At this moment in time, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is currently basking in critical acclaim from Journalists all over North America and Europe. It is currently sitting at a very pretty 87 on Metacritic, and it seems that most gamers are excited about this brand new JRPG. The interest in the Level-5 and Studio Ghibli collaboration seems to have sky rocketed since the publication of Colin Moriarty’s IGN Review, in which he awarded the game an ‘Amazing’ 9.4/10, and a lot of journalists seemed to have followed suit, each one praising Ni no Kuni for it’s storytelling, breathtaking visuals and dynamic gameplay.

However, my question is, how long until this hype dies down, and is Ni no Kuni destined to be pushed to the side-lines and forgotten just like so many other JRPG’s of this console generation?

 

 

The JRPG was King back when the PS2 was at the peak of it’s popularity, so many games labelled as classics, such as Final Fantasy X and the Persona series. However, with the introduction of the HD Console era, JRPG’s have taken a back seat, losing in popularity to those created in the Western world, such as Bethesda’s Fallout and Elder Scrolls series and Bioware’s Mass Effect and Dragon Age. A lot of gamers have slammed the archaic mechanics that JRPG’s seem to embrace and are frustrated that Japanese developers continue to produce these games like this, despite the Western world seemingly having moved on. Even Final Fantasy XIII, despite selling well, was not a hit with gamers, with most claiming the series as dead.

From Software blew a breath of fresh air over the industry with the release of their brutal but critical acclaimed offerings Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. These games provided a more westernised RPG experience, a dark story set within a Medieval world with fast paced real time combat. The unforgiving difficulty put a lot of players off, but those that stuck with the games were treated to one of the most satisfying and rewarding JRPG’s in recent memory.

The sales of those games were good, Dark Souls in particular which now has an official sequel in the works, but Ni no Kuni again appears to embrace the more traditional aspects of the JRPG.

 

 

I believe that the release window of Ni no Kuni has not done the game many favours. In just a few short weeks, more popular and well established IPs such as Dead Space 3 and Crysis 3 will be releasing on consoles, both offering single player campaigns as well as online multiplayer to increase the longevity of the experience. Ni no Kuni is a single player game with no online modes to speak off. I come from the school where I believe that not all games need an online component shoehorned in to make it a fantastic game, however the general gaming public would seem to disagree and love a good game of Team Deathmatch or some kind of equivalent. Both Dead Space (the new one at least) and Crysis are ‘Shooters’ and in the western world Call of Duty has proved that the Shooter is King. Those are just two upcoming titles. We still have Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto V and a new Gears of War game on the horizon that are going to offer consumers countless of hours of gameplay, that for the most part will be shared online with friends.

It seems then that Namco Bandai games had no choice but to release the game at this moment, as to avoid the post E3 hype and chaos of next generation consoles looking more likely to be revealed and potentially even releasing by the years end.

Ni no Kuni is also releasing as a Playstation 3 exclusive, which is why I’m sure there was the Ninostarter Campaign in North America, the most popular territory of the Xbox 360, in order to entice people to invest in the Wizards Edition of Ni no Kuni and generate more interest for the game.

At the moment this appears to have worked, the Wizards Edition is sold out almost everywhere right now, so sales of Ni no Kuni will at least be acceptable.

My issue is whether or not gamers are going to stick with Ni no Kuni through it’s 40+ campaign and hours more of level grinding, when these other well known IPs are just around the corner. If history tells us anything then the answer would unfortunately be a resounding No. I believe that Ni no Kuni will unfortunately remain a niche title, as so many other JRPG’s of this console generation have become. Who remembers the likes of Eternal Sonata? Lost Odyssey? Resonance of Fate? Infinite Undiscovery? Did they produce any sequels? Better yet, who actually played them to completion? Not a lot I am guessing, and yet these were all games that were released to some form of critical success in the west, but like Ni no Kuni, they had little to no marketing push outside of the online realm.

 

 

I have genuine concerns over Ni no Kuni, not about the quality of the product, but about it’s legacy. It’s clear that so much love and attention has gone into the creation of this game, and after playing through the demo I realised this was the JRPG I had been waiting for, and I’m thoroughly excited about playing through it. I just hope I’m proved wrong and Ni no Kuni will not fall into obscurity like so many that came before it.
Only time will tell.

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White witch is out now in North America and 1st February in the UK.

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18 Comments

 

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  1. by brooklyn - 1081 Points - January 23, 2013  9:42 pm


    This is like a kotaku headline. Its sensationalist not in the best way lol."> Actually you know what.. the title of this artcle is the problem as its vauge and misleading so you cant really fault the outrage to a degree. The title almost implys that the game will be forgotten on its own merits because it doesnt mention anything else in it like "destined to fail due to bad marketing" or ... "Destined to fail due to evolving game tastes or western market" etc

    This is like a kotaku headline. Its sensationalist not in the best way lol.

    • by Scatigno - 1023 Points - January 24, 2013  2:15 am

      Yeah I had a feeling it was the title. To be honest, it was going to be sub-headed with 'The Sad State of the Videogame Industry', but I didn't want to make it overlong. I guess that backfired lol. Even still, a title is a title and it's the content within the article that should matter, although I understand that the title is what will attract people to read it in the first place. Ah well. I'm sure everyone will get over it in a few weeks when they have moved on to something else :)

  2. by Scatigno - 1023 Points - January 23, 2013  4:03 pm

    LOOOOOOL! I've had soooooo much hate thrown at me today on N4G about this article. It's crazy. Honestly, people throwing that venom. I guess I forgot that within the gaming community actually having your own opinion on things means you get hung, drawn and quartered. I think people need to chill, go knock some boots and have a smile afterwards, because right now I'm just gonna be like this about the whole situation.

      • by Scatigno - 1023 Points - January 23, 2013  4:54 pm

        lol see, people are crazy man. I think I touched a nerve with a lot of people. That's the thing though, no one could actually speak to me like an adult and have a good healthy debate, they went straight into the personal attacks. I mean damn, it's an OPINION piece, I don't expect everyone to agree with me, but at least have the decency to respect my opinion whether you agree or not, and to be truthful I wasn't even that arsed about N4G anyway. Whenever I write anything of significance on here I put it on N4G, but I'm more concerned about what you guys think, because I talk to y'all everyday lol.

        I think a lot of people clearly missed the point that the article was more to do about the state of the videogame industry today and how many quality games kind of slip through the net because they are not marketable to the more mainstream audience, which is why I named those particular upcoming games. Yet people took it as though I was trolling Ni no Kuni. lol like seriously dude? I've been praising the game and wishing for it's success throughout the article and you call me a troll? Shit is crazy.

  3. by tanto - 0 Points - January 23, 2013  7:18 am

    "JRPG’s have taken a back seat, losing in popularity to those created in the Western world, such as Bethesda’s Fallout and Elder Scrolls series and Bioware’s Mass Effect and Dragon Age."

    Is that why jrpgs globally always sell more and make more profit?

    " A lot of gamers have slammed the archaic mechanics that JRPG’s seem to embrace and are frustrated that Japanese developers "

    Generalization

    "continue to produce these games like this, despite the Western world seemingly having moved on. Even Final Fantasy XIII, despite selling well, was not a hit with gamers, with most claiming the series as dead."

    1 game out of thousands generalization

    This article is garbage

  4. by Scatigno - 1023 Points - January 22, 2013  7:59 pm

    Hmmmmm nobody appears willing to approve my article on N4G and I think a couple of trolls are gathering in the comments section too. Will be interesting to see if there are anymore in the morning when I wake up. My guess would they took one look at the title of the piece and immediately came to the conclusion I was hating. I mean it's too difficult to use your brain and actually read the article right? I bet none of them actually did read it.

    From an unbiased standpoint does my article seem offensive or as if i'm hating on Ni no Kuni?

  5. by brooklyn - 1081 Points - January 22, 2013  4:28 pm

    Damn. I hear you. I think the larger issue is that JRPG's are just not mainstream and this is not a well known franchise. Im kind of hoping for the price drop lol but yeah I think we all know that this will be at most a cult classic since its not a shooter.

    My concern is more about how much griding will this game require. I heard that its grindy...

    From the destructoid review:


    "So it is that Ni no Kuni becomes a game all about leveling. You level up your familiar to get it to the point where it has to start again from scratch, then level it up some more so it can start from scratch again. Every familiar has three forms (the final form being one of two unique variants selected by the player), and if you aim to have a strong party, ready to face the sudden difficulty jumps presented by boss encounters, you better be prepared to grind like a workhorse."

    "I'm somewhere in the middle. I can appreciate a good grindfest, but I find Ni no Kuni sometimes takes it to extremes. This is already a long game, and when every new area of the map requires a few hours of training to survive, progression slows to a crawl and threatens to become an excruciating bore."



    For me the verdict is out until I hear that its not more grindy than persona 4. I think thats about as grindy as im going with any game.

  6. by Mad Dragon249 - 231 Points - January 22, 2013  4:26 pm

    I remember back when the ps2 was out you couldnt browse a shelf of your local game store without finding a JRPG, but its a shame shooters have taken over as the dominant genre. Although give it a few years and another genre will undoubtedly replace it, just like how fighting games like Street Fighter and Tekken used to reign.
    Oh, and Im glad to say I have every game mentioned in this article :P .......have only completed Infinite Undiscovery tho....need to crack on with my games.