Zero Punctuation: Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch

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Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch

This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch.

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Now I've always said "Gibli" instead of "Jibli". Am I saying it wrong?

I've been pretty much been playing only NNK the past week or so and I think I'm only 70% through the game. There's not a lot of grinding required as I thought to have believed going into the game, the art style is fantastic but there's a bit too much talking in some scenes and far too much hand-holding throughout the majority of the game. (You know what to do, right? The TAKE HEART SPELL!) Oh yeah, and Oliver's tolerable as a character but he's still just a little creep.

04whim:
Now I've always said "Gibli" instead of "Jibli". Am I saying it wrong?

Yes.

And how dare you not unconditionally love something I love?! This is a travesty, worst video ever. I hate you!

Oh dear... I have a sinking feeling this game is going to get shoved down my throat by my friends.

Mod Edit~ please put spoilers in spoiler tags, thanks!. DigitalSushi

Wait, what? The "tutorial" on this game is 17 hours, too? Like Final Fantasy XIII? But XIII gets hate for having a "20 hour tutorial", but this game gets love because it is "so long" (seriously, that is about all I've heard about the game, that it is really long). Why is one ok but the other isn't? Oh wait, that's right, other is Final Fantasy so it must get hate.

Or he could open a road-side motel next to an old Victorian style house.

Assassin Xaero:
Wait, what? The "tutorial" on this game is 17 hours, too? Like Final Fantasy XIII? But XIII gets hate for having a "20 hour tutorial", but this game gets love because it is "so long" (seriously, that is about all I've heard about the game, that it is really long). Why is one ok but the other isn't? Oh wait, that's right, other is Final Fantasy so it must get hate.

The tutorial isn't 17 hours, it's more like 6 hours with 70% of that being skip-able Gibli animated cut-scenes. The game just has a tendency to tell you obvious things that you already knew. Like what Zelda games do.

I really, really enjoyed NNK; but Yahtzee is on the mark that the mechanics get introduced way too slowly.
It takes far too long before you can even TAME the familiars in the game.

Even When you don't even have a complete menu (missing the alchemy option) at 15 hours into the game, you're introducing things too slowly. I would have loved if we had the ability to basically do everything about 5 hours into the game.

Also, the combat, while you do get used to it, never really... jived with me. I just wanted a full "Tales" style combat system. That would have made the game much better. The AI is, unfortunate, horrible as well. Switching between party members is a pain in the ass, and there are a lot of really small complaints I have with the combat UI (like you can't see party member's MP unless you switch to them, if an attack is interrupted you have to go back to the command you were issuing, etc.).

I also wish you had more agency over taming a creature. Just fighting them until one randomly decides it wants to be tamed is incredibly grindy, frustrating and boring.

Assassin Xaero:
Wait, what? The "tutorial" on this game is 17 hours, too? Like Final Fantasy XIII? But XIII gets hate for having a "20 hour tutorial", but this game gets love because it is "so long" (seriously, that is about all I've heard about the game, that it is really long). Why is one ok but the other isn't? Oh wait, that's right, other is Final Fantasy so it must get hate.

FFXIII gets justifiable hate for being a series of really pretty but ultimately restrictive corridors with one really big room or two to spice things up, the 20+ hour tutorial is annoying but not nearly as much as the former.

OuendanCyrus:
I've been pretty much been playing only NNK the past week or so and I think I'm only 70% through the game. There's not a lot of grinding required as I thought to have believed going into the game, the art style is fantastic but there's a bit too much talking in some scenes and far too much hand-holding throughout the majority of the game. (You know what to do, right? The TAKE HEART SPELL!) Oh yeah, and Oliver's tolerable as a character but he's still just a little creep.

Are we playing entirely different games? you need to grind like holy fuck for exp and for money(since even the basic potions cost several hundred bucks out the gate) the only creepy thing about oliver is how he is always so chipper and polite despite the situation at hand where any other rational person would be enraged.

On a separate note entirely, drippy can go fuck himself, little yellow bastard can spit up health and mana orbs at will but does he do so when I'm in the middle of a boss fight with no mana or health items left and a sliver of HP between me and a game over screen? NOPE!

I would totally play a game where the character ends up becoming Ed Gein. Perhaps it could be a multiple ending thing with the different film iterations.

Anyways, NNK never really interested me. I kept on hearing all the hype, but I never really understood why. Part of it is indeed my tastes coming into play, because I'm not a big fan of "cute" things, but also because it didn't look that much different from other JRPGs. Had I not known it was co-made with Studio Ghibli I would've thought it was just another JRPG in the vain of Dragon Quest or Blue Dragon. I sometimes wonder if Ghibli just has the Pixar effect going on, and because of their association alone people look past everything else in the game.

Assassin Xaero:
Wait, what? The "tutorial" on this game is 17 hours, too? Like Final Fantasy XIII? But XIII gets hate for having a "20 hour tutorial", but this game gets love because it is "so long" (seriously, that is about all I've heard about the game, that it is really long). Why is one ok but the other isn't? Oh wait, that's right, other is Final Fantasy so it must get hate.

No, no... multiply that by 2. FF13 had about 40 hours of tutorials, and as opposed to Ni no Kuni, its combat wasn't complicated at all. But I admit that waiting so long to give you 'All Defend' and 'All Attack' was a giant dick move for Ni no Kuni, turning the first 3 or 4 boss fights into nightmarish selfish bouts of 'fuck your companions, kill the boss solo'.

But that is really the only few issues with Ni no Kuni. Most can overlook the dodgy combat and Oliver having all the personality of, well... a 12-year-old who just watched his mother die, and soak in the story, the breathtaking art style, and just the general throwback to yesteryear JRPGs. The game can be significantly unloving at times, but it does suck you in and keep you playing regardless, and that's a sign that it got it right enough.

Assassin Xaero:
Wait, what? The "tutorial" on this game is 17 hours, too? Like Final Fantasy XIII? But XIII gets hate for having a "20 hour tutorial", but this game gets love because it is "so long" (seriously, that is about all I've heard about the game, that it is really long). Why is one ok but the other isn't? Oh wait, that's right, other is Final Fantasy so it must get hate.

I thought the main issue people had with Final Fantasy 13 was that it was extremely linear, to the point where you were forced into particular characters for most parts of the game.

Fans of JRPG are pretty immune to games that introduce elements of the system several hours into it, providing those systems to be: a) fairly interesting to play at our own pace, even when not completely broken up, and b) have enough content once it opens up to make the tutorial sections a minority. FF13 failed on (a) because even grinding was limited and opened up little by little, and (b) because, by the point the whole system opens up and we are free to use any character and class we want, we are on chapter 10, out of 13...

Oh I was waiting for this review. Either Yahtzee would find a JRPG he could tolerate because it has some charm, or he'd rip it to shreds. Either way, we're getting a show. Well, except Yahtzee is sort of mheh about it it seems. The charming parts he finds charming, the combat he hates. Oh well, can't blame him from saying so, since most revies I've seen agree.

And may I just say that Yathzee's opinion of Studio Ghibli films is the same as mine. Overly cute, but good, except for that godaweful trainwreck that was Tales from Earthsea. Walked in on a showing during a convention, recognized it as the patented Ghibli look and figured this would be good, and spending the next hour wondering when the plot would finally start, then it ended. What a mess.

AC10:
and there are a lot of really small complaints I have with the combat UI (like you can't see party member's MP unless you switch to them,

Yes you can. It's 0.
It's *always* 0

04whim:
Now I've always said "Gibli" instead of "Jibli". Am I saying it wrong?

Technically not. The word is Italian and it's the name of Miyazaki's favorite plane model. In Italian they pronounced Gibli, but Miyazaki read it wrong in the book because foreign spellings confuse people and he pronounced it Jibli. He later found out this mistake and he and his friends had a good laugh.

Anyway, what I find odd about this is that everybody's complaining about the combat. I never actually had a problem with it. It took some getting used to, I'll admit that, but once I got in the habit of watching the bosses for certain indicators that they were preparing for an attack (this is before they start charging it up), I found I could usually handle things easily. I don't think I died once after I reached the third town in the game, although a couple of the bosses toward the end brought me pretty damned close (although I was playing on easy mode, because all the reviews I'd read led me to expect an extreme difficulty even on that setting). I really got into the combat once I got used to it.

That said, I won't let the game slide without a few criticisms. Yahtzee hit the nail on the head about how much pointless dialogue there is in this game and how often you've figured out the solution before the dialogue comes up to tell you about it. And I did think "What the fuck do you need to tell me that for?" when a tutorial window came up telling me to use the analogue stick to walk. And it does introduce the all out attack and all out dodge mechanic later in the game than they should have.

Also, the translation is fucking awful. I listened to the Japanese language track because I always listen to a work in its original language if that's an option and I frequently caught moments when what was being said in Japanese was entirely different from what the subtitles were saying. Mostly, the English dialogue was massively dumbing the game down and adding little "after-school special" lines. This irritated the fuck out of me, but I don't detract that from the game, just use it as an excuse to go after the idiots who translated it.

But on the whole, while I liked it myself, it could have been a lot better. Though I did get into the combat, it could have been tightened up in a few areas, specifically the AI. And while I did enjoy the story and the characters, there's so much needless dialogue that the characters come off as much stupider than they should and stretch the story out longer than it needed. Also, some of the scenes that should have had strong emotional impact didn't get to me like I would have expected them to and I'm not entirely sure why. I'd probably have to watch them again more closely to tell, but I just finished it and I have too much I need doing right now to take time to immediately replay it.

If I had to put it down to numbers, I'd give it a 7/10. Maybe 8/10, if I feel generous enough to forgive the needless dialogue. That wouldn't seem so bad if it wasn't coming from a company I regularly give 9 to.

Ni No Kuni's story wasn't created by Ghibli at all

04whim:
Now I've always said "Gibli" instead of "Jibli". Am I saying it wrong?

I've always said Gibli as well. In fact, I'm going to keep saying it that way!

RJ Dalton:
Technically not. The word is Italian and it's the name of Miyazaki's favorite plane model. In Italian they pronounced Gibli, but Miyazaki read it wrong in the book because foreign spellings confuse people and he pronounced it Jibli. He later found out this mistake and he and his friends had a good laugh.

That's really interesting, thank you!

OT: Oh god... the hand holding is frustrating! I'm not very far into the game yet but I do have a brain that can recognise simple patterns. I think I've worked out how to use Take Heart/Give heart by now. I'm at the point where I'm furiously trying to jump ahead of the game and solve problems before it tells me how... sadly the game is designed in such a way that it automatically asumes everyone is a raging thicko and locks that particular action out until Drippy shows you whilst delighting in telling you how gloriously dumb you are. Argh!

Lol oh wow. This was a good one. I laughed so hard. I thought I was going to pass out from the lack of oxygen. This is the Yahtzee review style that had hooked me to come to this website many years ago. Sadly last few years his crazy comedy reviews have been missing or just poorly done. Glad to see the crazy jokes are coming back for this week.

Assassin Xaero:
Wait, what? The "tutorial" on this game is 17 hours, too? Like Final Fantasy XIII? But XIII gets hate for having a "20 hour tutorial", but this game gets love because it is "so long" (seriously, that is about all I've heard about the game, that it is really long). Why is one ok but the other isn't? Oh wait, that's right, other is Final Fantasy so it must get hate.

I've never played either of these games, but it depends on how the tutorial is done. To use an example with movies for example, some 2 hour movies feel really long, to the point where half an hour movie time feels like an hour of real time. Then there are others where I'll start watching it, 2 hours have past and I'll think its been about 10 minutes.

So its not exactly about how long it takes to introduce all the dynamics, it about how its done and how entertaining the game is in between.

Needless profanities, irrevocably cynical, utterly disgusting and disrespectful analogies, a sick sense of humour, and general ambiguity as to whether he even liked the game.

10/10, would watch again.

Not sure about the game though. I dislike captain obvious tutorials, and Japanese attempts at "cute" and "charming" creep me the hell out. (Not like non-Japanese versions don't, just less so).

I know a lot of people had a cow about the puns in the game, but they were purrfect.

Assassin Xaero:
Wait, what? The "tutorial" on this game is 17 hours, too? Like Final Fantasy XIII? But XIII gets hate for having a "20 hour tutorial", but this game gets love because it is "so long" (seriously, that is about all I've heard about the game, that it is really long). Why is one ok but the other isn't? Oh wait, that's right, other is Final Fantasy so it must get hate.

It's more along the lines that FFXIII is extremly linear so you have todo each tutorial right after another. While NNK lets you go around and explore/grind until you WANT to continue the story.

DoomBlackDragon:
Lol oh wow. This was a good one. I laughed so hard. I thought I was going to pass out from the lack of oxygen. This is the Yahtzee review style that had hooked me to come to this website many years ago. Sadly last few years his crazy comedy reviews have been missing or just poorly done. Glad to see the crazy jokes are coming back for this week.

He's really picked up the pace recently! I'd been getting the feeling that he was getting tired of doing Zero Punctuation. This is the second one in two weeks that I've wanted to go back and replay right away--after having to go back a few seconds time and again to be sure I caught what he was saying on the first play through.

Woo-hoo!!! Go Yahtzee!!!

hermes200:

Assassin Xaero:
Wait, what? The "tutorial" on this game is 17 hours, too? Like Final Fantasy XIII? But XIII gets hate for having a "20 hour tutorial", but this game gets love because it is "so long" (seriously, that is about all I've heard about the game, that it is really long). Why is one ok but the other isn't? Oh wait, that's right, other is Final Fantasy so it must get hate.

I thought the main issue people had with Final Fantasy 13 was that it was extremely linear, to the point where you were forced into particular characters for most parts of the game.

Fans of JRPG are pretty immune to games that introduce elements of the system several hours into it, providing those systems to be: a) fairly interesting to play at our own pace, even when not completely broken up, and b) have enough content once it opens up to make the tutorial sections a minority. FF13 failed on (a) because even grinding was limited and opened up little by little, and (b) because, by the point the whole system opens up and we are free to use any character and class we want, we are on chapter 10, out of 13...

Only the first 15-20 hours(depending on how fast you are) are linear, then the game opens up. You pretty much learn everything there is to do combat wise by the first Barthandelus encounter, which is halfway through the linear part.

Treaos Serrare:
Are we playing entirely different games? you need to grind like holy fuck for exp and for money(since even the basic potions cost several hundred bucks out the gate) the only creepy thing about oliver is how he is always so chipper and polite despite the situation at hand where any other rational person would be enraged.

On a separate note entirely, drippy can go fuck himself, little yellow bastard can spit up health and mana orbs at will but does he do so when I'm in the middle of a boss fight with no mana or health items left and a sliver of HP between me and a game over screen? NOPE!

You must be. And I must be playing the same game as he. I finished the main story 2 nights ago. It took just over 38 hours, and I NEVER had to grind to do so. I played on the normal difficulty, did some of the optional stuff along the way, but there was never a point in the game where I ran around fighting things to earn money or experience. Maybe the grinding that everyone seems to talk about starts with end game content. I have quite a few gripes with the game (teammate AI being a big one) but grinding was not an issue for me.

But yeah, I agree with you on the Drippy thing. I cussed him everytime time he used the healing tears crap AFTER 2 of my party members were already gone.

No one else is gonna mention he talked about the left stick but pointed at the right one?

Baldr:

hermes200:

Assassin Xaero:
Wait, what? The "tutorial" on this game is 17 hours, too? Like Final Fantasy XIII? But XIII gets hate for having a "20 hour tutorial", but this game gets love because it is "so long" (seriously, that is about all I've heard about the game, that it is really long). Why is one ok but the other isn't? Oh wait, that's right, other is Final Fantasy so it must get hate.

I thought the main issue people had with Final Fantasy 13 was that it was extremely linear, to the point where you were forced into particular characters for most parts of the game.

Fans of JRPG are pretty immune to games that introduce elements of the system several hours into it, providing those systems to be: a) fairly interesting to play at our own pace, even when not completely broken up, and b) have enough content once it opens up to make the tutorial sections a minority. FF13 failed on (a) because even grinding was limited and opened up little by little, and (b) because, by the point the whole system opens up and we are free to use any character and class we want, we are on chapter 10, out of 13...

Only the first 15-20 hours(depending on how fast you are) are linear, then the game opens up. You pretty much learn everything there is to do combat wise by the first Barthandelus encounter, which is halfway through the linear part.

Map of FF13 -------------------------------------O----|O The | indicated the end of the story. and the O indicated the Grand Pulse areas.

It opens up only to snap shut again as you head toward the end of the game. It doesn't even open up that much mechanically because each character has 3 classes they're good at and 3 they suck at and cost 10x as much to level.

Can FF13 fans please stop this "it opens up at hour 20" defense? Do you realize how stupid that sounds that you're defense of a game being too linear is "Give it almost a solid day's worth of playing time and it gets a little bit more open"? You could finish almost every other Final Fantasy game in the time it takes FF13 to actually let you start playing it.

I love you for the Psycho tie in.

It's pronounced "geeblee" with a hard G, not "jeeblee". Sigh.

I honestly think Yahtzee should play some eroge with gameplay (ie. anything translated by Alicesoft or Eushully) so we can get his reactions about something related and yet different to JRPGs....And also cause I think they do away with at least some of the problems that he has with JRPG.

That said, I feel this review got sidetracked a bit (which hurt the humor) but I still enjoyed it.

Vicioussama:
Ni No Kuni's story wasn't created by Ghibli at all

The game was developed by both of them I'm sure they had a hand in the story even if it wasn't the direct script, regardless, Yahtzee is just giving us his observations.

xdiesp:
It's pronounced "geeblee" with a hard G, not "jeeblee". Sigh.

Wikipedia and their official site say you're wrong.

Do developers really not know how popular older styles are? FF6,7,8, Chrono Trigger, and FF10 had some of the best RPG combat systems. The Gibli Art style would have lent it's self well to a more retro, FF6/Chrono Trigger style game. They had a nice blend of simplicity, and action. It seems like everything is now either MMORPG style combat or Zelda style action. I'm not a fan of Kiting at the best of times, and 9 times out of 10 it isn't about player skill at all, you're just taking advantage of bad AI, terrain exploits, glitches, or bad pathing.

Yahtzee really kinda nails this one. I finished it about a week ago and it was a fairly agonizing experience. I say this as a JRPG fan, this hybrid combat sucks. FF13 and NNK have both tried it and if it can be done right, neither managed it.
The UI is a mess, your partner AI is retarded, having specials attacks be rewards for exploiting the bosses weaknesses anyway is idiotic, the alchemy system is useless, the pokemon gathering is tedious, the game treats you like a moron by telling you everything 10x even after you know what to do, and the story is uninteresting.

I will say one thing and that's that I didn't need to grind. However, the only reason I didn't need to grind is cause it takes so long to catch the Not-Pokemon you want sometimes, you end up grinding unintentionally.

Ukomba:
Do developers really not know how popular older styles are? FF6,7,8, Chrono Trigger, and FF10 had some of the best RPG combat systems. The Gibli Art style would have lent it's self well to a more retro, FF6/Chrono Trigger style game. They had a nice blend of simplicity, and action. It seems like everything is now either MMORPG style combat or Zelda style action. I'm not a fan of Kiting at the best of times, and 9 times out of 10 it isn't about player skill at all, you're just taking advantage of bad AI, terrain exploits, glitches, or bad pathing.

As evidenced by many things produced in Japan, unfortunately it appears that their audiences favor style over substance (keep in mind I say this whilst being a very big anime buff, also Dark Souls is my favorite game).

In layman's terms, kids favor graphics so the gameplay doesn't get much work, and the publisher/developer feel the retro style is too risky.

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