Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, developed by Level 5 and animated by Studio Ghibli and published by Namco Bandai Games is taking the gaming industry by storm. Not everyone expected the game to be as utterly fantastic as it is and this game really is the best game to start off 2013. Whether it be the stunning animation, exceptional soundtrack or gripping story, Ni No Kuni surprises in every way and presents something special, offering something for almost any gamer. Read on for our full review and thoughts…

Ni No Kuni is an obscure Japanese RPG, developed by the fantastic Level-5, creators of the Professor Layton series of games. Ni No Kuni is a PS3-exclusive title and really offers a lot to the console – Sony are very lucky to have been able to acquire this gem as an exclusive title. While this game may look like your average RPG, it isn’t. The entire package comes together in complete bliss and perfection and offers something you don’t get from most RPGs… something special.

The graphics (not shown off too well in the trailers) are absolutely stunning. Character models, vivid worlds and outstanding cutscenes are all presented in the quality you would expect from an animated film – Studio Ghibli really have outdone themselves on the graphical aspect. The game runs smoothly and the cutscenes are perfectly transitioned into gameplay, all looking immaculate. Particular effort went into character design, that fact is clear due to the perfection to which each character appears in the game.

A stunning soundtrack accompanies the game, a score created entirely for the game and only the game by a Japanese musical master. Each tune is unique and exclusive to this game – very little is not sound created for the purpose of the game and each track of music suits the game and its graphics perfectly – all coming together in unity and completion. I feel it is amazing the fact that Level 5 worked on the story, Studio Ghibli worked on the animation and another man created the soundtrack, yet they all come perfectly together, even down to the nitty-gritty.

Now, moving on to the exceptional story. You play as a boy named Oliver who has been named “The Pure Hearted One”. Oliver’s mother has just died and he is determined to get her back by defeating Shadar, an evil man in another world whom he has been chosen to save. A princess in this world was damaged by Shadar and this princess is the doppelganger of Oliver’s mum.. if he saves the princess, his mum may be saved too.

The story requires time, and lots of it. Approximately forty hours of gameplay are featured in this game, however, each and everyone is as gripping, fun and enjoyable as the last. Once you start playing this game – you will be hooked and find it VERY difficult to stop! Oliver is a boy who is well mannered, kind, gentle and innocent. He does not wish for glory or reward, he simply will do anything that may get his mother back and this personally made me very attached to him. You will likely begin to care about him and the story as it draws you further and further into its unusuality and purity.

The battle segments of the game, which involve you attacking or using spells, or, using your allies and spawned “familiars” are extremely similar to Pokemon, and this really is a lovely way to do battle. Most of the battling in the game is quite simple and lighthearted, as this game is more about the story than the gameplay (which is a good thing in the case of this game). HOWEVER, there are many side quests (errands) that can be done to lengthen the time of the game and the amount of gameplay in the game.

I could go on all day speaking of the wonders of this game and its many further features, whether is be the gorgeous graphics, exquisite soundtrack, outstanding voice acting, differences to the normal, boring formula, excellent story or its general brilliance, however, I think you’ve now got the picture that this game is a must play for ALL PS3 owners. This game is probably a contender for the best non-Sony developed Playstation 3 exclusive, and one of the best RPGs of this generation. It really is a masterpiece and deserves a lot of praise and many sales. Here are the final scores…