PS3 Reviews: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Review

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Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Review

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Graphics:

 

9.2

Gameplay:

 

8.1

Sound:

 

9.0

Control:

 

8.3

Replay Value:

 

8.4

Overall Rating:       8.5

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Namco Bandai

Developer:

Level-5, Studio Ghibli

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

RPG

Release Date:

January 22, 2013

Like most of my fellow JRPG aficionados, I am of the opinion that there has been a shortage of top-quality JRPGs this generation. If you enter the handheld and downloadable realm, you can find more offerings but for the most part, it seems painfully obvious that the golden era of the sub-genre is past. That’s why I was excited to play the highly anticipated production from the extraordinarily talented teams at Level-5 and Studio Ghibli. However, although this is indeed a great game, I steadfastly refuse to be blinded by my staunch desire to see games like this flourish once again.

But before I dive into the nitty gritty concerning the gameplay and story, let’s focus on the graphics, which are undeniably spectacular. Studio Ghibli are masters of the art form and they have crafted a singularly appealing world, a meticulously detailed and animated adventure that never ceases to amaze. I still think more could’ve been done with the enemies and Familiars but that’s more subjective than anything else. The bottom line is that this game emits a certain charm that instills in one a true-blue sense of childlike wonder. Gorgeous color, fantastic design, plenty of visual variety, and a cleanliness of form and style that downright shines.

The sound is another highlight, as Ni no Kuni is technically superior in most all facets of a video game presentation. Not all the voices are spectacular but many are, and the soundtrack is one of the best you’ll hear this generation. It can be haunting and strangely subtle at times, while at others, the original score will embrace the lighthearted majesty of your quest. The music enhances and bolsters, it elevates our immersion without being intrusive. There’s a minor balancing issue between the effects, soundtrack, and voices, but it’s no big deal. All in all, when combining the nigh-on unparalleled visual and audio presentation, one understands the supreme effort put forth by the developers.

Welcome to one of the prettiest worlds you will ever see; it’s brimming with life and wonderfully drawn characters, and you’ll likely fall in love with this landscape. That’s a given, especially if you’re an old-school fan and a great lover of top-notch Japanese animation. It’s also interesting to see how the industrious pair of Oliver and Drippy actually travel across two worlds that are inherently linked; there’s the magical dimension known as Ni no Kuni and Oliver’s hometown of Motorville. It’s not all that complex but it adds an extra layer of depth and involvement to an otherwise straightforward quest.

Now let’s talk about the combat. Just so all the veteran role-players understand, this is not a traditional turn-based mechanic, in which you simply select commands from various menus. You control your characters in real-time, so you have to move them about the battlefield and if necessary, utilize careful timing to prepare your party for particularly damaging attacks. Yes, combat pauses when selecting a command but then again, a whole lot of games pause when choosing a skill or ability; Dishonored did that, and that isn’t even an RPG. Ni no Kuni's battle is similar to systems found in Final Fantasy XII and Dragon Age.

But in this case, you actually control both a human character and his or her Familiars. These are little allies that handle most of the physical heavy work, while the human fighter typically relies on different magical attacks and support capabilities. You are linked to your little buddy in combat; whatever damage he incurs, you incur. Furthermore, your allies can only withstand abuse for a certain amount of time; they’ll eventually get tired. Thankfully, you can carry multiple Familiars into encounters, and more depth can be found in the types of Familiars you employ vs. the types of enemies you face. There's much to consider.

It’s also fun to feed your Familiars outside of battle so they can grow in strength. The mechanic works relatively well but I have some significant problems with it, problems I hadn’t anticipated. Firstly, there are too many small nods to the action/RPG realm, what with the necessity to time defense maneuvers and special counters. I don’t recall ever doing any such thing in my beloved old-school RPGs, nor do I remember having to move my fighters about and try to combine movements with commands on the fly. With multiple characters and multiple Familiars and multiple enemies flying around all at once, I often found many battles to be too chaotic and disconcerting. And the boss battles can definitely feel cheap.

Sometimes, it’s just hard to see precisely what everyone is doing, and just how well they’re faring. On top of which, the random encounters are absolutely through the roof and there’s little chance of avoiding enemies, even though they’re visible on the screen. Oh, and let’s not forget that there are few save points in dungeons and if you die, you have to return to the dungeon entrance. I don’t have as big of a problem with the game fining me 10% of my money to keep earned XP upon death (that bolsters the challenge), but even I find far too much in the way of grinding and general annoyance associated with the combat here.

That’s significant because I rarely have a problem with grinding. I never did if I wholeheartedly enjoyed the battle mechanic…and unfortunately, I don’t in Ni no Kuni. It’s not turn-based and personally, I’m not the biggest fan of this Pokemon-like style, where creatures are doing most of the work for me. I spend too much time focusing on them and not enough on my characters, although Oliver and Co. get stronger spells and skills over time. And although I don’t mind a stiff challenge in battle, there are just too many instances where I had to say to the screen, “Well, that was just cheap.” Why? Partly because the AI isn’t too bright.

This leads me to the biggest problem, and the one issue that I’m willing to bet the RPG fans will voluntarily overlook, simply because they’re desperate for a perfect title. Look, the AI isn’t very good, there’s more action in the combat that most fans of traditional mechanics will want, and the story – I hate to say – is clichéd and not well written. I suppose you could argue that that’s the way a lot of old RPGs were, but A. That’s not 100% accurate, and B. I expect more from this generation. The dialogue, general plot, and character development are all average at best, and that’s a fact. I wish it wasn’t, but it is, and I can't shy away from it.

This all being stated (and with no small measure of disappointment, I promise), the game is still well worth your time. Not only are the technical elements fabulous and almost beyond compare, but there are plenty of traditional old-school RPG elements that we’ve been missing this generation. Yeah, you know what they are; I won’t list ‘em off, but so many are right here in all their glory. This proves to me great games can still be made with “old-fashioned” ideas and indeed, maybe those “archaic” ideas aren’t so inferior to the systems we’ve created for a faster-paced industry today.

And really, this is a heartfelt, wondrous journey that puts a smile on your face every time you load up your save file. You always wish to see what’s coming next, to explore and fight tough new foes, to nurture your Familiars and make ‘em formidable opponents, to meet new characters in your travels and learn more about your magical surroundings. In terms of environment and design style, there are few other titles this generation that can match Level-5’s most recent title as it pertains to a cohesive, in-depth, feel-good quest that enriches and entertains. Such traits lie at the core of this game and that absolutely cannot and should not be ignored.

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch isn’t the resurrection of a dead tradition and it doesn’t necessarily scream “evolution,” either. The story is clichéd and even boring at times, the writing isn’t anything special, and the AI and some design decisions are questionable. There’s just no denying any of that in my eyes. But it’s so beautiful, so likable, so charming, and so well prepared with such loving care, that it’s impossible to come away unimpressed or unsatisfied. Personal opinions notwithstanding, I imagine JRPG followers everywhere will love it and it does come highly recommended. Anything else that was said…well, it just had to be said.

The Good: Achingly beautiful graphics. Some great voice work and a beautiful score. Plenty of depth and engaging complexity. Dynamic combat. Bright, well-designed, immersive world. Traditional RPG elements are a plus.

The Bad: Story is disappointing, and the writing is barely average. Questionable AI and design decisions. Too many action-oriented elements in combat.

The Ugly: “Every last shred of this game is the exact polar opposite of the term ‘ugly.’”

1/23/2013 Ben Dutka

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Comments (78 posts)

Yukian
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 1:45:13 AM
Reply

I thought you were gonna give it a 9 but 8.5 is fair since you gave objective reasons. I'll get it as soon as I finish AC: Rvelations.

Thanks for the review, Ben! :)

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Beamboom
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 2:01:10 AM
Reply

In regards to the quality of the writing compared to jrpgs of a decade ago: Could part of the explanation be... That you've simply become older since then, Ben? You've read more, seen more, heard more in the meantime, giving you more perspective?

No offence to anyone here, I'm just thinking out loud.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 2:03:19 AM

The writing has gotten better in the industry. This doesn't reflect the strides we've made, that's all.

For the record, there were several JRPGs of yesteryear that had better writing and dialogue than Ni no Kuni.

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ethird1
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 2:45:43 PM

I remember when he talked about FInal Fantasy 10 part 2, saying it had a great story and that guys who refused to play it should man up and play dress the girlies up.

LOL!

End of Line.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 3:48:32 PM

Never once did I say FFX-2 had a "great story." Nor did I phrase my opinion of the game in that fashion.

But you have a habit of sounding like an idiot, so I should've expected it.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 9:23:20 PM

@ethird

uh.... wtf?

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homura
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 3:57:26 AM
Reply

Hehe, I'm going to get it this weekend.

I just hope that the story in this game, even though it's not as amazing as I'm expecting, is much more better than XIII-2.

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 4:05:42 AM
Reply

Thanks for an honest review Ben. I#ve been waiting for Ni No Kuni for so long now and cannot wait until it is released in the UK next week.

Even though it is not turn based, I still do not mind. I have been playing Xenoblade recently which also has a real time battle system and I love it. I noticed you mentioned the dreaded FFXII as a reference as many did with Xenoblade which is what put me off but beyond the enemies on the screen and being able to move you character in battle the game shad nothing else in common. I hope this is a similar case with Ni No Kuni.

I don't mind using the Familiars, but from the demo I played I just don't see the purpose of using the characters in battle. I like the idea of Oliver being a fragile state for when one of your familiars dies and then you have to be on your feet to get the next one before the enemy attacks Oliver - But other than that I see no purpose. Did you find yourself using the characters much through out the game?

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berserk
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 7:27:54 AM

So far it s useful , maybe once i get a couple more familiar it won t really be a good idea to select oliver tho .

For now he his the only one with a heal spell/skill and a fire spell/skill so i switch if i need some healing or the fire spell if i m against a plant type monster ( 1 shot them with it ) .

You re familiar have a stamina bar so you ll have to switch to oliver early on in the game at least .


Last edited by berserk on 1/23/2013 7:28:44 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 11:13:47 AM

What do you mean the "dreaded" FFXII? That game rocked.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 12:05:32 PM

It didn't rock, it was good but it sort of dragged and lingered more than "rocked".

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gungrave
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 1:08:55 PM

FF 12 is my personal favorite. Really mind blowing considering how good it looked on the PS2.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 1:09:26 PM

I didn't like the story (my least favorite of all the FFs) but I loved the gameplay. Did everything in that game.

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dmiitrie
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 2:33:57 PM

I'm just the opposite. I really enjoyed the story (until the occurians became such a big part of it, that is), but the game play turned me off quite a bit. However, I really enjoy DA:O, which has very similar mechanics.....maybe I ought to give it another shot. If only I didn't have such a huge backlog. Lol

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 5:00:39 PM

Me too Dmitri, the story had some great political thrust but the gameplay was largely automatic, maybe we should have seen the Full-auto in FFXIII coming...

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xenris
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 8:53:52 PM

I loved FF12, same with Ben I did everything in that game. Beat the hardest monster hunt things, and I figured out a way to get the zodiac spear for Basch really early in teh game :)

I also liked the story, Balthier is one of my favourite FF characters. He is like a james bond airship pirate.

Its not my favourite FF game but I did really like it.

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Gradon
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 6:34:03 AM
Reply

I am looking so forward to this I can't contain myself, can't wait for next week! It comes out the week my semester starts though haha. dang. :(

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berserk
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 7:22:39 AM

Some people from the uk bought it on the us psn store ( it s 5 less then retails ). Might want to check that option out if you can t wait anylonger ( 21 gb tho ).

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Gradon
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 7:32:05 AM

Thanks for the heads up! Think I may just invest in that, it would certainly be easier to play than when I start studies again. :)

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Temjin001
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 9:19:41 AM
Reply

Awww it's to bad it doesn't out do PSXe's current reigning jrpg PS3 champ.... Final Fantasy XIII

=p


Last edited by Temjin001 on 1/23/2013 9:20:20 AM

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Beamboom
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 11:55:50 AM

But in PSXEs defence they were not the only ones who overrated that game. FF13 is the most overrated game of the generation, in my not-so-humble opinion.


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/23/2013 11:59:39 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 12:03:49 PM

You hate JRPGs, Beamboom...of course you'd say it was overrated. And it wasn't. :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 12:11:33 PM

XIII probably should have been penalized more here for the awful writing and empty story if NNK is getting the same treatment.

Heroes! Blahhh.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 12:20:16 PM

That's a Fal'Cie LIE, WORLD!

I think I'll erect a monument in memory of FFXIII's amazing story! =p


That's it. I'm changing my name to Thunder because of blah bla blah bla BLAH

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Temjin001
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 12:21:54 PM

WORLD, WHAT'S YOUR FOCUS!!

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Beamboom
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 1:52:01 PM

Sorry but that's wrong, Ben. I don't *hate* them, I just haven't had any reasons to love them (yet?). That puts me in a minority around here, but really, not being a lover don't make me a hater.

The way I see it the first game floated on the history of the FF franchise.
FF13-2 received the metascore the first should have received. The high meta of the first game made little sense to anyone but jrpg lovers.


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/23/2013 2:04:04 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 2:35:59 PM

Uhhh my focus is to entertain PSXE readers and occasionally butt heads with them for the hell of it :)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 3:50:20 PM

Beamboom: I was probably being too specific. You seem to dislike anything that's linear, which is why you have the opinion you do of FFXIII-2 being better than XIII (because there's no CHANCE the story was better in XIII-2; it was abysmal).

So in my estimation, this makes you immediately biased against games that don't have the so-called "freedom" of open-world titles (where freedom is usually just an illusion in the first place).

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 1/23/2013 3:51:25 PM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 9:26:28 PM

Butting heads with some -WAS- my focus. Then I turned to crystal on like... day one. I'm writing to all of you through your dreamlike states via telepathy like Vanille and Fang did for Serah.

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homura
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 11:03:20 PM

World,
Why did say that the story in XIII is empty and awful? I will agree with you if it's XIII-2. But still XIII-2 has more beautiful moments than Enslaved even though the story in Enslaved is much more solid and does make more sense.

Temjin,
Lightning changed her name to remind herself that she needs to grow up fast and tries to forget that she is still her mother's little girl, which reminds her that she's also a young woman who also needs protection and still vulnerable, she's got to be strong for Serah because she's the big sister. Changing name is typical in Japanese story to forget painful past. For example in Samurai X, Kenshin's name is given by his master because his master thought that his true name sounds weak and inappropriate for a Samurai and his painful past so he was given a much stronger name to remind him to be become more strong to protect those who can't protect themselves.

Beamboom,
FFXIII in my opinion deserves it's score. The graphics is amazing, the battle system is also amazing but not as amazing as the past FF, but still amazing compared to other JRPG, the music is amazing even though not as amazing as the past FF but still good quality. In terms of story I do like the story of XIII rather than Mass Effect 2, it has more focus and scenes plays beautiful unlike in Mass Effect 2 where most of the story is told standing in a room going blah blah blah. That's why I like Grunt and The Illusive Man the most in the game. The Illusive Man will do anything to save the earth even if it's dirty tactics just to have more chance of winning against the Reapers.

Last edited by homura on 1/23/2013 11:05:41 PM

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Beamboom
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 11:22:37 PM

Ben, what a strange thing to say? I'm not of the opinion that FF13-2 is better than FF13? Where do I say so? I've never even played FF13-2. I have no opinion of that game.

What I say is that FF13 was NOT a game that deserved a meta of 8.5. Not cause of linearity, but cause of the utterly cheesy dialogues, nonsense battle system, meaningless story, unappealing characters, it really was a dull game who held very little value for someone who's not into the FF franchise from before.

The only good thing I have to say about it was that it looked good. It hardly even deserved a meta of 8 sharp, and that's where we find FF13-2 at. Ergo did the sequel receive the meta the first should have gotten, according to my opinion.


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/23/2013 11:35:31 PM

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homura
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 12:08:55 AM

Beamboom,

You should read Lawless review of this game in the user review section, it's unbiased because it's also the first time he played an FF main title game. And if you still disagree with it and still don't accept the meta score. Oh well.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 1:13:33 AM

Too much of that is opinion, Beamboom. The battle system wasn't "nonsense" and was actually one of the better mechanics of the generation, if you fully understood it. The "unappealing characters" accusation is also 100% subjective, and I've certainly seen far cheesier dialogue.

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Beamboom
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 7:42:17 AM

By all means, lots of opinion to be found in most things I say. That is the luxury of being just a regular gamer and not a reviewer, Ben. :)

No but seriously, I am so extremely average by nature that it's tragic: The meta score of any game is pretty much a failproof indicator of what I will think of the game. And if I don't like it despite the score, then I at least still understand the score it has.

But not so with FF13. Not even close. If I now wrote a "mini review" of the reasons why I thought it sucked, linearity would not have been mentioned. Linearity is like a luxury problem compared to what I were met with in that game.

It *is* also interesting to note that while FF13 received a much higher meta on the PS3 compared to the X360, with the FF13-2 the meta is almost identical across the two platforms. That, to me, is at least an indication that the PS3 reviewers might have been more influenced by the legacy of the franchise than the X360 reviewers, something that then got adjusted after FF13.

But - *ugh* - we will never get anywhere with discussing this. So I just hereby use my right as a private gamer to say that topping *my* list of most overrated game of this gen is indeed FF13. So there! ;)


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/24/2013 7:59:54 AM

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homura
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 8:38:43 AM

Actually, the PS3 version is better than the 360 in graphics, XIII has a large data 45GB if I remembered correctly so they compressed something in the 360 version to fit it on their disc, I don't know how many. XIII-2 PS3 version was downgraded so they can fit it in one 360 disc, so the graphics suffered, XIII graphics is much better than XIII-2.

Last edited by homura on 1/24/2013 8:39:34 AM

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Beamboom
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 11:02:40 AM

That much storage space must have been used for video clips, Homura, and if that was the case only the cut scenes suffered.
I mean, there's no way there was like tens of gigs of textures. The PS3 only got 250mb of video ram. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/24/2013 11:03:34 AM

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xenris
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 11:05:45 AM

Everyone's opinion here on which games/genres are the best is purely subjective and 100% their opinion.

Ben you can't say that something is someones opinion in one sentence therefore invalid because you think they are biased. Then in the second sentence state your opinion like it is fact.

You didn't like the combat system too much, which was your opinion. I think Ni no kunis combat system is an amazing evolution of the JRPG genre.

Just because you think its too chaotic does not mean that it is too chaotic. All that says is that it is too chaotic for you, unless you can give a reason most JRPG fans would enjoy the game more if it was turn based or slower paced or whatever you think it should be.

Even if you could give such reasons they are only going to be based on what you subjectively like anyway. We know you like the slower nature of turn based combat, so anything you say about this combat system is going to be slightly biased.

WHICH IS FINE. It is a review it is supposed to be your opinion, and people who tend to value your opinion because they share a similar one are going to get more out of the review than someone who tends to like games you don't like and vice-versa.

That is why it is important to find a reviewer you can trust because you find you can relate to their opinion.

But this whole exchange between Ben, Beam, and Homura is just people saying their opinion is right and the others is wrong.

Also Ben don't tell me that reviews are not opinion. I know that they aren't 100% opinions as a professional reviewer you should be trying to look at it very objectively, but we are all human and in the end it does come back to your opinion on the game and experience with it. I've said this before but if I played the most technically perfect, and amazingly built RTS game I would want to give it a lower score because I wouldn't have as enjoyed it as much. But RTS fans would hail it as the second coming. My point is that everything has a subjective nature to it and telling people that their opinion is wrong compared to yours is like comparing dick sizes.

For the record I think an 8.5 is a great score, I haven't played enough of it to give it a score myself though.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 11:19:32 AM

xenris, I'd really wish you'd step off your soapbox for two seconds.

First, I never said reviews didn't contain opinion. I said they weren't entirely opinion, and they're not. Second, I said specifically that I didn't care what the combat mechanic was, and I gave OBJECTIVE reasons in the review for why it is not an elite system. Whether I like it or not is irrelevant; I could love it, but I'm not blind to the problems, like others (perhaps you).

I also know you want to think reviews are mostly opinion, which is flat out wrong. If you played a fantastic RTS and give it a lower score because you didn't like it, you have failed in your task as a reviewer, and are not correctly servicing the public. You can explain that you don't like it in the review, and maybe that it can affect the score a LITTLE. Any more than that does a colossal disservice to the quality of the game and those who made it.

Quality, if you haven't figured it out already, is NOT SUBJECTIVE. It isn't. It never is. We start thinking that, and we're all in very big trouble. I can draw you a picture. You might actually like it more than you like the Mona Lisa. Doesn't mean my picture is of a higher quality, now does it?

Lastly, I never said anyone's opinion is "wrong." I addressed objective falsehoods, such as saying the battle system in FFXIII is "nonsense." That's not Beamboom's opinion; that's an inaccurate assessment. Unappealing characters is purely subjective; badly developed characters is NOT. These are differences that you need to wrap your head around, obviously.

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xenris
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 1:17:40 PM

Read my post more thoroughly, I never said they were entirely opinionated I said in the end it comes down to your opinion of the game.

You can look at the technical stuff of a game, and it can be great but you might not enjoy the game, for one reason or another. Should you NOT reflect that in the review? I think it is a greater disservice to the public to give a game a good score because you think that that is what is should get even though you enjoyed it less. Example you said in Ni No Kuni that it was almost impossible to avoid the battles and that you got into way more than you wanted to. Well my experience with the demo was totally different. I frequently avoided fights on the world map, and only in dungeons where there spots where I had to fight because I couldn't sneak around. Again I could say your whole review is false and I am objectively right because when I played I didn't get into as many fights. Just like you saying that DQ8 didn't have a lot of random encounters? Good lord every couple of steps dude, and I recently lent it to a friend and watched him play it. Yup still a crap load of random encounters, but you claim that you could roam the land without any? Don't know what game you played, unless you constantly had holy water on your party.


Do we not play games to enjoy games? How can you say that your enjoyment of the game should only affect your score a little? The gameplay is the most important at the end of the day because it's a game. It brings it back to you having to rate it based on your enjoyment. People are going to have different levels of enjoyments for different genres and games based on how relatable the game is, how fun the game is and how good the graphics and sound is.

Ben the only reason you think that the Mona Lisa is of high quality is because you have heard that it is. You have no idea why it is held in such revere and I'm sure only staunch art critics could even begin to try to explain why it became so popular.

Quality has objective components, but at the end of the day no matter how good some body tells you something is, it is up to YOU to decide whether you like it or not.

Games are no different in this regard. I could tell you why mass effect 3 is of low quality, I could rip apart the game, show you reused assets, voice clips, cut quests, bugs, and an overall lack of polish compared to ME1 and ME2. These are not opinions but you would say that they are or that it is biased even if I showed you proof to your face, because what I don't have a gaming review website? Or you would say I'm entitled or whiny or un-pleasable or some other patronizing response you love to dish out to people in the comments section.

It is of value if someone who games to hear a totally honest review of how someone felt about a game they are interested in. Not because of the artistic merit of the game, but because of the human reviewing it who is most likely to have a similar experience to them.

THAT is why I said it is important to find a reviewer that you tend to agree with. That way they wont lead you astray in a review.

As for you not saying anyones opinion is wrong, um FF13s battle system could play itself for most of the game up until near the ending. There are playthroughs of people using auto battle for most of the game, and there are a lot of reasons why people hated the combat in FF13. Is they combat system nonsense? No but Beamboom thought it was and so do others so there is merit to that statement.

Saying that it was not Beambooms opinion but an inaccurate assessment is basically saying that is Beambooms wrong opinion.

I don't need to wrap my head around anything Ben, I understand there is more subjectivity to things in the world. Something that I think you should wrap your head around.




Last edited by xenris on 1/24/2013 1:22:13 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 3:38:05 PM

I may not remember DQVIII as well as I thought I did. I'll give you that. Either way, if I played it today and the encounters were higher than I wanted, it would be mentioned, as it was in this review. However, I never once said I "could roam the land without any" battles.

The only reason I "think" the Mona Lisa is any good is because people tell me it is? That's a common, lazy dodge. It's the equivalent of the extraordinarily dangerous stance that there is no quality in art, no objective talent to see. That just because somebody liked my artwork more, I am a better artist than Michelangelo. It devalues talent and is a colossal insult to genius. The Mona Lisa's status is irrelevant. I can't do it. I couldn't do it with ten thousand years of training because I don't have that ability within me.

You, however, are taking the stance that opinion supersedes talent, which is part of the reason WHY we don't have any Michelangelos or Mozarts today. We are teaching our children that talent and ability don't matter because everything is just all "opinion." It's just so easy to do, isn't it? To label everything opinion? Because that reflects the retarded, extremely catastrophic theory that everyone is all the same. That anyone can do anything.

It isn't true and never has been. My opinion should matter very little. You shouldn't give two sh*** about my personal preference when it comes to reviews. It's a total fallacy to do so. If we all have different opinions, what's the purpose of producing a review based entirely on opinion? What good does that do ANYONE? I can't dictate another's opinion nor would I want to. I'm here, as other experts in other fields are here, to tell you if the product is good. If it's a quality product. I cannot write a review on a five-star restaurant because I don't have that level of expertise. And I would NEVER expect people who read that review to take it seriously. You, apparently, would. And that's ridiculous.

"Nonsense" can be looked up in the dictionary easily enough. In no way would FFXIII's battle system fit that term. Other derogatory terms could be associated with it; nonsense is hardly one of them, which is why it's incorrect.

I hate to tell you this, but eventually you might learn- The world is not comprised entirely of gray, as I know some people would love to believe. Not everyone can do everything, quality is not dictated by personal opinion, and those who have expertise in certain areas are more qualified to talk about those areas than others. You can hide behind your rationale all you wish. It's an escape route. By all means, escape. I'll live in reality, thank you.

P.S. Don't bother with writing a novel in response. I won't read it; I'm very busy right now and based on your stance here, and your embarrassingly entitled stance on ME3, we are not going to see eye to eye. Let's just leave it. You want to erase quality from earth and claim everyone is the same...highly communistic and socialistic and WRONG but hey, you're entitled to say what you will.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 1/24/2013 3:42:19 PM

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xenris
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 4:38:59 PM

Thanks for using a straw man to attack my points.

Stop putting words into peoples mouths :) By the way you use the word entitled I can tell you also believe in the gray relative value of things. For you do not care what the word entitled actually means. You use the word to slander people who you disagree with, to dismiss valid points as nothing more than childish whining.

I was disappointed with ME2 and ME3 because I expected a fully realized RPG in the same vein as ME1. But by no means does that mean that I felt entitled to it.

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Temjin001
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 8:35:02 PM

You should check out Gamespot's senior editor review for the game Xenris. The review persuaded me that he 'connected' with the experience and delivered the review hopeful investigators would be more interested in. It's amazing how perspectives alter based on a gmaes's ability to sell you it's world.
Similarly it was obvious of Assassins Creed 3 who bought the atmosphere and who didn't. Those who didn't, hammered the critical details, like bugs and policies of how an open world game ought to be, and those who did overlooked things, like its crappy combat and bugginess but enjoyed it a lot more. Perhaps the truth is somewhere inbetween ;)

Last edited by Temjin001 on 1/24/2013 8:37:59 PM

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Underdog15
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 8:42:34 PM

I actually hated this site's review of DQ8 and felt it was, in many cases, devoid of fact. But that wasn't Ben. Don't think he was even a writer here back then.

@Beamboom
On the difference in graphics between the two systems, the graphics were essentially the same. The difference was caused by the xbox version being compressed more. So when it was extracted, it had more decompression to work through, so it definitely made things look not quite as smooth. There are comparisons online if you are interested enough.

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Temjin001
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 9:44:36 PM

Adding to the 360 FFXIII stuff. The FMV used Bink for compression, a terribly outdated compression system. It was significantly less rich in FMV bitrate. Also, the engine was very rough on 360 at the time so it literally rendered at a lower pixel resolution in game and it's frame rate suffered in the big green outdoor non hallway plains part (forget its name) =p
Apparently the 360 was brought up to snuff for XIII-2

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Temjin001
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 9:57:08 PM

GRAN PULSE

haha got it
Didn't look it up either =p

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Beamboom
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 9:07:21 AM

If I had known that my use of the word "nonsense" would have triggered THIS much analysis, I'd be more careful when choosing a word to describe how I found the battle system to be.
Either way, it was *not* fun.

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Underdog15
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 9:15:12 AM

I agree beam. I found it far too simplistic

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xenris
Friday, January 25, 2013 @ 10:27:57 AM

@Temjin

Yeah see that is the thing with reviews and really the gist of what I was trying to say here.

Example, Fallout 3 and Elder scrolls get great scores. Yet the amount of bugs(some game breaking) you can count in those games is quite high, they usually have glitches and in some areas lack polish. However they still get high scores because the reviewer connected to the game in some way or looked past them. Much like how I felt about Alpha Protocol, loved that game and critics nit picked the bugs that they would have let slide in a Bethesda game.

It's kind of why I don't take game reviews seriously anymore. It just seems like there are so many double standards going on.

That is why I ask around, talk to people and gather their opinions. Because someones opinion on a game that I am interested in is of value especially if I know they tend like the same games as I do.

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xenris
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 9:42:26 AM
Reply

The review is good, the only part that puzzles me is the part on the grind and that there are too many encounters.

Old JRPGs were the worst for this because they are random. Legend of Dragoon, FF9, Dragon Quest 8, The Last Odyssey and pretty much every old JRPG has a LOT of random encounters.

Would you say you think this is more than those? Or simply that your taste towards random encounters has changed somewhat and you don't enjoy the grind as much? Or was it a combination of that and the that you didn't like the combat as much as you would have if it was more turn based so the grind felt more noticable?

All just legit questions. I'm enjoying the game thoroughly and think it is one of the best JRPGs I have played. Love the combat and the story is nice, cliched or not I like simple stories.

In the demo I didn't find it hard to avoid encounters on the world map, but avoiding them in dungeons did seem almost impossible.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 11:12:59 AM

None of the JRPGs you mention have the frequency of encounters Ni no Kuni has. Definitely not DQVIII, where you could roam a ways without running into one, definitely not FFIX, and although LoD was closer, it's still not to the same level.

I still love random encounters. And yes, if I had really loved the combat, I wouldn't have been as irritated with the frequency. When a game is actually TURN-BASED, I don't mind...that's the other main difference between Ni no Kuni and those games you mentioned...those were all turn-based. ;)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 12:13:06 PM

I dunno which version of DQVIII you played Ben, but I played the one where I literally (pen and paper)averaged the number of steps I could take between encounters and it added up to about 10.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 12:16:01 PM

a question Ben. Do you rate a jRPG's combat lower if it isn't turn-based? I'm curious because while turn-based has it's own flavor, i don't think everyone thinks of it as superior, just different, to a more action-oriented jrpg design. I mention this because it seems to matter the most to you over any other critic or gamer I've encountered.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 1:11:13 PM

World: I really didn't have a problem.

Temjin: No. Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy XII are two of my favorite games of all time, for instance. I prefer turn-based but if a mechanic is great, it's great. I don't find the system in Ni no Kuni to be "great."

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xenris
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 5:11:59 PM

Thanks for clearing that up. Was just wondering your opinion on the matter.

I have to agree with World though, DQ8s random encounters felt like they were every two steps to me and only remedied by using holy water, not that it was ever an issue. I don't have a problem with frequent random encounters though, was just curious what a lot means.

I really loved the combat in Ni No kunis demo so I don't think that I will mind if there are a lot of battles.

I still need to play Vagrant story...I rented it once when I was younger and just didn't really get it because I hadn't played many RPGs. I hope they do an HD remake of it, but ... what am I talking about Square wouldn't do something awesome for me :(



Last edited by xenris on 1/23/2013 5:12:29 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 12:07:11 PM
Reply

I guarantee it doesn't have as many encounters as Skies of Arcadia (DC version not gamecube). Still loved that game.

Anywho, thanks for an honest review Ben, surprised to see it getting higher ones at typically hater sites. Mine will be here some day this week and I'm gonna attack it on Friday with fervor. My backlog just got sent back to the back.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 12:17:43 PM

gamers should unite and abolish backlogs. we should have a national backlog burning day. really if the backlog is always second fiddle to the more important games, why not just ditch the backlog...

Binary Domain NO!!!!!!!!!!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 2:38:23 PM

The backlog is a time-honored tradition for when genres get repetitive. The tradition of re-buying games we sold is one I never understood and then became a victim of... alas poor me.

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 5:15:52 PM

"Backlogs forever"

Backlogs are also great for when you're out of work & have zero income or any life savings left.

At least for a little bit at night I know I can play games from my backlog to temporarily escape the massive tonnage of my recent financial woes & the dread of a much worsening future.

"LONG LIVE BACKLOGS"

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xenris
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 8:58:00 PM

Temjin don't you dare skip out on Binary Domain!!!

I loved that game :P

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gungrave
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 12:25:12 PM
Reply

I realy don't agree with this review. I understand it's your opinion, but I feel like if it's not exactly the type of game you like, you mark it down. Not turn based waaah :'(

Same goes with all Lightning returns info, you always throw jabs at the game. Yes, we all know you hate the fact that it's not turn based like the old FF, but how about being a bit more professional about it.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 1:12:21 PM

The game got the score it deserved, and it has nothing to do with whether it's turn-based or not. Too many people are willing to turn a blind eye to the obvious flaws just because they're so desperate for a JRPG resurrection.

That's the long and short of it.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 5:03:14 PM

You should cut Ben a little slack, this isn't a straight news site it's meant to be entertaining and most fans of the FF franchise agree. Also people need to learn to separate the articles from the editor's comment posts. Everyone seems to conflate the two and it's bugging me.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 9:30:31 PM

@World

Truth.


I'm loving Ni no Kuni so far. I'm not sure what I'd put it at just yet, as I don't have any human allies yet, and I'm not sure I fully know what it offers for depth yet. It's charming for sure, and I just want to keep playing it. But I did find the start to be slow from a gameplay perspective, although it charmed me from a story perspective almost immediately.

I'm still not committed enough on it to fully say what I think of it yet, though.

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Abidan13
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 12:55:14 PM
Reply

I agree that while Ni No Kuni "doesn't necessarily scream evolution", it definitely shows the evolution of design aspects and how developers are trying to incorporate the old and new. This is something I can respect. I appreciate that this game is not turn-based and still feels like the games I grew up with. It has that nostalgic quality in its admittedly simplistic writing. I'm okay with that.

Honestly, maybe the writing is something that younger children will be willing to play Ni No Kuni for. If this game can inspire one youth to play more JRPGs, I will consider Ni No Kuni an overwhelming win for the industry (which I already do).

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 5:01:26 PM

Indeed, it FEELS right (going from the demo, my copy hasn't arrive yet) but is up-to-date so that's pretty amazing if you ask me.

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berserk
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 9:23:26 AM

Some people also need to know that 8.5 is a pretty good score . It s easy rating a game 9 + when doing a user review or postion his own opinion but a real review got lot s of stuff to take into account.

I might not agree about some stuff he said ( too many random encounter for example ) but that score is about right for me too .

FF13 score is another story tho :p

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Deleted User
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 1:09:05 PM
Reply

I'll certainly purchase this game at retail (21 GB is crazy) at some point this winter, perhaps around late February. At the very least, RPG lovers should give the game a chance. I do want to play Tales Of Graces F first as I'm a fan of the Tales games.

I'll always trust Ben's opinions because he's a video game journalist and always does his homework before writing a review, as opposed to the so-called "game journalists" who abound all over San Francisco.

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Raze22
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 2:23:19 PM
Reply

You think the ps3 version would score higher than the ds version. It goes to show how handheld games can still stand their own ground against home consoles. Both are great games regardless and I hope the localize the ds version. 2 completely different games based on the same thing and 2 wonderful experiences.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 11:38:11 PM

... or that the competition is stiffer on the consoles. :)

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grayfox2k8
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 2:26:32 PM
Reply

In my opinion, the game is a solid 9/10 in my book. It belongs in a higher category than FFXIII, and XIII-2. Its like Pokemon, and Tales of series, in terms of combat.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 5:10:13 PM
Reply

While I've only played the demo I found that bit of combat to be much more than meets the eye, innovative in that I've never seen this combination of elements before and it functions as a next gen version of turn based that doesn't devolve into an action RPG.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 5:19:21 PM
Reply

HEY mine just arrived! But I don't really have time, dunno if I should start it without an open-ended block of gaming time.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 9:31:51 PM

You can save anywhere except dungeons, so you're safe to start with limited time. First dungeon isn't for over an hour or so. And even there, save points are not large stretches of time apart.

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DemonNeno
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 6:13:48 PM
Reply

I have to agree about the fighting mechanics being far from ideal. One other question that's kind of driving me nuts: Does dialog intentionally cut out at points? They'll be in the middle of a conversation and voices cut off, replaced by the subtle sound fx for the subtitles that pop up. It's driving me crazy!

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Underdog15
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 @ 9:33:56 PM
Reply

Well, my amazon pre-order hadn't even shipped today, (expected it to arrive today) so I used the pre-order download code, then cancelled the order. I went and bought it from Walmart because the EB (closest game selling place to my house and I was in a hurry) was sold out. The Walmart near my house only had 3 left!! It must be selling well, I hope. It's at least popular in my neighborhood, apparently.

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Beamboom
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 8:01:03 AM

... Or they just ordered three copies. ;)

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Underdog15
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 8:43:58 PM

Haha, no. I talked to the guy at the counter about it. He went on about how it seems to be doing well, how his buddy had been going on about it, etc. Said he sold 4 during his morning shift of Tuesday.

I have no idea how many they had, though, as you say. lol. But the shelf it was stored on looked a bit disheveled and pillaged.

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riptide8
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 1:44:41 PM
Reply

Good review.,I am a little anoyed flashing through aimless dialog. The combat takes a little getting used to.Everything in the game works fine,flawless.Game was delivered day one by Amazon. My 7 year old cant wait to play it and Im enjoying it.There is a lot of reading to do in the spell book.

Last edited by riptide8 on 1/24/2013 1:48:29 PM

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