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

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With games like this they always lose me at the "J" part of the "JRPG" description. Oh and BTW, I, too, was born fully mature wearing a smoking jacket. Small world, small world indeed.

Huzzah! Yahtzee has his mojo back!

This was the funniest one in a long time. Can't speak for the game itself, but a very amusing video.

Lovely Mixture:

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.

Oh there are certainly places for those styles. I'm a big fan of Dark Souls, I enjoyed Dragon Age 1, Kingdom Hearts is one of the best games of all time imo.

Except they keep re-packaging their retro games. How many version of FF1 are there now? They re-released Chrono Trigger on the DS with added content, so they aren't un-aware of the popularity. Anyways, I have no problem with FF13 graphics. If anything, the could put more money into those graphics if they recycled older, proven combat systems rather than developing new ones.

revjay:
With games like this they always lose me at the "J" part of the "JRPG" description. Oh and BTW, I, too, was born fully mature wearing a smoking jacket. Small world, small world indeed.

Ditto, I stopped playing JRPG's when I started high school, they just seemed to lose all appeal although I was never really that partial to them.

"You ever get the uneasy feeling you're playing something that completely isn't aimed at you?"

That pretty much sums up me and JRPG's.

I was born with hairy legs and a beard...and not a hipster beard.

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

It is a hard G there is no j sound in Japanese language.

edit: I was wrong there is j sound. I'll be honest I only learned half the japanese alphabete I didn't remember that most of the letters have a second consident.

I'm loving the game way too much to let the flaws sour my opinion of it.

Brad Gardner:

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

It is a hard G there is no j sound in Japanese language.

Although the Italian/Arabic word is pronounced with a very hard ɡ, the Japanese pronunciation of the studio's name is with a soft g

Official word. Also, while there is no "j" sound. There is, however, a "Ji" sound. There is also a "Ja" "Ju" "Je" and "Jo". Misapplication of phoneme knowledge FTW!

Treaos Serrare:

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'm not saying you don't have to grind in this game, I'm saying that there wasn't as much grinding as I thought there would be, I went into this game expecting to stay in one area for at least 3 or 4 hours doing battles before being able to tackle the boss, however, I've been doing all sidequests and bounty hunts as soon as I get them, and doing multiple battles to tame monsters, I cleared dungeons just fine.

He's right about the hand-holding, the terrible AI, and the slow rate of mechanic unlocks. Still, the game is charming and beautiful. The super-expensive version came with a fancy-pants "Wizard's Compendium" companion book, which adds to the appeal and immersion - too bad I couldn't afford it; my kid would love the hell out of that book, as much or more as she loves the game.

For a "kid's game", it's (eventually) complex enough for a general JRPG audience, and fairly hard if played on "normal". I haven't had to grind, but my daughter has (not that she minds - she likes collecting and leveling up a million familiars). It's basically Pokemon, but smarter, prettier, and.. let's just say better in every way (except it has no multiplayer). Like Shin Megami Tensei, except appropriate for kids and, well, yeah, it's not as good as Shin Megami Tensei. (It's actually nothing like Shin Megami Tensei - not sure where I was going with that.)

Anyway, if you know a kid between, I dunno.. age 7-12 or something?.. who likes/would like Pokemon or whatever the new "collect all the animal friends" craze is: they'd like this a lot more, they probably won't mind the flaws, and holy hell it's a kid-friendly product that's actually classy, for once. Well, mostly classy - some of the characters are poorly-constructed stereotypes, but almost any game (and especially one aimed at kids) is gonna be guilty of that.

Lovely Mixture:

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.

Ah, Dark Souls, an extremely substantial game draped in style!

FF6 (III for those Americans that haven't kept up with the #s) was an awesome game that I would love to see a remake for. Add some content if you want, but the game needs a face lift. Now I'm not saying that it hasn't held up well over the years, it's still a beautiful game, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't like to have some style injected into it. Keep the story, mechanics, etc, but just look at improving the look. And in a good way, keep the board rooms out of this decision.

Why are we complaining that a game is long, isn't our purpose to be playing it? Or are you only satisfied when you get to the end of it, as to say the reward is not the game itself... And this thing about RPGs being repetitive: are you aware that you are criticizing fantasy games that take your through magical landscapes as being repetitive and shallow, but never aknowledge that modern FPSs are about shooting the same guy for years?

Yay, it's the "Yahtzee references a bunch of movies I've actually seen" video. The worst thing about Tales from Earthsea is that it's infinitely better than the horrendous Sci-Fi channel miniseries based on the same books. What is it about those books that makes them unfilmable? I love them so much. It breaks my heart.

Anyway, this game is more evidence that most RPGs aren't for me. I love a good story and interesting art style, but why do they all have to be so unnecessarily padded? Seems like the majority of content in the majority of RPGs is filler. I just hate it. (Except MMOs which are unapologetically nothing but filler, so I just run with it and enjoy them for what they are rather than waiting for the good parts.)

Your description of real-time combat with turn-based elements brings back memories from X3 - solo combat can be fun, but you avoid fleet fights like the plague lest you have to navigate through 2-3 menus multiple times just to give orders to all your ships.

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 suspect that the period over which NNK introduces its gameplay mechanics isn't also a period where you're walking in a straight line for 20 hours.

On the other hand, this is also a Thing that JRPGs have been doing for some time now, being so paranoid that the player won't get the mechanics that they drip feed them into the game over a catastrophically long time, making the actual game just not very interesting.

FFXIII did that horribly because it drip fed mechanics and limited you to a two man party in a game where the main player interaction was about shifting between different class balances on the fly (and in the tougher fights you have to do that more frequently than you would make decisions in older installments).

Lovely Mixture:

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.

Too bad they don't put it in the right direction which is to make it a dark fantasy with sex, violence and smashing down the good guys so hard it makes the Starks story look like a tale of triumph

bificommander:
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.

Agreed on Earthsea; I was lucky, a friend of mine badgered me into a triple-feature showing of anime at a local artsy independent cinema when we were fifteen, and it categorically cured me of having any interest in the whole load of nonsense for life; Earthsea, followed by Ninja Scrolls, followed by something so forgettable I've literally forgotten it which was assumedly included as a sort of "palate cleanser" to sooth the addled minds of those who'd just watched the first two.

Am I the only one that does not like Spirited Away? I didn't like the little girl, as all that I could think about her was that she annoyed me. And then all these random things keep happening that make little or no sense and hardly seem to connect to the over all story. There's the random spirit eating thing she lets in that has relevence for all of ten minutes, then there's the dragon guy that's also a river spirit, then there's a giant baby that gets turned into a rat, the dragon gets hurt for some reason, and above all else apparently everyone falls in love with the little girl the moment she leaves and returns. Honestly, can someone explain why it's a good movie? I've seen one other Studio Gibli film and I liked it well enough. It was the one about the cats in the cat world. It wasn't fantastic or anything but most of it felt pretty coherent and it was just a fun sort of world. I just get the same feeling watching Spirited Away that I do while watching Labyrinth, except at least the latter had David Bowie in it.

Also, I'm saddened that he did a game from Japan that wasn't Fire Emblem this week, because that means he probably won't hit Fire Emblem. Granted, he'd probably not like it, but that'd be the fun part of it, his anger towards it.

Ukomba:

Lovely Mixture:

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.

Oh there are certainly places for those styles. I'm a big fan of Dark Souls, I enjoyed Dragon Age 1, Kingdom Hearts is one of the best games of all time imo.

Except they keep re-packaging their retro games. How many version of FF1 are there now? They re-released Chrono Trigger on the DS with added content, so they aren't un-aware of the popularity. Anyways, I have no problem with FF13 graphics. If anything, the could put more money into those graphics if they recycled older, proven combat systems rather than developing new ones.

You misunderstand, I didn't mean to say Dark Souls was in line with that "style over substance" mentality nor was all anime. I'm just saying that Japanese media tends to go that way.

gyrobot:

Lovely Mixture:

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.

Too bad they don't put it in the right direction which is to make it a dark fantasy with sex, violence and smashing down the good guys so hard it makes the Starks story look like a tale of triumph

I feel it's an issue of balance.
Either it's all too soft and fancy or it's all too dark.
Berserk and Dark Souls do it right. Tolkien essentially did it right. Haven't tried Fire and Ice yet.

I just can't get on with Studio Debatable Pronunciation's art style. That combined with not really needing a long JPRG in my backlog right now was enough for me to pass this one up.

xdiesp:
Why are we complaining that a game is long, isn't our purpose to be playing it? Or are you only satisfied when you get to the end of it, as to say the reward is not the game itself... And this thing about RPGs being repetitive: are you aware that you are criticizing fantasy games that take your through magical landscapes as being repetitive and shallow, but never aknowledge that modern FPSs are about shooting the same guy for years?

Is this your first Zero Punctuation episode...? I would highly suggest you go through the archives and watch some of the episodes about modern FPS games. HINT: He hates that all modern FPS games are the so much of the same that he created a new, demeaning genre name for them to separate them from shooters that aren't about yet another modern military fighting Arabs and/or Russians.

JarinArenos:

Brad Gardner:

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

It is a hard G there is no j sound in Japanese language.

Although the Italian/Arabic word is pronounced with a very hard ɡ, the Japanese pronunciation of the studio's name is with a soft g

Official word. Also, while there is no "j" sound. There is, however, a "Ji" sound. There is also a "Ja" "Ju" "Je" and "Jo". Misapplication of phoneme knowledge FTW!

Must be one of the letter with the ` or whatever. I have to appologize for spreading false info

Damn, Yahtzee's always funny but it's been a while since I've laughed out loud for a good majority of the review. Probably because I have this game, and while I enjoy it, the faults it has are quite glaring.

Keep up the good work, Mr. Croshaw.

While I do somewhat dislike turn based combat I have to admit that it would have suited the game more. As it is, coordinating attacks with multiple characters is pretty much impossible, partly due to the bad AI (I already started to turn off ability usage to prevent them from burning all the mana during the first encounter).

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

Probably did it on purpose. It wouldn't be the first time.

OT: Don't have it, have very little interest. I do like my JRPGs, but I've got too much on my plate already without another one. And I'm not really into anime at all (though I did just finish an interesting anime-based weekend, so that may change soon), so the name Ghibli means absolutely nothing to me.

Still, entertaining as always, Mr. Croshaw. I'm actually kind of surprise you gave it as much praise as you did.

xdiesp:
Why are we complaining that a game is long, isn't our purpose to be playing it? Or are you only satisfied when you get to the end of it, as to say the reward is not the game itself... And this thing about RPGs being repetitive: are you aware that you are criticizing fantasy games that take your through magical landscapes as being repetitive and shallow, but never aknowledge that modern FPSs are about shooting the same guy for years?

He's complaining about the EXTREME linearity of a Role Playing Game, in which you PLAY a ROLE that involves making choices as to how to proceed in the GAME. Also, it's the pacing that's the problem because it doles out features little by little instead of giving you all your toys at once, letting you out to its world, and saying "GO NUTS".

mjc0961:
I just can't get on with Studio Debatable Pronunciation's art style.

You're not the only one, I find that it lacks any sort of "oomph." Ghibli is all about the superflat style.....and it comes off as extremely flat.

Long time listener, first time caller...

Lol thank you Yahtzee! I needed a good laugh and this really delivered. I have a coworker who is a big fan of Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch can't wait for him to see this. >:)

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

Or go camping near a lake that's decidedly not crystal...forever.

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.

This one got hate for length as well. And FFXIII got hate for other stuff besides length and tutorials. And yes FFXIII got hate because it's Final Fantasy because we expect more from Final Fantasy.

DOUBLE POST

Once again Yahtzee sets up a good indie band name..."Octopus Abortion Sequence".
Love the communism analogy.
Also, Yahtzee liked a Final Fantasy game? What is this madness?! (Even if it was the last pre-polygon one that all nostalgic gamers usually seem to cite as the best in the series.)
Using drop-down menus in real-time combat? What is this madness? Is there a pause button (like in e.g. Baldur's Gate) that Yahtzee didn't find?

Neefertiti:
I love you for the Psycho tie in.

I always found it amusing that Norman could be called masturbates.

Is their any dick jokes in this game?

Best ZP since a long while :D

In other news, "Can't we all just stop being so cynical and appreciate the octopus abortion sequence in the innocent spirit with which it was meant?" just shot up near the top of my list of all-time favorite Zero Punctuation quotes.

Ni No Kuni punishes you for getting further in the game with it's boring, not fully thought out and ultimately broken mechanics. But at face value, it's a beautiful game, with outstanding level of detail, it's graphics are just simply superb and does psychologically make you want to continue despite it's bad level design (twisty corridor galore - think Eternal Sonata) and extreme levels of padding (think Skyward Sword only worst). It's understandable why Yahtzee quit, he got about as far as I did before I returned the game out of frustration.

The first 12 - 15 hours of the game could have made a very smooth 5 hours if they created a better tutorial with less padding in the gameplay, because yes, the first 15 or so hours are a bludgeoning tutorial, implemented worst than even Final Fantasy XIII, as it holds out important survival mechanics as long as it can, such as, as Yahtzee described, the All Defend ability and that's not good enough.

Personally as a JRPG fan, I felt this game will actually do the JRPG industry further harm if it continues being as popular as it is; and it has no good reason to be as popular as it is, as the only reason people ARE buying it, is because of the Ghibli name associated with the title. As with all things, brands don't make a product magically better than others. Although technically released first, Ni No Kuni has no place on the market in a post -Xenoblade world and any game that doesn't try to be at least to the standard of Xenoblade is surely to fail, so when a lacklustre title that fails in almost everything it set out to do, tries to one up the superior title and somehow gets more recognition, you're entering pop market mentality / territory (ie: Call of Duty) here.

Publishers will see that Ni no Kuni sold better with 170,548 copies sold in it's first week than Xenoblade Chronicals with 161,161 copies sold in the entirety of 2010 (about a 6 - 7 month period) and will insist on more games like Ni no Kuni and less to the standard of Xenoblade because that's good business. As-per-normal, people will then complain about how stale the genre is and then blah di blah di blah, aeternum repetit.

Well that rant when longer than expected but that's how I feel about the popular title and sorry to Susan Arendt for all the crap she had to deal with for reviewing an over-hyped title (on JRPG standards) before anyone had the chance to play it and see for themselves that the game is as she says.

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