Author Topic: Ni no Kuni: Shikkoku no Madoushi Impressions  (Read 2516 times)

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Offline gypsyOtoko

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Ni no Kuni: Shikkoku no Madoushi Impressions
« on: September 16, 2010, 10:34:32 AM »

Hear about the introduction sequence to the Level5/Studio Ghibli collaboration.

Today, James Charlton and I hit the Tokyo Game Show, and after scoping out the floor, I decided the first game to hit would be Level 5's Ni no Kuni for the DS. Having heard that the game was going to be released on a special DS cartridge, I was dying to find out what the difference would be.

The version on the show floor allowed the player to start either from the beginning of the game, where the player would obviously get a chance to see how the story starts out, or continue from a saved game, where I assume that the player would have more of a chance to try out more RPG-like elements such as battle. Being someone who hates jumping into the middle of things, I went for the new game option.

The game starts out introducing us to Oliver, the hero's protagonist, who lives in an automobile town with a name similar to my own hometown - Hotroit. He quickly meets up with his friend Mark, who excitedly tells Oliver he's just finished a certain project he's been working on and can't wait to show Oliver after school. After the conversation ends, Oliver heads home to his mother, Allie and shovels down some food she has made for him before heading to school.

Later at night, after school, Oliver sneaks out and over to Mark's house in order to take a look at the project he was referring to earlier. It turns out to be a homemade car with room for one. The two decide to test it out over by the river. Once at the river they play rock, paper, scissors to see who is going to be the first to drive, and although Mark wins, it turns out he's made some miscalculations in designing the car and as such has made the driver's compartment too small for his own frame so - Oliver gets first crack.

Just as Oliver gets into the car the player is taken back to Allie, fast asleep at home. She wakes up to a nightmare of Oliver falling into darkness, screaming "Mom, save me!" and so decides to go check on him. Once she realizes he's not in bed she panics and goes looking for him. At this point the player is shown an FMV of Oliver driving the car. Proving Allie's intuition correct, one of the tires breaks off of the car and it goes offroad and into the river. As Oliver is thrashing for his life in the water, Allie happens upon the two boys in the nick of time to save him.

"I'm sorry I worried you, mom. And I'm sorry I wrecked your car, Mark!" he utters as he wakes from his unconsciousness. "Are you kidding? I can always make another one!", Mark replies back. Just as everything seems hunky-dory, Allie bends over to pick up an article of clothing Oliver left behind and begins to feel a pain in her chest. She becomes bedridden for the time being.

Oliver, worried sick about his mother neglects to eat for two days. Overcome with grief, he begins to recollect the past, in particular when his mother goes to work for presumably the first time since he was born. In order to keep him from becoming lonely, she explains that she worked hard to make a stuffed animal to keep him company, and because of the love that went into making that stuffed animal whenever it is with him, she too is with him. Just after he recalls this, his tears of grief fall to the stuffed animal and it transforms into a living being.

Unfortunately, this is where my demo time ended, so I'm not entirely sure what comes next. Though I am looking forward to finding out more about the game's story in the future.

Being that the game is a product of Level 5 in collaboration with Studio Ghibli, its audio and visuals are stunning. The game engine renders the characters and objects they interact with in 3D with a 3/4 perspective on top of hand drawn backgrounds. The result is beautiful, very much like a Studio Ghibli feature come to the DS. There were also plenty of FMV shown in the first 15 minutes of the game, all of which were beautiful and didn't feel compressed at all. It would seem one of the reasons that the cartridge for the game is so big may stem from the fact that there is plenty of spoken dialogue in the game - every conversation having to do with the main story had accompanying spoken dialogue with it in the short time I had with the game.

I hope to have another chance to try the game in order to try the gameplay out and report back on that soon.

Offline Jonnyboy117

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Re: Ni no Kuni: Shikoku no Madoushi Impressions
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2010, 11:32:10 AM »
The story sounds really, really serious. Knowing Studio Ghibli (and Level 5 too), I'm interested to hear about the more light-hearted elements as well. Thanks for the detailed report!

Offline Sundoulos

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Re: Ni no Kuni: Shikoku no Madoushi Impressions
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2010, 02:43:23 PM »
I'm so psyched for this.  You know, if this doesn't make it over to the U.S., I will be importing it somehow.  I suppose the special DS cartidge provides more storage for the video?

What does the subtitle, Shikoku no Madoushi, mean?
« Last Edit: September 16, 2010, 02:47:40 PM by Sundoulos »
"A creature revolting against a creator is revolting against the source of his own powers--including even his power to revolt...It is like the scent of a flower trying to destroy the flower." - C.S. Lewis, in a preface to Milton's Paradise Lost

Offline MegaByte

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Re: Ni no Kuni: Shikoku no Madoushi Impressions
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2010, 03:17:59 PM »
Jet-black Magician, contrasted with the PS3 version, White Ash Queen.
Aaron Kaluszka
Contributing Editor, Nintendo World Report