgeworth investiagions 2.” and several of the Dragon Quest remakes never got an translation.

          Nintendo didn’t feel like it would make enough money for them.
          Note. “Enought.” they would undoubtly earn in enough to cover the translation, but nooo, that’s not enough. Sigh.

          • The decision would have been on Level-5’s part. They opened a branch in LA back 2011 after Layton and White Knight Chronicles got so popular, its how we got Mystery Room.

          • Sofie Liv

            I just want more level-5 games being translated!

            It’s only like one third of their games that has been translated, and as those games are all consistently extremely good and just to my taste. That really sucks!

            Yes I am being a greedy bastard you bet I am.
            I think the gamer culture is better for it due to level-5’s existence and we should support more of the western releases!

  • Muthsarah

    This is the first console game since………………….Scott Pilgrim that actually makes me wish I had a console. But a PS3? $300 bucks for a box designed to play Madden, FIFA, and Gears of War and stuff? Is there anything else it’s good for? I know nothing of this strange world. The only console I own is a hand-me-down PS2 that’s been my DVD player since college. And no games.

    Beautiful-looking game, this. Beautiful singing, too. Does feel like it was made for you. And I’d love to see that Steampunk city too. Ghibli’s always been good at including bits of the subculture, but never enough. I wanna see them go full-on Verne.

    Oh, and never fear. I respect your decision to become a female game reviewer, and I’ll work on being more belligerent and misogynistic with my comments towards you in the future. Just wasn’t prepared today.

    • Sofie Liv

      Actually the game options for the PS3 and PS4 are far broader and far more versitale then for the WII-U, as Nintendo has a serious problem not wanting to work with other publishers and developers, thusly we just have a handfull of Nintendo exclusive titles and nothing else.

      The Sony how-ever knows how to work with game companies so all titles that is not Nintendo exclusive is available to that one.

      And the spectrum of games are of course far wider than just the main stream which is usually the most up.

      “Ni No Kuni.” is of course my favourite game for the consol but there are others.
      I of course adored “Journey.” i brought that game up a lot of times now and just how mind boggled I was by that game.

      “Okami” is a very beautiful mood filled game where you play in a styalised ancient japaneese world as a wolf god whom has to safe the world, that game actually reminds me a lot of the Zelda franchise, both in colours and themes but is more styalised then Zelda.

      There are the games people keep talking about and praising I havn’t even gotten to like “Bio-shock infinite.” which should be incredible good, and the Assasins creed serious of course.

      Plus all the indie games you can get on instant demand by coupling the consol to the enternet, almost like you are on netflix but for games!

      It is a exspensive investment though, I admit it, and I admit I don’t even own a PS3 consol myself, I litterately borrowed my sisters consol home to myself to play this game.
      All though this game was such a grand exsperience to me that it made me curious about what ever else they have come up with to the consol now, I probably wont invest right now, since i’m poor and stuff… but it’s definetely not out of the realm of possibility that I am going to invest, now that people are selling out anyway due to their purchase of the newer PS4 model.

      And yeah, as much as I love Zelda and would really like to play “Skyward Sword.” and the next Zelda game, plus I have a fondness for Mario as well, my first consol was a N64, so nostalgia factor!. I would without a doubt choose the PS3 in favour of the WII-U, simply because of more game options.

      Haha, glad you like the singing, to tell the truth the song is just a couple of notes to high for my comfort zone, I can sound better when the song is not that high, lol.
      But I couldn’t stop myself because well, heard the song in the game and just thought it was so beautiful.

  • danbreunig

    As a non-gamer (not anti-gamer, just…non-gamer), I just wanted to give a thank you for all the background to these properties because I never would have learned about their cultural significance otherwise. This is the only time I can think of besides South Park’s Imaginationland where I saw it physically happen where someone’s childhood fantasy (all your favorite characters, properties, and dreamworlds coming together in one place and blending together so well) came true. It really is capturing lightning in a bottle.

    So now I finally see where Mr. Drippy came from. Yes, that’s how out of the gaming culture I am, even just learning character names only now. Thanks for the voice acting, Welshy. Lovely singing voice again.

    • Sofie Liv

      It’s all right you don’t play games, it takes up a lot of times.

      Though some smaller games always tend to be enjoyable I think.
      I grew up with a gameboy (POKEMON!) and a Nintendo 64 so i’ve always been kind of a casual gamer I guess.

      Then I had a break for a number of years where I didn’t play anything, and now I am going back on the that track, simply because I refound and interest. Nothing more to it really. I enjoy them.

      You don’t need to be a gamer to be an accepted nerd, it’s okay, just enjoy what you enjoy ^^

      Mr. Drippy is tidy! Hidy HOOOO!

      Also Welshy is a great pall and thanks 🙂

      • danbreunig

        They do take time, which is a main factor in why I’m not into that genre much. It’s also why I haven’t been so present in the forums for so long, because there’s not much time lately to get so vested in the conversations–i.e. too much real life happening. Thus I’ve been quiet, but not absent–I’ve always read the articles and watched the videos and for the most part I’ve agreed with what’s presented, so at most I may just simply watch and listen and agree with some upvoting where appropriate. Some of them, like Magdalen’s last article on social media and you and Jill’s panel of women and/in pop culture, I wish I could fold up and carry in my pocket with me.

        Sometimes you learn far more from just quietly taking it in, instead of just stepping in without much more of your own to add. The last article Magdalen posted I’m fully behind–and then her very point gets demonstrated by an endless argument that hurt those involved more than contributed to the real discussion–and it wasn’t just pathetic, it really got scary. While I’m here, I just want to add how sorry I am to hear what happened and I really hope those problems don’t happen anymore, although I’m well aware of their endless presence. It all just proved her original point about how poisonous online communities become with going in with preconceived notions and less than reliable news, and just simply some not giving others the benefit of the doubt. Very simple Golden Rule stuff we all need to practice. I guess I should’ve said this then and there, but that horse has been beaten to the point of decomposition.

        Anyway, I’m starting to stray. I’m just saying I’m still reading and watching what you have to say, even about properties unfamiliar to me but with a whole world and mass fanbase all their own. I’m still proud of being a nerd, especially among other nerds–I love this community–just that many of my favorite fandoms won’t ever be graced here. I really appreciate the perspectives and just learning about these things in the first place. I’m a fan of Moomin and Friendship is Magic today because a Danish doof brought them to my attention. So yeah, keep going with the game reviews.

        • Sofie Liv

          Oh you don’t have to worrie about me.
          The people I work with here on the booth are all taking very good care of me, support me and protect me.
          I am in very safe hands on this site, so it’s okay.

          Aww thank you.
          Well I am just happy you enjoy my stuff!

          That’s really what matters, forget the trolls, there are people like you just enjoying, and to think I could teach anybody anything. Still seems ridicoules to me, but it’s great! It’s really great 🙂

  • Moppet

    I like picking up especially long games and spacing them out over a long period. An hour here, one day, an hour another day. A 20-80 hour RPG can last me months, if not more than a year. It makes them quite good buys. I picked this one up on the art style alone, without knowing much about it. A studio Gibli movie in game form? Yes please.

    Falling in love with the visuals aside, the gameplay really surprised me, and the story, well, the story. I really liked it at first. It starts strong, and it goes well throughout the game but the further in I got the wonkier it seemed to get. And I really don’t know why. I still like the game, but I just never quite got why the story went in some of the directions it did. It felt like a patchwork, and, now, after watching this, I understand why. I had no idea it was actually content added into the PS3 version. I don’t think it lessened the game for me in any way, but I always wondered about some of its elements.

    Combat was well done enough, but I think I prefer either fully turn based or fully real time, rather a mix of a two. It’s a personal preference though, and, even considering it’s not to my taste, i felt the system itself decently enough done.

    Thank you for this one, always fun to watch someone else look at something I liked, from their own perspective and such. After seeing your two months of Miyazaki, I’d wondered if you’d ever do this, I hadn’t a clue that you didn’t know about it sooner. A lovely look at a lovely game.

    • Sofie Liv

      We are talking past “Shadars.” defeat right?

      A lot of people has described that entire “Mana.” and “White witch.” buisness as, it feels like the sequel for the game, within the game! and you were entirely correct all along, it IS in fact patchwork done to the story to add these new elements, you can fully trust your own instincts ^^

      It just feels compleately removed from the Shadar plot an entirely new chapter that either needs its own game or to just go away.

      It really felt like. “Wooh! I finished the final boss! the story has concluded! Shadar is down!” SURPRISE BITCHES! There’s more!
      … wha- what?

      I must admit when it happened, I didn’t mind to much, I was sucked into the game and was sad it was over, so that it went on made me kind of happy.
      Until a got a bit more into it and I for the first time started to grow tired of the game.. also I could just not beat the final form of that witch! The form with all those stupid drones flying around, URGH! it was a pain!
      At last I just walked back out and solved a bunch of sidequest until I could unlock Olivers hero mode and solved all of Horace’s riddles so I could get the final spell.
      I was probably overpowered when I returned, but dammit, I beat that witch! I BEAT HER!

      • Moppet

        Yep, that’s what I meant. And I didn’t mind it either, as I said, I quite enjoyed the game anyways. It just threw me through a loop, or gave me the , “Wha-what?” moment as you put it.

        It doesn’t matter how you beat the Witch. All that matters is that this game doesn’t start a nose lantern piercing fad.

        • Sofie Liv

          Yeah, it’s still a great game.
          And well, ones you accept that entire mana thing for what it is, an extra featured attached to the game for gamers whom decided to invest in spite of allready having played the DS game.
          It becomes even more enjoyable, a neat little bonus story to the main game, even unlocking Marcassin as a playable character if you really wanna use him.

          I must admit I didn’t, firstly his level was way lower than my three main characters whom had done some grinding.
          I needed Esther around as my healer. (Main rule of any RPG game, ALWAYS assign one of your main characters as the healer!) And Swaine was my favourite character, so no way I was letting go of him!

          Man, that’s something I would really like a sequel to go into and show me, what happens to Swaine and Marcassin after the game.

          Funny thing is, when I went around to different boards the consent seemed to be that Swaine would stay a pick pocket and continue travel around.
          And that’s not what I got out of it at all!
          I thought the game pretty much implied he was going to return to Hamelin and actually become emperor now.

          He as well seemed to go through a massive growth to me, in the beginning being genuinly selv serving and acting out of own self interest which was. “Go see Marcassin and make sure he is okay, then get the hell away from there!”
          This attitude probably coming from a ton of self doubt and his own inner depression, him genuinly believing he just isn’t good enough for anything else than being a pick pocket, being in the way for Marcassin, basically born with a handicap since he doesn’t have magic and tries to make up for it with gadgets.

          But then finds out his father in fact DOES believe in him, and that Marcassin also believes in him, they believe in him so much that they have no trouble asking him to protect the world for them.
          And for the first time Swaine sees above his own despair and continues with Oliver on his journey because that is how he can do as his father wanted him to do, protect the world.

          At last with the Clarion we are proven there are things Swaine and Marcassin can only do together, and only by being united can they actually fulfill their role as leaders of a nation, for the first time Swaine admits to his true person and fullfils his role.

          Marcassin never took the throne as emperor he is still a prince, why? because he waited for Swaine to come back and be prince of course.

          … sorry I am rambling, but I rarely get to talk about this game! There’s not a lot of people whom has played it, and I freaking LOVE Swaines story, I think he is the most interesting main character out of all of them.
          Also he is the gadget builder and the leader of a steam punk nation.. just.. oh man. Win!

          • Moppet

            It may be considered a ramble, but it was an interesting and informative ramble! It sounds like you want to talk about this game quite a bit. Separate from a review, did you consider doing a video, or article, about the other elements you wanted to talk about? Spoiler warnings applied to whichever? Or would either be too time consuming to be sensible?

            I like gadget builders and wonky bookworm magic users that mess up their spells, two of my favorite character types. In the old TMNT cartoon I always liked Donny, it was only the first live action movie that made me a Raph fan. Gadget tinkering is fun.

          • Sofie Liv

            I did in fact consider making a video that would be consider “spoiler.” material only.
            It might be obvious, but I tried to keep this video as spoiler free as possible since I just want people to exsperience this story for themselves and make up their own thoughts about it, because it’s so damn good!

            But I dunno, it would be a video just for a limited audience and take out time I could spend on other works.
            Each video I make is a choice since it takes such a long time making a video.

            Woonky bookworm magic users that mess up their spells.
            Loooool! Never thought about that being a charactertype but it toally is, I love it! It’s brilliant!

            I love the gadget builders so much, it’s actually been a very long time I had it as a potential “Top ten list.” on my computer.
            Top ten best Gadget builders, and yes.. Yes Donnie is totally a part of that list.
            Have you seen the new TMNT show? I freaking love his invention there’s because you totally buy he build these amazing things from trash as they look all woonky and falling apart and so on.

            Funny fact “Asami.” from Legend of Korra would also qualify for the list, she is the gadget builder, how sweet is that?

            Also “Q” from James bond.
            Dude, he makes all the things Bond uses! he build an invisble car! Q is the man!

          • Moppet

            I haven’t seen it yet.

            I actually want them to concentrate more on the gadget building side of Asami. I want to see her do more than use the shock glove, maybe upgrade it or start using more gadgets in general. Korra’s next season is one of those things I can’t miss, but I’ve not kept up with the newest TMNT cartoons at all. I’ve felt like I should for awhile but I always find more stuff I like, or old stuff I want to revisit.

            I’m still waiting for an RPG to let me play as that type of magic user. Have a quest to pry their nose out of a book they’re studying, leave the library and step out into the blinding sun! No it burns! Run back in. Make failed attempts to solve the quest with a spell remotely. Fail the quest. Go back to sticking nose in musty books and ignoring all further quests. Game over.

            Perhaps I know why there isn’t a game starring this character type now.

          • Sofie Liv

            Oh man you DEFINETELY want to check out the new TMNT show.
            It is surprisingly good, as in. I was surprised from the getgo at just how good it was, and then it keeps surprising me at how it keeps getting better.

            The season 2 finally that happened last week was a massive blast, I mean it’s ridicoules just how much awesome they managed to pack into 40 minutes that is a two parter. It was so good!

            Being very true to several incarnations of the turtle franchise, it’s very obvious the creators are HUGE fans of the 80’s show and pays constant tribute to it, but also improves it immensely.
            The show is funny, scary, touching, surprising. The characters are great, the stories are great, the art direction is great, the fighting scenes are great.
            Any bad things I have to say about the show would be mere nit picks in the grand scheme of things, it’s so good!

            Yeah, I would also like to see more of Asamis inventor side.
            I know she can do it, she was the one fixing that air ship stranded in the desert last season.
            I must admit I am more of a fan of the “Eccentric a little bit messy.” gadget type, the perfect woman gadget builder in my head would be some girl with a big messy hair in a horse tail, googles hanging on her forehead, an overall patched worn out look in clothes, looking like work clothes that goes into dirt, a tool belt filled with pouches and weird small gadget and things she can take out and use when needed.
            Yes it’s a character I for a long time have wanted to see some-where -_-;

            May I suggest you find some buddies to play some pen and paper with though?
            The amazing thing about Pen and Paper is you can just make up these characters and play what-ever type you want!
            I am currently playing a long running “Mutants and mastermind.” pen and paper game where we play like superheroes, and funny enough, me and the other girl playing are VERY happy about our own female superheroes we play as, whom we find to be very interesting unique characters. Who’d had thought huh?

            HAHAHAHA! How about a disc world RPG where you play like Rincewind!
            “I’m a mighty wizard I can do.. One spell! And I have no idea what it does.. and if I perform it, it could maybe mean the end of the world… erhm.. anyone wanna go out for a beer?”

            Rincewind is amazing, I love that character, haha X)

          • Moppet

            I can see that messy gadget type as being fun.

            I don’t really no anyone in this area that plays PnP, I just got here pretty much, but the nearest place I’ve found where I might meet other people interested is about an hour away. If I play PnP it’ll probably end up being because I found an online group. Not a bad thing really, I just don’t know the software I’ve seen recorded examples use (I caught a bit of a recording of an online game Linkara, I think, played with some other people from TGWTG – but that was awhile ago, so don’t quote me on that) and I dread having to figure it out.

            The game you’re playing sounds fun though.

            A disc world RPG? It could be fun, a lot of fun. I remember playing a discworld adventure game that I loved. That was just a gem to come across.

  • MichaelANovelli

    Wait, magic kid going around fighting evil to stop people from being sad?

    Serious Princess Tutu flashbacks…

  • I bought this game during Black Friday last year and popped it in for about an hour this spring and I now realize I will never be going back. So while I wrote several paragraphs for my first impressions, planning to give the game a full run down, that is not going to happen, so here are some of my initial thoughts of disappointment and boredom. Maybe my expectations were too high from it getting recommended so many time. I can sort of see the appeal, but not really.

    First Impressions:
    Playing the first hour of “Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch” (Why did they not translate the whole title?) on the PS3 and they really needed to bring in Neil Gaiman to do a punch up on the script. The number of “huh”, “wah”, “hmm”, and various other mouth-noise filler is embarrassing. There is also the stupidly long installation period, load times, and opening credit sequence (just do the installation while playing the opening credits).

    They also have a very poor habit of sliding between 4 levels of exposition, there is the gameplay interactions without voices, those with voices, those that are in game cinematics, and then there are fully animated cut scenes, and then there are the fully animated cut scenes which happen in areas that the viewpoint character is not in, or those that flashback to another cut scene that we watched 5
    minutes prior.

    There was 45 minutes before the first bit of combat which consisted of me hitting a puppy with a stick 3-5
    times… I like the art style and the character, Drippy, but this game has a lot of problems getting into gear.

    The main character, Oliver is shown as having helped build and then drove a car he and his friend made, this in part leads to the death of his mother who saved him when the car crashed into a river causing her heart to give out. While this skill ever be used again? I can’t find anything in the promotional art or screen shots that indicates that it will. Is this to establish character? If so, what does it establish? Oliver is practically dragged into the situation by his friend and does little aside from get rescued once the situation turns bad. I guess it is supposed to make him feel responsible for his mother’s death, but he is a 13 year old who drove a small car into a calm river at low speed, why did he even need rescuing? This whole opener makes him seem sheepish and ineffectual to the point of being a loser.

    There is a subtext that the fantasy world is Oliver’s attempt to escape from the harshness of the situation, especially considering that Drippy the Lord of Fairies is a toy his mother made for him yet claims to have been transformed into the doll by the villain… But that subtext is under cut when supernatural things are
    shown to exist before the tragedy that spurs the adventure… that is bad writing. The ambiguity of whether or not this is a dream or real is important to showing the character coming to grips with things. This is why I mentioned Neil Gaiman who does a lot of modern fantasy with going-down-the-rabbit-hole elements and has included scenes that make the reader question what is happening to the character (“Neverwhere” had that confrontation be one of the big climaxes of the book).

    • Sofie Liv

      I admit the first hour of gameplay has A LOT of exposition and story setup in it.

      How-ever ones you get past that, it eases up a lot.

      The point of the beginning for me clearly seems to be that Oliver is a perspector whom is just witnessing events but is not doing anything.
      In the beginning, he is powerless and inactive, it takes Mr. Drippy to even push him out of the door.
      How-ever as the game goes on, Oliver becomes more and more active, making his own decision and take action which makes him the inspiration for others, until the very end where it is him whom stands up and takes a very firm decision for himself and goes with it, asking others to follow him and is thusly ready for his final battle with the dark Djin.

      It’s a heroes journey about growth, very much so, and overcoming despair that renders people inactive and unable to make new decisions.

      I guess you could argue it might be about a boys mental escape to another world but… There is nothing at all in this game that hints that to me, that this is in fact not all very real, and thusly the subtext is not about escape but about growth!
      There is nothing in the story hinting it’s about escape, it’s not, it’s only about growth and overcoming sadness.

      Yeah that automobil will in fact be brought up again later in the game, not that Oliver will drive it, but the meaning it has to his friend and how guilty he feels over having nearly killed his best friend and then really killed his best friends mom.
      He feels so guilty that he never wants to build another automobil again, in spite of the fact that used to be his greatest dream, and this time as it’s rather late in the game and Oliver has grown a lot as a person by that point, Oliver becomes his support and picks him up so he can continue with his dream of building that thing.

  • George

    Where are in the last song segment? The scenerey behind you looks really lush.

    • Sofie Liv

      I’m on the balcon to my own appartment, it’s where I life, just two steps away from my bed.

      And yeah, my little room might be small and cheap, but that view! I can see the top of the entire city and the forest right next to where I life.
      If there is something my city got plenty off it’s clean fresh water and forest ^^

  • *sniff* That was… *sniff* That was… magical. *sob* *sob*

    Anyway, worth the wait. I would actually give this a try if I owned a PS3. And the song was magnificent. Any ideas on the next one? Hm…. I know! The Eternal Diva!

  • E-Bon

    Thanks for reminding me about this game through your (really well done) review. I may be continually strapped for cash, but this game is certainly on my list of games to get (along with a PS3 to play it on) once my budget allows.

    • Sofie Liv

      Thank you so much!

      Well, seems like people like us are being lucky when it comes to PS3’s, due to the new release of the PS4, the PS3 has lowered a lot in price and has become downright affordable if you just look the right places.

      Big problem just is any new titles will be to the PS4.
      They say they are working on a “Ni No Kuni 2.” and I for one would of course love to play it, just to see what on earth they would do with it.
      Continue in the same world? Make another world? have the same main character or another one (I hope they go with the option of a new main character since Olivers journey has such a nice book end.)
      If so what will that be like? Studio Ghibli are still behind the story and the stories that Level-5 writes for their games are in genneral also really good, so I am stocked. But it will probably only be relased for the PS4, and so will Kingdom hearts 3 probably, another game I am looking forward to.

      So hmm… choices choices… tough. Very tough.

      I’ll probably just end with a PS3 since there is no way in hell I can afford a PS4 anytime soon haha.

      Oh and if you ask about how I played the game, I borrowed my sisters PS3, though that also meant I had to finish the game rather quick in a matter of weeks when I could in fact have stretched it out for two months and avoid my long night plays of scenes. (worth it though, worth it.)
      Her boyfriend was just getting impation because he couldn’t play grand theft auto.. oh dear, hehe.

      • E-Bon

        I’m used to being behind when it comes to console games. Even if I have enough money beforehand, I like waiting until a system builds up a stable of games. That way when I finally get it I won’t have to go through some of the inevitable dry spells that tend to happen in the early months of owning it.

        I’ll probably end up with a Wii U before I get a PS3, but that’s mostly because I’m a huge Nintendo fan and it’d be selfish of me to take money that’s not 100% mine to get something that only I’m interested in.

  • Skylar Zenas Mullins

    I really wish I liked this game. in theory it should be everything I like in an jrpg, and it’s beautiful, but… that battle system. it has mechanics that emphasis speed and reflexes but it uses a menu interface that is meant for methodical slow careful thinking. already I can think of two games that did this better. kingdom hearts 1 & 2 had a menu but it also made use of the other buttons as shortcuts to certain key action and made every effort, especially in 2, to streamline the gameplay and make it more fast paced, for example if I want to counter someone in ni no kuni I need to get the courser back on the attack button but in kingdom hearts I simply need to press square. then there is dragon age which used a real time system that emphasizes methodical tactics but in that game at any time you could pull the trigger and bring up the commands and freeze the game which gave you time to plan and assign tasks to your party. lets not forget that ni no kuni doesn’t give you the team block command until a few boss battles after it would have been really useful. I’m not too fond of the pokemon system either. don’t get me wrong I have no problems with the pokemon games but in those games the pokemon are central to the story in this game they are just a way to fight without risking your own life. when I play a character focused game I want to see the characters in battle not there pets. one of the things I love from rpg’s, jrpg’s in particular, is seeing the characters I’ve come to know and love slowly become more in sync until they have become a true fellowship, one of the reasons I love the post fight skits from the tales series. this is negated somewhat by the fact that the team delegates most of it’s fighting to the pets. if the familiars were non-controllable but simply fought at your side I wouldn’t have a minded that.

    but if the story is good a person can overlook mechanical issues. yeah about the story. well it’s not bad, god no, I’ve played rpg’s with truly bad stories and this is not one of them. however… that whole business with repairing hearts by refilling them with whatever it’s missing is just detrimental to the story of the game. I mean you go around and find people who are apathetic or depressed and the games reason for this is that someone drained the happy from there hearts, and not because… say… their mother just died. it’s especially jarring if, like me, you’ve just come off of persona 4, a game based entirely around how complex peoples personalities and how terrible a thing it is to generalize and simplify people into categories. as well as the struggles of people coming to terms with their inner demons and pains. I also bring up persona because ni no kuni has you go into a surreal plane to fight a monster that represents the dark part of a persons heart only it’s no where near as well executed as the shadows were in persona 4. there are other issues, the whole two people one soul thing raises way too many unanswered questions in regard to free will. and then there’s the whole dead mom thing. I’ve seen fullmetal alchemist I know how this stuff goes. this game is not going to do anything a horrifying as that of coarse but my point is that the fact that she is dead tells you from the beginning that this story is about moving on because every story that starts this way is about moving on.

    I assure you I write this in complete calm with no anger malice or bile. if you like this, or love it, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. in fact the fact that someone would be so moved by a work of art that they would sing in joy fills my heart with warmth. I simply am a person who has a different opinion on the work and wished to share my reasoning. I would even recommend this to a younger audience, I compared this game to a few others but most of those aren’t the kind of games I’d let my kids play (if I had any)

    • Sofie Liv

      That’s because the Kingdom hearts fighting system has based itself around hack and slash while Ni No Kuni is trying to re-invent the turned based RPG fighting style which is a lot more grinding.

      Which one you prefer is very much a matter of taste, as much as I like just slashing through hordes of enemies, sometimes it gets tiresome to me and I wish for something that requires a little more of thinking.
      Which is what I get from RPG turn based games where you need to think in tactics to get through the battles, using the different main characters and build them up best possible to compliment each other and fullfill different roles you assign to them.

      My choice was following.
      Oliver – Powerhouse
      Esther – Healer
      Swaine – Defence

      And you can choose to switch that around if you want to, it all depends on which familiars you decide to give them and what you focus on, what roles you assign them in the main menu.
      Again a matter of taste.

      The story is a very classic fairytale, that’s what it’s supposed to be as classic a story as can be about the classical heroes journey, with a few new twists thrown in there. Appealing to both children and adults, it’s supposed to be a game eleven year olds can enjoy as well, yet I never find that that courses it to dumb down.
      I like the classic fairy tale, so much that I deeply miss seeing it not being all dark and ‘realistic’ and so on.
      Kind of like why I love Doctor who so much, yeah if you really want to question some of the unintentional subtext you can.
      But why do that when the overall story is so very good and so much fun, there’s always holes somewhere even in the best of stories, what matters is if the rest of the story justify those holes and in this case, it’s all structured so well and perfectly plus is such a fun ride that I think it does 🙂

      Also you talk about Kingdom hearts, don’t get me wrong I Love those games as well, played through both 1 and 2 multiple times but erhm… I wouldn’t call the story perfect by any stretch of the imagination in either game, especially in game 2 everything becomes very confusing very quick.
      Still a great game though ^^

      The truth is video game stories are rarely all that good, mostly they are just decent.. I think Ni No kuni has a fantastic story which goes up and beyond most game video scripts.
      A classical heroes tail and a fairy tale, with character growth, funny side stories, warmth and genuine emotions, just the way I like it.

      • Skylar Zenas Mullins

        agreed. kingdom hearts does unfortunately suffer from the square enix writing problem of confusing drama and intrigue with convolutedness and melodrama.
        at it’s core the story of ni no kuni is good. the plot may be a bit cliche at first especially but that’s not a bad thing, star wars’s story is vary cliche but how the story is told and the world around it is very imaginative as is the case with ni no kuni. but it’s the old death by a thousand cuts for me, all the little annoyances, kinda like how some people can not stand skyrim because of how much time you spend messing around in menu’s and the lack of direction or a three act structure to the story among st other things. to me those are all perks that make the game great but to others it whittles them down until they just can’t play it even if they wish they could.
        actually if they adapted ni no into a movie I would probably love it and watch it in a heart beat.

        • Sofie Liv

          Indeed, worst of all with Kingdom hearts, every single god damn time they release a new game promising that that game will explain things that happened in the main franchise…. It never explains a god damn thing it just makes things more confusing!

          I have no idea what “Dream drop distance.” was about, none at all, and all it did was making the already confusing established bits, even more confusing AARRGHHHH!

          Well, there are cliches being used as a cheap tool because a writer has no imagination and think the cliches makes the story.
          Or well handed cliches that fit into the plot and is presented with competence waving it all together making it all fit, Ni No Kuni is definetely the last one.
          And what becomes important here is that Olivers mothers death becomes important here, unlike things like. “Tim Burtons alice in Wonderland.” where it’s just a vague side note having very little bearing on the plot than.. a vague motivation that isn’t really needed.
          In this game, her death is the catalyst for Olivers journey, in the beginning everything he does is connected to that single selfish desire of getting her back.
          But as the journey goes on, suddenly the journey becomes much bigger than that single one wish, and Olivers world exspands and becomes so much more than his own private sorrow.
          He helps all these other people with their own sorrows as well, so they can now also see past it and reconnect with the world, reaching out to each other and work together against this common enemy, seeing past their own individual desires that beforehand controlled them.
          So everything here really connects in a perfect progression of the plot.

          And by the end, when it’s revealed that Olivers mom is in fact.. dead dead, never coming back, dead, ten feet’s under, she’s gone!
          He’s grown enough to do the thing he must, not for himself, but for the people around him still alive, ready to even put down his own life to do this. Which shows his entire journey from the boy that said. “no.” to go saving the world, until he got a reason that had to do with self interest, to the boy whom would gain nothing from walking the last mile, but did it without hesitation because he knew it was the right thing to do.
          And this growth happen so naturally you don’t even realise it before it’s over, that’s brilliant story writing right there.

          And well, as the main story might be old school, it is, that is also what leave room for all the new imaginative things.
          There’s a lot of things here in this game that are new to me, Fairy ground for instance, and the fairy mother.. I just.. it made me laugh so hard, I sure never seen anything like that anyway before.

          My favourite bit storywise though, was Swaines story, most definetely.
          That was really a story and character journey that made me think and wonder about his character, and I span all of this explanations inside of my head.

          Swaine fascinate me endlessly, I love his background story, I actually want to know even more about it, or learn to know what he is going to do after the game is finished.

          • Skylar Zenas Mullins

            though I wonder at the villains motivations. I get that the story is about moving on after loss but shadar didn’t just lose somebody, a tyrant butchered his entire home town and tortured him because he refused to kill a little girl and a whole village. that is not something you get over. I would think at that point he would seek justice be brought to the monster who just committed a crime against humanity of which shadar was a victim. I mean a guy who casually slaughters hundreds of innocent lives just because his subordinate defied his orders to kill hundreds more innocent lives is basically Hitler, which kinda makes you wonder why shadar is even the villain at all instead of this unnamed tyrant. why is shadar even going around randomly making people miserable by corrupting their hearts? I thought his goal was to stop all war? even if his motive was just revenge it would make no sense to randomly harm innocent people he has no grudge against especially considering his back story, people who get in his way maybe, but why would anyone get in his way when he is trying to fight what are essentially nazi’s? you’d think allot of people would want to help him I know I would. his back story sound more like he should have been a magneto-esque villain. someone who honestly believes he is the hero, is charismatic, and gained the favor of the people but whose methods have slowly turned more immoral until, like magneto, he unknowingly becomes the thing he hates just in a different way. a classic he who fights monsters should be careful not to become a monster type of villain. but maybe they were going for a “burn the world” type of villain, still seems odd he would take time out just to mess with random people but eh.
            actually his backstory seems very dark for a story aimed at youngsters. especially since the reason I was going to give the brokenhearted system a pass is because it’s a game aimed at kids. persona may do it much better but it’s also a mature game meant for a mature audience. ni no kuni isn’t so I was gonna cut it some slack since such complex topics need to be simplified somewhat… until I found out that the villains backstory sounds like it came from a metal gear solid game. but earthbound’s final boss was based on the game creator witnessing a rape scene in a movie at a young age and the final battle is you committing a cosmic abortion so I guess ni no kuni’s boss is very mild by comparison.

          • Sofie Liv

            Well, perhaps Shadar did kill this tyrant only it didn’t satisfy him like he thought it would and he continued with his revenge upon humanity.

            The thing about shadar is that like most other characters in the game, he is caught up in his own deep depression, which is so deep rooted that he is unable to see past his own pain.

            People have responded to such pain in the game in many different manners, which is surprisingly realistic.
            Oliver was just sitting around crying.
            Esthers soul mate ended up locked inside of her room scared to go outside.
            The Kalifa turned to food (perhaps it’s just me seeing the connection here?)
            Swaine ran away from anything connected to his past life.

            Shadar, was ones an idealistic young man, whom had all his own ideals, hopes and dreams turned against him by humanity.
            He was basically abused and used, seeing all the things he had worked for turning against him, and everything he had ever morally held dear proving to be falty, at least in that situation.

            It made him loose faith not only in himself, but in all of humanity as a hole.
            He constantly feels this pain of betrayal from all of humanity.

            No one stood up against that tyrant with him, none of his solider buddies, he was alone and they all turned away from him leaving him alone, blindly following orders given to them to whipe out defendless people.

            Then Shadar walked around aimlessly for years, even decades, having all of this pain, this betrayal this anger consume him, until he could feel nothing else than that single one emotion. Pain.
            And he became unable to look past this pain, and wanted to get revenge of all of humanity as one hole unit to get rid of this pain, loosing faith that anyone would ever be able to do good and humanity is doomed as a race because the most prominent feature among humans, at least in his eyes, is cruelty and greed.

            Which is why it’s important that Oliver was knowlingly laying down his life for it.
            Oliver faced shadar, knowing that no matter what he would die, if he succeeded in killing shadar he would also die.

            The ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate sign of selflessness, showing Shadar that there IS good among humans, and it’s not all lost.

            That Alicia happened to be the one Shadar saved is less important in regard to Shadars character but more important to Alicia.
            It shows that she actually had Shadars back all the time and truly believed there was good in him.
            She protected Oliver always fully believing that he was good and one day Shadar would be able to see him.

            And it’s a way for Oliver to see as well, that Shadar is not by nature evil, but like so many people he has encountered is merely a person in tremendous pain, whom bowed under to despair and let that despair consume him and take over.

            At least that’s how I see it.