Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch originally released in Japan 17 November 2011 for the PS3. Years later, we revisit Oliver’s journey to the other country, in upgraded resolution and frame rate (PS4 and PC only). The game is otherwise mostly untouched, so, how does this story go? Incidentally, the sequel, Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, launched on both PC and PS4 23 March 2018, which we’ve reviewed prior.
Oliver is your main protagonist in Wrath of the White Witch. This child is a resident of Motorville, a small, quaint town. He and his friend, Philip, have some secret project that Oliver sneaks out at night to see, and it turns out to be a motor vehicle of their own! All the while though, some cryptic figures watch over his actions, and it culminates in their attempt on his life. Oliver survives, but his mother exchanges her life to save him. In his despair, Oliver’s tears bring a toy – a gift from his mother – to life, and he gets Drippy, a fairy companion.
The story may not hold major surprises for seasoned JRPG players, but that’s arguably not the point of the game. It’s the journey there, and in a world of iconic rolling Ghibli hills and colourful characters, it’s one that’s easy on the eye. The graphical fidelity is improved for the PC and PS4 remastered versions, which is pretty much the only thing the remastered version has over the original release.
Oliver will not be starting out strong, as you’d expect. Slowly, you’ll be amassing a repertoire of magic to help him fight better. You’ll also have access to familiars, which would likely be your best method of attacking for a while. They’re like pets, and they learn skills not dissimilar to Pokemon. You will be able to equip yourself and familiars with gear, too. Familiars have a stamina bar when you deploy them, so you’ll need to swap around effectively between yourself and your creatures.
Battles are turn-based, with timers counting down the action cooldowns. “Glims” can drop off enemies, and they can either heal your HP, or MP. Hit their weak point, or block a big attack, to get Glims, as the tutorial informs you. You’re free to move around in battle too, so work on positioning as well. It may look simple, but there’s plenty of wiggle room! No pun intended. You won’t always be alone either, with companions joining you later on in the quest, so play around!
You’ll be roaming the world, picking up quests and helping people out. You’ll find citizens who are broken-hearted, and you’ll need to give them heart once more. With permission, you can take some ample heart from another to pass it on. Slowly, Oliver will become a stronger mage with your help, restoring hearts and gaining people’s trust!
The early game has an incredible tendency to hold your hand, nor is there much to do. Tutorials will come at you a lot. Much of the first couple of hours is dedicated to cutscenes and establishing shots, so you should settle in and take it easy. It’s clearly one for children to enjoy, what with the difficulty options available: Easy for those who simply want to move through the story, and Normal. In some ways, it might be good to think of Wrath of the White Witch as an interactive Ghibli movie.
If you’re looking for a relatively standard, comfy JRPG, you can’t really go wrong with Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered, more so if you haven’t gotten the original release. This tale of wonder would surely give rise to some nostalgia, as you see the world through Oliver’s innocent eyes, for the good old days. At the end of it all, flip through your compendium and be amazed at just how far you’ve come.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered
A comfortable tale full of Ghibli charm awaits.
- Graphical upgrade from the original release
- A playable Ghibli movie, with the story, art and music package
- No extras apart from graphics upgrade
- Can be too hand-holdy at times
Maybe the game is the journey and the lessons we learnt along the way.