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Saying Ni no Kuni Is "Kiddie" Is Just Stupid...Wait, Is It Really?

Disclaimer: My opinion on this matter in no way impacted my review. It wasn't even mentioned in the analysis because in truth, it shouldn't - and doesn't - matter. This is a purely subjective editorial.

There's no doubt that the recently released Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a great game. That's obvious. I think a lot of critics and gamers are turning a blind eye to the clear drawbacks (a lame story, mediocre dialogue, and some questionable combat design choices among them), but that's simply because we've all been so desperate for a top-notch, traditional JRPG this generation. I get that. I really do. I played just about every JRPG there was to buy back in the PS1 days, and that actually didn't change much during the PS2 era (although I branched out and played other things).

But critics overestimating the game - which I do believe - is not the point. As far as I'm concerned, give the damn thing a 10 so maybe other developers will take a cue from Level-5 and Studio Ghibli. No, this concerns the art style in the game. Now, here's the deal- If you say that it looks "kiddie," it's like the worst insult in the world, and the entire hardcore gaming community will leap down your throat. They will defend that style to the death, saying it's charming and beautiful and unbelievably well designed. That's all 100% true, by the way. Still, I'm getting really sick of people acting all uppity and elitist if someone looks at something like Ni no Kuni and is turned off by the style.

Look, let's face it: We're playing as a 13-year-old boy who actually looks more like 10. Even the biggest baddest creatures in the game are still almost adorable. All the creatures you take with you into battle are somehow even cuter than the Pokemon creatures. The world is colorful and fantastical...in a way that would seem to appeal most to children. Some will argue that this is the way JRPGs used to be, but that's false. Sure, there were always teenagers, but they were in their late teens and in general, the worlds, enemies, and overall presentation was much older, much darker, much more mature. Final Fantasy, Suikoden, Wild ARMs, Legend of Legaia, Legend of Dragoon, Chrono Cross; none of them are even close to having the same sort of obvious child-friendly attraction as Ni no Kuni.

And I'm just not all that enraptured by the thought of playing as this little boy who wields a stick and orders some cutesy animals around. I know that sounds insulting and I apologize for that, but it's the only way I can say it. It seems people would have me apologize for that standpoint, as if I'm somehow not secure enough in my age and masculinity to play something like this. Well, that's junk. A lot of my favorite movies of all time are animated, actually. But beyond that, just because a 35-year-old isn't all that interested in playing a game that looks like Ni no Kuni doesn't suddenly make him a casual gaming moron who only wants to play shooters. No, I'll still go back and play all the old JRPGs, absolutely none of which appear as "kiddie" as the game in question.

I'm sorry, but this is just something else I had to get off my chest. I don't need the hardcore looking down their noses at me as if I'm missing something. I'm not missing anything. I get it. And if I really loved the game, I'd probably play it. But I don't really love it and the child-like presentation isn't helping. That's all I can say.

Related Game(s): Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Tags: ni no kuni wrath of the white witch, jrpgs, japanese rpgs, gamers

1/24/2013 11:58:48 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (96 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 12:40:38 AM
Reply

Eh, it certainly isn't for everyone. You won't catch me watching a Pixar movie sans the family little ones and I have no interest in watching Harry Potter ride brooms about.

To me it comes down to imagination and an appreciation for the medium of anime. If you lack it, you will find more fault in these kinds of games than actually exist simply because you don't have the depth of experience to see what is there just as the uninitiated will look at a famous painting and say "My kid could have done that." It misses the point entirely.

But most of us who appreciated Mario and Zelda can still do so without maligning it for its presentation or lack of real growth, and those things still score damn well.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 1:21:02 AM

But even Mario and Zelda aren't as kiddie as Ni no Kuni in my eyes. Mario is a cartoon but he's a grown man. Zelda is a princess, and not an 8-year-old one. Link is an elf, and maybe he's young, but I'm pretty sure he's not 13.

If you really think about it, we very rarely play as actual CHILDREN in video games, stretching back as far as gaming goes.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 1:34:36 AM

Grandia and Justin.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 1:44:58 AM

Still more in the way of slightly older content the whole way around.

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Axe99
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 3:32:11 AM

I strongly disagree about Mario - Super Mario Galaxy felt like it was made for five year olds. The cues, the presentation - both the language and story and the broader visual and aural approach were very much tailored towards sub-10 year olds. It was still a quality platformer, but the presentation was all-kid, no two ways about it. Sure, we play as a grown up, but it's a child's caricature of one.

As for Zelda, I've only ever played a few hours of Wind Waker and the first ten or so hours of 'Ocarina of Time', but these were also very children's games (at least that far in) - indeed, in LoZ:OoT that time is spent playing as child Link. I'm not saying they're bad games - but they are well and truly games for kids that adults also appreciate, rather than games for adults.

That said, there's nothing wrong with having nostalgia for children's games played as a child, and this not carrying across to games pitched primarily at children that are not played as a child.

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ethird1
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 12:41:45 AM
Reply

This "opinion" is what happens when you get tired and burnt out with RPGS and certain games. I did the same thing back when Final fantasy 10 part 2 came out. I said it was an effiminate game that only gay men and girls should play. You know, because of all the dress up the girlies gameplay it had.

But, apparently, it was a good game. Many people loved it.

Years later, after having raised children and booting them out into the real world, I realized I was just an old sourpuss who just didnt have the time to play rpgs any more, like I had before, and was more hardcore in my choices for rpgs, and games in general.

Now I have a little more time to play so I will play Ni no Kuni. Still wont play FF 10 part 2 though. Dont like girly stuff. What?

End of Line.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 12:49:34 AM

Then play it for the best turn based ATB battle system to come out of the franchise ever.

Me? I love the girly stuff, slutty outfits as each skillset, making up and dressing the gals in Yakuza 4 to serve my whorehouse, ahem Hostess Club properly, and even the dainty goofy girly ladies of the Atelier series.

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Underdog15
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 8:30:58 AM

I don't know why people didn't like the dressphere change animations. I even did it in easy battles.... lol

And world is right. I've said it a number of times in the past too. FFX-2's battle system was outstanding.

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sawao_yamanaka
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 12:42:05 AM
Reply

I understand what you mean but the story would be way over some children's heads. Art style can be very subjective, I never once looked at cel shading and thought kiddie game because it really isn't. Killer 7, gungrave and other series have adapted the cel shaded look and I think they are fantastic. They age better to me as well, I think that's the reason why the Sly Collection looks fantastic because of it. Looks better than the jak collection.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 1:18:15 AM

If that story is over any kid's head, they really need to crack a book or two.

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sawao_yamanaka
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 1:40:46 AM

Not all children are born reading Ben. They talk about death and such. That's all that will be said otherwise I could spoil story for people. Like all Pixar films, they are made for children but have humour only adults will adults will understand.

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Beamboom
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 2:11:21 AM

Don't underestimate what a children can understand, Sawao.

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Underdog15
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 8:32:37 AM

Kids pick up more than you know. My son is only 1 year and 3 months, but I'm regularly shocked at what he's picked up. Last week, I said, "Where's your ball?" And sure enough, he went to another room and brought back his ball... amazing. Kid can't even talk yet.

My mom says one of my first words was the F-bomb. lol!

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Beamboom
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 10:26:31 AM

My little girl turned one year last Wednesday, Underdog. :)
It is fantastic to follow her development. Amazing.


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/25/2013 10:27:26 AM

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shadowscorpio
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 12:44:42 AM
Reply

And that Ben, is absolutely fair. I am one of those whom is not turned off by this game but I would never accuse someone off being a "close minded" gamer for not digging this game . I have yet to meet someone who likes every genre or game ever created. To each their own.

Plus, lets just get real here. Ni No Kuni does have a "kiddish" presentation. Some don't care , others might be turned off by it.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 1:45:11 AM

The problem lies in the fact that without that appreciation, all the interrelated connections to the rest of the game won't come off the same. Just as some can give an okay review for Gran Turismo but not have the proper appreciation for cars to grasp the intricacy and interrelationships taking place in the simulation.

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shadowscorpio
Saturday, January 26, 2013 @ 12:47:55 AM

World

I can see your point. When I first played Dragon Age Origins I thought it absolute trash. Returned it within the week. Hated the presentation and gameplay. A few years later, I picked the ultimate addition and just decided to let the game proof itself to me.

Played DA:Origins from beginning to end and absolutely loved it. The story was great . The gameplay and presentation began to make sense.

So yes, it is possible for one not to grasp unseen value/quality, what have you if they don't have a developed appreciation for said elements that make a game what it is.

Of course, one might say this describes you World when it comes to Demon's/Dark Souls. ;)

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Geobaldi
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 12:47:04 AM
Reply

Unfortunately, it seems that most of the stuff that Studio Ghibli does is branded kiddie, Just because it's animated doesn't mean it is. That's like saying all anime is just cartoons, which a lot of people tend to do. But tons of anime have far greater stories, and are more mature, then most theatrical films. Art style shouldn't have any bearing on whether or not something is "kiddie". Disney is always referred to as kiddie as well. Family friendly and kiddie are not the same thing. People nowadays seem to hate on any game, or any other media for that matter, now just because they don't like the way the art style is presented. Cell shading comes to mind. Heck even Little Big Planet is referred to as a kiddie game because of the cute way it looks. It all makes no difference to me, as I look past all that and look at the gameplay itself and then judge it based on that.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 1:19:27 AM

Uh...there are different kinds of animation. Studio Ghibli's stuff isn't kiddie because it's animated; it's kiddie because it essentially seems geared toward KIDS. While most anime OBVIOUSLY is not.

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Bonampak
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 2:41:36 AM

Ben, please watch SPIRITED AWAY.

I used to think like you did in regards to Studio Ghibli flicks. That was until I saw that animated film.

That movie is in no way kiddie, despite having a child as a protagonist. This movie is surreal as you can get in animation. And as deep as the 7 rings of hell. So much so, that most kids will not appreciate it until they age a bit.

Because that film speaks to those of us that forgot how to dream. And who forgot how it feels to have a sense of wonder in our daily lives. Its pure magic.

BTW, I saw Spirited Away with my 5 year old niece. That's how I ended up watching it. My niece got bored after the first 15 minutes but I saw the whole thing through. Best damn film I've seen in ages. And I don't even like anime. But this film was quite a trip. See it.

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Clamedeus
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 8:47:00 AM

I loved Spirited Away! Great film. :D

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:06:18 AM

I don't know why people are thinking I dislike Studio Ghibli. I never said anything they did was kiddie and as a result, DUMB. I said it LOOKED kiddie. There's a very big difference, and I'm aware of that difference.

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dmiitrie
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 12:49:07 AM
Reply

That's the way I feel too. Truth be told, aside from Princess Mononoke, I've never cared for Studio Ghibli's style. That, combined with an unappealing combat system, made this one a non-buy for me.

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Abidan13
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 12:51:27 AM
Reply

To appreciate a title and to like it are completely separate things. Understanding what a title brings to the industry is, to me, the most significant trait a gamer can possess. More often than not, we solidify in our minds the idea that if we do not enjoy a game, it must be bad. Why can't we just admire from a distance?

Games exist with their good points and bad; some of them will be concrete, like poor AI, or more abstract, such as the title appears kiddie. That's okay. A game doesn't need to be all things to all people. If it was, we wouldn't ever need a new game.

Just like with tv shows, movies, food, colours, no one should make you feel badly regarding your opinion of a game.I would never dream of anyone having to apologize about having an opinion. To think otherwise is simply foolish.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 12:54:10 AM

agreed

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Beamboom
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 10:27:01 AM

Very good post, Abidan. I agree too.

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shadowscorpio
Saturday, January 26, 2013 @ 12:56:13 AM

Good to see more objectivity . No ones opinion is without merit. Its okay to disagree . Pretty sure we all don't agree on everything .

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 1:02:04 AM
Reply

I will say "too kiddie" is an adequate but not exhaustive impression. In other words that should be an imppression gamers use to know if they should or should not be interested in it. Much as "too much pointless violence" sends some away. But it cannot have any place in the review. The danger of review-creep here is that to judge it only as a game (and not a game influenced heavily by some very important aspects of art and film and culture and the higher-art goal)is not an adequate analysis because there's a whole hunk of data missing, data that the fanbase for this game already possesses thankfully.

So we wind up with a game that is not too kiddie, but should be satisfied with that judgement by those who cannot appreciate it because, well, they simply are not in a place to appreciate it. No harm done, move onto what you do like.

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Killa Tequilla
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 1:48:55 AM
Reply

So it's too kiddie for your tastes? I've been wanting this game so dearly because i use to play pokemon as a kid. I have been wanting a replacement. But saying it's kiddie impacts wether I buy it or not.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:13:48 AM

What? Why? You played Pokemon and liked it, so this game is just for you, especially if you've been "wanting the game dearly."

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LividFiction
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 12:51:50 PM

Because "kiddie" is used as an insult, and has been for years. When people say "But when I say 'kiddie,' I don't mean it insultingly," it's kind of like trying to turn the phrase "That guy's such a douchebag" into a compliment.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 1:21:40 PM

Ridiculous. Kiddie means it's for kids. Douchebag means he's a douchebag.

Terrible analogy.

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Killa Tequilla
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 2:27:11 PM

Well, I don't want to look "kiddie" playing Ni No Kuni.

I'd look like a big baby?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 2:40:18 PM

Dude, you really shouldn't be worried about what you'd "look like" playing a game.

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Killa Tequilla
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 2:48:42 PM

Yea, im going to go head' and buy it. It's a JRPG though, not the kind of games I play. If I don't like it, my 4yr old can play it.

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 4:15:30 AM
Reply

I'll tell you why I have been looking forward to Ni No Kuni for so long now, it is because it of it's lighthearted presentation - It looks FUN!

This gen, all the mainstream games have gone for a sense of realism and the majority of them are rated 15+ with intense violence. It is so refreshing to see a developer take a chance on a game which can appeal to a younger audience too, because it just doesn't happen enough nowadays. I have to say I am starting to get really sick of violence in games. I look at the majority of my titles and they're third/first person shooters. I look at my PS1 collection and the majority of them are platformers and JRPG's. I feel my PS3 collection doesn't identify my gaming interests fairly.

To criticize Ni No Kuni for it's friendly art direction is very shallow (And I know it's a mere observation and did not effect the review.) in context with the actual game it blends so so well. The closest we had to this before was Rouge Galaxy, though the difference there is that RG had realistic proportioned characters but it had the same cel-shaded style but just a different art direction, does that make it acceptable. Though if it is just the character models which are at fault then so must many older RPG's including Final Fantasy VII - Which had a clear difference which the character models in battle and out. This also reminds me of the initial reaction to Zelda: Wind Waker.

But if it is more than that and about following the story of a young boy then there might be some credibility to the argument. Many criticized Tidus in Final Fantasy X for being childish, I liked Tidus very much and it was nice to have a lead character who wasn't just a badass. I have yet to play Ni No Kuni beyond the demo so I know nothing of Oliver. So I don't know if he is really childish or not yet, but I am not going to dimiss the game beforehand because it is through the eyes of a young boy. Final Fantasy X-2 I did dismiss because they turned Yuna into a daft, childish slut and ruined the character for me completely. To enjoy a story you have to engage with characters - Like I am with Xenoblade right now, I love the cast and the characters motives keep me engaged in the story.

But Ni No Kuni just looks like a lot of fun. Something we are in desperate need of this generation. It is getting the point where I am even considering getting a Wii-U. because the PS3 line up is just to serious all of the time. I may be over 18, but that doesn't mean I want to kill everything in sight. I want an RPG with a strong sense of adventure and Ni No Kuni looks like it shall deliver on that front. I still have to wait a week for the UK release, but I am certainly counting the days :)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:12:55 AM

Three things:

1. Tidus wasn't 13, like Oliver.

2. Saying that Yuna was portrayed as a "daft, childish slut" in FFX-2 only means you never touched the game. Square Enix did NOT present her as any such thing. That's crap.

3. Saying that Rogue Galaxy is about as close as they've come to this kiddie style in JRPGs isn't quite accurate (I'd say DQVIII was closer), but it does prove my point that JRPGs were never this childish-looking in terms of characters, world, enemies, etc.

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Underdog15
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:31:50 AM

A slut can hardly describe a young woman in her early twenties holding out exclusively for the one love of her life alone despite the fact it may or may not ever happen.

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:55:52 AM

I mention Tidus because many claimed for him to be childish. As I said I have yet to play Ni No Kuni so I don't know much abut Oliver regarding the comparison.

I have however had the misfortune of playing Final Fantasy X-2 and it was just horrendous, they completely betrayed Yuna and how she was in X. She was completely out of character for no valid reason, it was like having a 2nd Rikku in the party. As I have said many times before, I do not mind having a Final Fantasy with 3 leading females, what bothers me is just how immature and irritating they were. Also the whole games story was just a massive diversion. It reverts back to finding Tidus for the end, but of course you're only privileged to see that if you use a strategy guide and get 100%

I disagree firmly on the third point ben, many 16-Bit RPG's look quite childish. even Final Fantasy's from that era. You could say it was due to the graphics of the time but compare it to Phantasy Star on the Megadrive (Genesis) it falls short of looking as realistic as possible back in the day. Mind you I still think in general it looked a lot better than Phantasy Star even if it did have proportionate character models.

But in anycase, say if Ni No Kuni is aimed at a young target audience, I fail to see the problem with that. So is Pokemon and that series is regarded very highly (Even if it does recycle the same adventure everytime...) As I mentioned before, the gaming industry has focused far to much on delivering games which are realistic and violent. I for one find it very refreshing to find a 'Triple A' title which is created to appeal to a wide age range and friendly tone.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 1:23:53 PM

Saying Yuna was different in FFX-2 is one thing; saying she was a "daft, childish slut" is quite another, and completely incorrect.

And the only reason the games looked like that back in the day is because of the graphics. That's all. The characters in the stories were not meant to be children. None of them were. They just looked the way they look because of the sprite graphics.

And by the way, games in that era really WERE for kids, for the most part. Not sure why people are missing that.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 1/25/2013 1:24:09 PM

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mehrab2603
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 4:56:12 AM
Reply

Yes, the presentation is kiddy. But you know what, I love it and wish more games to adopted this kiddy/cell shaded/anime style. And I don't think kids are the primary targeted audience for this game. It is firstly for JRPG and anime lovers.

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wolfsinner
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 5:39:14 AM
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I understand where you're coming from. I don't mind people that dismiss the game because of its art style. What I dislike is people insulting adults that enjoy it (and that is the most frequent behavior).
I'm a big fan of Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki, so the art style is very endearing to me.

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___________
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 6:09:09 AM
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i really really like the artstyle, its actually what drawed me to the game in the first place!
theres a billion and one dark gritty realistic games out there, so its nice to see someone trying to do something just a little different.
both artistically and story wise.
i just wish the games combat was a proper RPG combat, not this turn base boring BS!
id love to see a game with this style, but with a proper in depth combat system!
instead of pressing x, y, and z than sit back and enjoy the movie.
am i playing a game, or watching a interactive movie?

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berserk
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 7:33:28 AM
Reply

I agree about everything you said except i still like it a lot .

I don t recruit my familiar based on their ability but on their look because i don t want to have " cute " ( rather use that word then a mean word to describe them ) familiars . Fighting monster who look like they want to hug you instead of killing you is hard enough to accept .

Thank god that at least most of the bosses actually look like a treat .

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DIsmael85
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 7:43:21 AM
Reply

Wow, this game is being branded as Kiddie? I mean I understand that the game is designed to be played by a wide range of gamers, but in no way to I feel like I playing a childish game. The story is charming and sad at times. This is what I expect from a Studio Ghibli backed game. To be honest at least this story and game play are coherent as compared to DmC, which I tried out and was having a laugh fest over the Hunter Boss. Anyway, opinions aside, Ni no Kuni is a breathe of fresh air for JRPG fans. If you opt out you are missing on a gem.

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duomaxwell007
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 8:25:57 AM
Reply

I dont think the issue is whether or not its kiddie I think the issue is people turning a blind eye to it/refusing to lay it BECAUSE its kiddie and calling it "pedo game"... I mean Disney films are made for kids.. I know PLENTY of adults who watch them.. so why would a game be any different.. especially a studio Ghibli game which is pretty much the Japan equivalent of Disney

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:07:19 AM

I don't think anyone is calling it a "pedo" game. And if so, that's a stretch.

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duomaxwell007
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 2:03:23 PM

not anyone on this site but LOTS of peolpe do... according to them any JRPGs that have little kids and main characters or teenagers that dont LOOK like teenagers.. i.e just about every JRPG that isnt Persona) and its played and liked by adults is because those adults are "pedophiles" ESPECIALLY games that put said characters in provocative situations (i.e neptunia or agarest war) etc etc. and this is not MY personal opinion Im just relaying what i see over the internet daily when the topic of JRPGs comes up.

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CrusaderForever
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 8:33:45 AM
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I don't think it's kiddie. I think it's a gorgeous work of art, charming and extremely well done with high production values. I am in love with this game and cannot stop playing it. I guess that is all that matters.

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Underdog15
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 8:35:06 AM
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I absolutely agree that the artstyle appeals to kids. Who wouldn't?

What I do think, however, is that the title can obviously appeal to adults as well. Take an animated movie like Shrek, for example. Clearly kid friendly, and indeed, kids LOVED it. But most adults, especially college and university aged people, loved it too.

Personally, I think it's quite an accomplishment to appeal to every age group.

I do agree that it's silly to pretend it isn't kid-friendly. But I'm not sure many at this site would go that far, anyways.

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xenris
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 10:11:15 AM
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I don't think the art style is limited to just children. All studio ghibli films use the same style and films like Princess Mononoke are definitely darker and more violent in ways. I feel like it speaks to the child in us all. Not to mention people can relate to the themes whether they are adults or not.

I don't think it is a stretch to say that it looks "kiddie" though I wonder what does it mean to call something in its entirety kiddie?

Things geared towards children can be fantastical and just good old light hearted fun. Studio Ghibli is very good at doing this and so is Pixar.

My guess is some people get to a certain age and pass that line where they think they have to start acting like an adult. Or that childish cutesy things aren't acceptable to enjoy anymore.

The thing I love about Ni No kuni is that it taps into that child part of me and makes me feel like a child again. I have no problem playing as an innocent young boy because it really hasn't been done before. I don't need to be a bad ass angst filled teenager/young adult because I just don't relate to that anymore,

I'm glad this games hero isn't an amnesia filled, lone soldier, reluctant hero who wonders why it is he who has to save the world. I'm done with that I have played that story a bunch of times and it's boring.

People who don't like this aren't idiots or stupid. I would just think maybe they lost touch with their child side.

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Knightzane
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 10:13:51 AM
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In my opinion, Ni No Kuni is for kids, and girls. I don't like it at all. Just to..adorable for me. My opinion though.

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Underdog15
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:33:47 AM

I find it sad when people can no longer appreciate innocence. And how us it girly? Actually, know what... I'm not sure I want to hear your definition on that one. Lol :p


Last edited by Underdog15 on 1/25/2013 11:34:44 AM

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Beamboom
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 10:22:43 AM
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Man how split I am in regards to this title. It has left me totally indecisive in a way no other release has left me!

I don't think I've read this many reviews for a release in a very, very long time. And I've gone from "definitely not interested" to "I gotta get this" and every stage between like a yoyo.

Now I return from having read another review at a Norwegian site, they were really enthusiastic and said they liked this a lot despite "not being fans of japanese rpgs at all".

So, is this for me or is it not? Is this the proper introduction to the fabled world of "JRPGs" I have been looking for?
I guess I need to go read ten more reviews... :D


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/25/2013 10:23:28 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:09:44 AM

I really don't know, Beamboom. I wish I could say. I guess if you've already tried the older classic JRPGs (like FFVII and the Suikodens and Legend of Legaia and things like that), and you didn't like them, than maybe Ni no Kuni will resonate with you.

The reason I say that is because contrary to what a lot of people are saying, Ni no Kuni is NOT like those classic RPGs, not in terms of mechanics or style. So if you appreciate the Studio Ghibli look and you're interested in the concept, than I say try it.

However, it's not a good indication of the way JRPGs once were. It just isn't. So you'll be playing more of an evolution of sorts rather than a resurrection. Oh, and play the demo. :)

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xenris
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:17:27 AM

I would say get it Beamboom. I think the combat is action based enough for you to dig into it, and the universal themes that the story delves into, makes the story enjoyable for all ages.

I think this is one of those cases where you should just take a risk :) Would be better to find out you actually don't like it than it becomes rare later on and you can't find it :P

You can always try the demo too.

Last edited by xenris on 1/25/2013 11:18:34 AM

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Underdog15
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:38:19 AM

I like the game itself better than the demo by a fair margin. But like Ben, I don't know if you'll like it, either. Might be worth a try. Can you rent it in your area?

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Beamboom
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 1:30:26 PM

No rentals here. :(

My gut-feeling tells me that I highly likely will feel the same as Ben in regards to the childishness. That's most logical. Ever since the very first trailer I've thought this was something I could have watched on a Childrens Channel on TV.

... But then there's all those other reviews. Plus the fact that I really want to play a true JRPG of top quality - and this seems to be about the only release this gen that is appealing also for those *outside* the church of JRPG.

So, yeah. There you have me. Split, and indecisive.
But I got time. There'll be at least a month or two before price drop. :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 2:46:43 PM

Can you get the demo somehow? I wouldn't choose it as an intro to JRPGs but that's because the classics are the best.

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Beamboom
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 3:50:14 PM

Yup I can, I'll try the demo. But from experience I just know that a demo doesn't do most games justice. But yeah, I'll give the demo a spin.

But then we got another element: I read that with this game you have to get like 20 hours into it before it really starts to bloom. Do I have the patience for *that*? Oh man, I am so split in this that it really is fascinating. The arguments both for and against are stacking up like no other game I can remember!

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Underdog15
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 5:17:25 PM

I guess I just wish this gen had a good and gritty jrpg for you beam. But there isn't one. :(

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Beamboom
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 5:32:56 PM

Ah, but it doesn't have to be gritty! Not at all!

I loved the graphics in Kingdoms Of Amalur for example, that universe were drop dead gorgeous - no grit there.
I also totally LOVE the style, music and gameplay of Katamari - no grit there either.

In fact, I don't particularly fancy the gritty, realistic stuff at all. I don't mind it either, but it's definitely no requisition.




Last edited by Beamboom on 1/25/2013 5:34:17 PM

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xenris
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 9:04:56 PM

Underdog this generation does have a good gritty RPG. Its called The Witcher 2 and anyone who has access to a decent PC needs to play it. Actual choices and consequences for your actions, multiple endings, free patches DLC, and a good serving of blood, guts and boobs.

Its easily one of the best RPGs I have played, and most people who were into old RPGs love it.

Hope it comes to the PS3 soon so that people without gaming computers can give it a shot.

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telly
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:36:15 AM
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I'm vaguely intrigued by Ni No Kuni but I totally hear where Ben is coming from. Indeed, while even Nintendo games aren't QUITE this kid-centric, it's often my biggest problem with Nintendo titles and probably the reason why I usually don't love them the way I did when I was younger. Having an all-ages, youthful appeal is one thing, but when you get to THIS level, it loses a bit of luster for me. It makes me feel like, well, a thirty-something dude with a career and lots of real world responsibilities hanging out at Chuck E. Cheese. There's a limit to how much I want to be in touch with my inner child.

Ben's got it exactly right -- a lot of the protagonists in classic JRPGs were teens or young adults but the overall vibe wasn't this kiddie.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:40:12 AM

"Having an all-ages, youthful appeal is one thing, but when you get to THIS level, it loses a bit of luster for me."

Thank you, that's precisely what I mean.

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Underdog15
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:44:21 AM

I think I like an older setting myself, but I don't feel insecure about playing it as a grown man with a career, house, and kid at all. Guys like you and me have proven ourselves enough that we can like whatever games we want without having to care about what other people think. It's already lost on people who think all games are for kids anyways!

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telly
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:52:53 AM

@Underdog, no question! Insecurity should have nothing to do with it, nor concern about other people's opinions. If you're into this sort of style, go for it and have a great time. Just talking about personal preferences here -- I like my games (or any entertainment, really) to be at least a little less kid-centric, but no judgement on anyone who's into it.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:56:17 AM

Right, insecurity has nothing to do with it. Not for me, anyway. It's just a matter of...I don't know, simply playing as a 13-year-old boy just doesn't do it for me. :)

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telly
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 12:22:30 PM

@Dutka, ditto

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Underdog15
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 12:36:21 PM

I do agree on that point. I prefer characters like Cecil or zidane who are nice guys but have darker sides. And I really like worlds like ff8. I just don't mind the younger stuff. :) I think what I like most about ni no kuni is the high amounts if color. I find it very appealing to the eye.

Edit: I'm the spirit if my new avatar, I also really like Zack in crisis core.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 1/25/2013 12:37:34 PM

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Bevel
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:43:33 AM
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It's important to understand that studio ghibli generally deals with universal themes. Howl's Moving castle was about getting to know people before you judge them, Spirited away was about appreciating the things which really have value rather than superficial greed.

These themes can certainly be understood by children, because they're simple and they remain important to most people throughout their lives. The first Kingdom Hearts game was about love and friendship and it appeals to many people because of that, but it's not made 'for' kids.

I haven't played Ni no Kuni yet but I would caution against mistaking the artistic direction for childishness. A show like Dora the Explorer is different. Dora the Explorer is made for children and it lacks the depth that most adults would crave.

Out of curiosity how far did you get in Ni no Kuni, Ben?

Last edited by Bevel on 1/25/2013 11:44:33 AM

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Underdog15
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:46:58 AM

Kingdom hearts was often very kiddy, yet I think we all liked it just fine. Also... Very young protagonist who's voice had yet to change

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:57:12 AM

Far enough to do an accurate review.

And once again, nobody is saying that the themes Studio Ghibli tackles aren't universal. I'm only speaking about the LOOK, which is undeniably geared toward children in my eyes.

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Bevel
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 12:18:32 PM

In your editorial you say that the story is lame and the dialogue is mediocre so I assumed you were talking about more than the art style. I have played the demo but I don't know what the rest of the game is like. I only asked how far you got because it would be hasty to judge a story before you've seen its conclusion. I'm cautious about judging the game until I've seen more of it, but the demo didn't give me the impression that the full game has given you so I was wondering if the demo was representative of the larger experience.

Last edited by Bevel on 1/25/2013 12:23:55 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 1:25:26 PM

I said in the editorial that those drawbacks were beside the point of the article.

But it is true that the story in Ni no Kuni, along with the writing, is quite simply amateurish.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 2:55:30 PM

Is it amateur-ish or simple? Amateur to me is when the coding geeks wrote the story like in Two Worlds II or the early Final Fantasies or well any of the old games. Simple is a different matter altogether and needs to be resolved by the interaction with other elements, as in the Atelier series.

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Temjin001
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 4:04:25 PM

seems to me simple art and simple story, but rich on a spirit for adventure and subtle emotional pleasures, approachable by all, is the intention of this product offering.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 6:06:59 PM

Ben's wrong on this, the writing isn't amateur, it's period and world specific.

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Temjin001
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 9:12:02 PM

having read and watched some reviews the game sounds, voice acting wise, just like an anime from that studio. Having seen Gametrailers review, read Gamespots, and IGN's I don't suspect fellow critics of overrating the game due to a supposed bias towards a desperate attempt at a jrpg renaissance of sorts. If there is evidence of that I'd like to see direct references to it and determine that for myself. As for the game's quality, I see claims being made with illustrated reference to the game to back up their position which in turn helps persuade me of their convictions. I suppose I'll have to play it myself to know for sure.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 1/25/2013 9:13:35 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 9:41:12 PM

It's amateur-hour world. It just is. Trust me on this.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, January 26, 2013 @ 12:16:21 AM

With all due respect your training is in psychology, not modern literary theory and criticism.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, January 26, 2013 @ 10:56:40 AM

Actually, that's not 100% true, as you're not aware of all my training.

And as I've read more of the best literature than most any human you'll ever meet, in addition to what I've written and done in the past, I feel more than qualified to judge.

"Simple" is fine. You're right, that's not what makes it amateurish. The dialogue is what makes it amateurish, and the cliched plot that isn't half as illuminating or deep than most uber-fans of this game would have you believe.

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xenris
Saturday, January 26, 2013 @ 6:33:47 PM

Well you thought the story was very good in FF13(according to your FF13 review) and that was some of the worst character dialogue I have ever had to listen to period.

I get that that is an opinion, that you enjoyed FF13 more than Ni No kuni as far as story goes. But you keep saying that this games dialogue and story is factually bad, which I don't think is entirely accurate.

If you want to attack the amateurish writing and dialogue make a video or take quotes and put a spoiler warning on the video and show your proof and your evidence that this is factually and objectively bad.

Otherwise your just masquerading your opinion as fact.

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Temjin001
Saturday, January 26, 2013 @ 7:22:36 PM

I remember playing FFXIII and my wife would pester me by reciting its melodramatic lines. The part between Hope and Snow on the building top is classic. There's like miles of difference between something like Mass Effect's spoken dialogue and FFXIII's.

anyway I think FF's style and portrayal of its world and its characters is in a different realm than Ni No Kuni. Where the latter looks to be a masterful execution of the studio's well received and awarded talents in anime and fused with Level 5's experience at making RPGs for a new and original experience that may borrow tropes from classic jrpgs but isn't shackled to those ideals.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 1/26/2013 7:26:33 PM

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Temjin001
Saturday, January 26, 2013 @ 7:58:01 PM

oh to finish my point... Hehe oops well something like Mass Effect is supposed to sound like professional Hollywood. in fact, it does have professional actors part of its voice cast. I suspect Final Fantasy 'should' have professional Hollywood talent too (I hope it doesn't because they aren't very good lol ) because it seems to want to esteem itself at that level. Ni No Kuni on the other hand esteems itself to anime. So in a sense Ni No Kuni is professional by way of anime. Where FFXIII seems amateurish to me in relation to Mass Effect. Persoanlly I feel the products should be held to the standard they're representing, much like how Gran Turismo was wrongly accused for being TOO simulator and not gamer-friendly enough. Basically I think identity of the product offering plays a massive role in the reception of this Ni No Kuni.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 1/26/2013 7:59:25 PM

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SayWord
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 11:59:47 AM
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wow it never really occured to me if this was a kiddy game or not until i read this.

ni no kuni has become my favorite jrpg this generation. the simplistic look of studio ghibli makes this game look so mysterious and so damn beautiful. the story mixed with pretty decent writing and voice acting had me so immersed from the get go, even with its slow start.

oliver and drippy have to be my favorite protagonist in an rpg this gen as well. regardless of olivers age he isnt a whiny little brat but a courageous, adaptive mature kid who in my opinion is relatable and someone you can look up too.

to me everything just fits from the chemistry of the characters to the beautiful worlds and cities to the passive aggressive enemies who are actually evil. i just couldnt ask for more. so i will say ths does it actually really matter what age group its meant for or the art direction it has? because ill be damned if they didnt pull off a game that any age can enjoy.

Last edited by SayWord on 1/25/2013 12:02:06 PM

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Temjin001
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 12:23:12 PM
Reply

I think Ni No Kuni absolutely feels kiddie. It unabashedly want's to though. From the very first screenshot I sensed the warmth of it's pastel colors and youthful spirit. It makes me want to dress in spider-man pj's with a bowl of fruit loops at my side and just play it for it's warmth and innocent soul. The 15 hours, or so, of Lunar made me feel somewhat similarly. This youthful adventurous feeling that just seems to fit it's art design.

In other instances, games that try to be more adult or deep sometimes bother me when they're dressed with a cartoonish presentation. For example, if something like Mass Effect had Chrono Cross's art design I expect I'd have liked the game less. Vice versa for something like Ni No Kuni or Lunar.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 2:50:35 PM
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I think the ESRB rating has it all, E for everyone. The presentation is chock full of that "kiddie" imagery but like most modern works that aren't rated mature any thoughtful adult should be able to appreciate it because of how the rest of it talks to the art aspect. The art is constantly having a conversation with the world and the gameplay and the story. That's what's important.

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thedaini
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 4:50:20 PM
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This may be better discussed in the forums, but all the talk about this game has gotten me realizing I haven't really played a traditional JRPG (never owned a PS1 or PS2). Does anyone have any suggestions for one this generation? I think the closest thing I've played was Golden Sun on GBA which I LOVED.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 7:23:38 PM

Technically speaking there aren't any. There are a few niche-within-niche titles like Atelier but the reason we are all upset is because a very beloved tradition just stopped for no reason this gen. If you want to really experience the magic wait for Final Fantasy X to come in HD.

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thedaini
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 8:25:33 PM

Thanks, World. I have noticed a lot of angst about the genre. FFX HD has been on my radar since they announced it too early. I will definitely give it a go whenever they finally release it.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 9:42:15 PM

Eternal Sonata, any of the Atelier games (which may be perceived as girly), and Tales of Vesperia pop readily to mind. But that's about it.

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shadowscorpio
Saturday, January 26, 2013 @ 1:22:04 AM

Are you on the psn? You can buy the ps1 Final Fantasy games and if I'm not mistaken, Suikoden 1 & 2 are on there. This is of course if you want to try some old school stuff.

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DIsmael85
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 4:58:04 PM
Reply

You know it's a wonder Japan brings JRPG's to America in the first place. When we have something good it get labeled. However, when we get nothing folks pine and complain and remember the good ol' days of RPG's. Thinking back most of those RPG's were kiddie to begin with and had very convoluted stories. We accepted it back then because it was different from Shooters, fighters and action games. Now a days everyone is a critic and JRPG's get no love. If a true old school RPG was to be made by a Japanese developer I'm sure it'd get horrible reviews on how it never tried anything new. Take a look at Lost Odyssey for example. Sorry the art style of Ni no Kuni is turning some folks away, but if you can get over it you'll find that there is an enjoyable JRPG experience to be had. Something us JRPG "fans" haven't had in a long while.

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Raze22
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 5:09:32 PM
Reply

So basically your saying you don't like presentations or a theme that seem/are kiddie. Just like someone who doesn't prefer ultra violent stuff. It is a preference of yours, but saying something is kiddie doesn't mean you're insulting it or that it is meant to be insulting. Same thing with calling a game violent, girly, or over sexual. But what I'm really confused about is can you categorized a art style into kiddie when it is more so a theme? Princess Mononoke uses the same art style, but the theme is very different and is for more older people.

I do believe graphics, art style, presentation, theme and aesthetics plays a big part in a games overall experience (not as big as gameplay though). Hence why people where outrage with dante's new look and soul calibur V not having most of their usual mascots. Same thing will happen if gow4 has no blood and bayonetta 2 was scaled down on the sexy side of things.

On a side note, gameplay wise ni no kuni reminds of ff12 with digital pets put in. I didn't like ff12 a lot and the demo didn't convince me to buy it day one. Especially seeing I have a backlog, being busy, I also play handheld games, short on cash, and all the other rpgs I can choose from to play.

Despite all this I'll still get it down the line because it offers a different experience. It honestly reminds me of those high quality anime motion pictures, but put into a video game. Then Asura's Wrath reminds me of a anime tv series, it would be nice to put those 2 next to each other on my shelf.

Last edited by Raze22 on 1/25/2013 5:11:02 PM

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riptide8
Monday, January 28, 2013 @ 7:54:06 PM
Reply

You guys are in way over MY head. I didnt like the demo. I thought it would be hard to get into the story. I bought the game after reading about it and realized I was skeptical but ended up liking the other animated work of the studio. I wouldent call it childish its just different in the fact that a 7 year old can enjoy it as well as an adult. Im one that can almost always identify the " good " in anything and get past the not so good to find enjoyment.Yes I can play pokemon and have fun EV"ing up critters as well as enjoying Skyrim and many other darker type games.
Its a fun game, buy it and try it. Its not dark souls but Im having a good time with it.

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