Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Review

Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience.

Reviewed on: Playstation 3
Developer: Level 5
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Rated: "E10+" for Everyone 10+

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki
Presentation 9/10 
Ni No Kuni is one of the most unique and whimsical looking games I've played in quite some time. The simplistic yet detailed visual style screams adventure and childish wonder.
Gameplay 7/10 
While mechanically sound and at times impressive, Ni No Kuni is so full of RPG clichés and the same mechanics that have made the genre so dated that it's almost laughable.
Lasting Appeal 9/10 
The developers have done a great job in creating a fantastic world, full of hidden quests and enough fun and whimsical adventures that you're likely to stick with the game for quite some time.
Overall 7/10 
Ni No Kuni is a great RPG -- but it's still just that, an RPG; and one that suffers from a lot of the same problems that have made the genre seem dated and lackluster.
CHEATfactor 0/10 

It didn't take me long to fall in love with the world of Ni No Kuni. The whimsical and often fantastic visual style reminded me of my adventure seeking childhood and the movies I would watch that would fuel that need to explore. Then it hit me -- that's all I was in love with. Yes, Namco Bandai has created a remarkably fantastic RPG world that's unlike much you've seen in gaming, but it's still an RPG, and a pretty predictable one at that.  For all it does right; the in-depth world, interesting mechanics, Ni No Kuni is filled with RPG clichés and the same predictability that has put the genre on the endangered list.

The first thing you're likely to notice about Ni No Kuni is the remarkably unique and whimsical art direction.  The best way to describe the visuals of Ni No Kuni is that it's a remarkable Anime come to life. The attention to detail and the creative creatures and world designs make for a world that's near impossible to fall in love with. It's made all the better by the fact that the world has such a believable quality that those same visuals (and the unique musical score) make you feel like you want to investigate every corner of the world, and more often than not you'll actually find something new and unexpected in those corners. Namco Bandai have created a remarkable world that's fun to explore and even more remarkable to merely exist in.

"Where Ni No Kuni goes wrong though is with its story, and its pacing."


Where Ni No Kuni goes wrong though is with its story To say that you've heard this story and played this game before would be an understatement as Ni No Kuni does a lot that's been done before. Young boy not aware he's meant for more? Check. Small quaint town that's slowly revealed to be more than it seems? Check. Endless grinding and the insistence that the story needs to be told in a painstakingly slow manner? Dear lord yes. Here, our heroes name is Oliver, and he's the (of course, unbeknownst to himself) only one who can save the world his spirit guide comes from. If he saves the fairy world, he also gets a shot at saving his mom who died years ago saving him from a raging river.

You know how this story goes. Oliver is going to start off as a young boy who doesn't know the power he yields, but as the game progresses and he levels up, he'll figure out more powers, and begin to understand his true potential as a wizard. Just how does he do this? Why, constant grinding of course! A lot of Ni No Kuni is spent running around the massive map getting into random fights and trying to level up before getting into large (and admittedly impressive) boss fights. Now, I understand that there's a significant amount of gamers that this is going to entice, but it just made the story crawl so slowly. It also didn't help that it was so frustrating to have the level and attack ability to defeat a huge boss, but thanks to an uneven difficulty spike, I was unable to defeat some of the simplest enemies that followed.

"...frustrating to watch a powerful attack become almost useless."


Technically, Ni No Kuni is a billed as an action RPG, but at times it feels like it doesn't know if it wants to stick with that notion or go towards more of a turn based formula. During most fights you're able to move freely around the battlefield, but you'll still que up attacks and watch them play out against your chosen enemy. The problem is that a lot of these attacks are canned animations, and your character acts almost like a windup toy, and most of the attack animation is all wound-up before you even reach your opponent. While this isn't true for all of the game's attacks (some of the magic spells are downright awesome), it's frustrating to watch a powerful attack become almost useless.

It's unfair to say that Ni No Kuni is completely RPG clichés, as the game does employ some pretty cool ideas. Take for instance the mechanic which finds you assembling a team based on creatures and critters you'll find throughout the world. It's a mechanic similar to Pokémon games and should keep you searching through even the world's smallest nooks and crannies. Of course, it doesn't help that the AI of a lot of these critters is paper-thin, and regardless of what orders you give them (stay put, go all-out), you'll be throwing the controller down in frustration when they do almost the exact opposite.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is that girl you knew in high school. Prettiest girl at the dance, with even the hint of originality; but when you dig down; she's still the same as every other girl you've seen before. Ni No Kuni is a great RPG -- but it's still just that, an RPG; and one that suffers from a lot of the same problems that have made the genre seem dated and lackluster. You're going to hear the story about a young boy who's meant to be more, you're going to grind. If that's your thing, you're going to love Ni No Kuni, but it's not enough to change anyone's mind.

CHEATS USED: Trophies List
J-RPG's like Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch don't often have a lot of cheat codes, and save for the trophies, there are none available for the game as of this writing, I would love to have a cheat that allows me to instantly level up, since constantly having to go slow down the game's pace is incredibly annoying. A cheat to find some of the game's more elusive critters would be helpful as well.
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