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Neal Chandran
E3 2012: Ni No Kuni Impressions
Neal plays the upcoming Level-5/Ghibli Masterpiece.
06.07.12 - 12:51 PM

Ni No Kuni was on prominent display at E3 and the game looks just as beautiful in motion as it does in still shots. The movement in the game is wonderfully fluid, looking every bit like an interactive anime, both in-game and in the cutscenes, and the transitions between these are seamless. Adding to the fluidity is a camera that I never needed to adjust. It was always placed perfectly and the few times I chose to adjust it, it panned smoothly.

The game had two timed demos: a fantasy based one with overworld exploration and multiple normal battles, and a more steampunk styled one with a huge town inhabited by anthropomorphic boars wearing armor, anime cutscenes, and a boss battle against a blue, boar-shaped mecha tank called Porco Grosso. Yes, that reference made me chuckle.

Battles take place in a free-roaming battlefield with a system that reminds me of Final Fantasy's ATB system and Grandia's IP system. It's not terribly different from battle systems in most modern JRPGs, but it plays out fluidly, the camera pans perfectly, and the battles are as fun to play as they are to look at.

What I heard of the classically-styled music is solid, and the English voice acting (mostly from UK actors) I heard was well done and fit perfectly with the vibe of the game.

I only wish the two selectable demos weren't timed, so I could have delved more into the battle system and got a better sense of the storyline, but for now, the fact that the game animates and plays as beautifully as it looks makes me want this game.


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