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Ni No Kuni demo impressions

I just tried the demo for an upcoming PS3 JRPG called Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. It's BEAUTIFUL and I'm sure it's going to be one of those rather obscure but fantastically crafted Japanese RPGs that do a lot of things different from the rest of the games in the genre. Just like Xenoblade for example.

Ni No Kuni is about a boy named Oliver who travels to "another world" to help his mother. In his journey he'll meet friends and foes alike, learn to fight and help a lot of people, talking animals and other fantasy creatures along the way. The art in the game is made by the same studio from the Totoro movie, so you can imagine that the work from those guys mixed with excellent PS3 graphics results in a jaw-dropping game visually.

The demo lets you play in two areas, one is a forest with tons of trees, animals and a bunch of rivers and waterfalls and the other is an erupting volcano. It seems like the game is divided in two parts because the forest quest lets us control a younger-looking Oliver alone in battle and low in level, skills and abilities while the volcano area has him accompanied by a blonde girl named Esther and he seems stronger and more sure of himself. It's pretty cool.

It also looks like the battle system will provide Oliver and friends with some Pokémon-like creatures they can use in battle to cast spells, attack enemies and things like that. The forest quest only has one but the volcano one lets you use three different little monsters. The fights are slower than in other games like Final Fantasy XIII or Tales of Graces f but it's very fun and looks rather deep, something a JRPG needs to avoid boredom and simplicity in its battles (I'm looking at you Atelier Rorona). Ah, the soundtrack is incredible as well.

The game comes our in January 2013, just a few weeks away so I'm pre-ordering my copy now. It really looks like it's going to be a great addition to the PS3 catalog. I recommend to download the demo off the PSN and give it a go. Look at a few screenshots:

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