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Malik (2/11/13)

I've been pretty good at being bad at posting here. Truth be told, I've been spending more of my time on the Infinite Lives Podcast than over here for a few months now. So, if you need a fix for my insights, you can find them over there. However, I'm still making an effort of keeping up with some posts over here as I find the time to balance between a full time day job, podcasting, and trying to play games.

The game playing right now is a definite drain on my time. It has been coming down to a lot of Ni No Kuni for the last week and a half. As a fan of Studio Ghibli (the animation studio behind Princess Mononoke, Porco Rosso, Howl's Moving Castle, etc.), Ni No Kuni is a dream come true. I cannot emphasize how much this game looks like a major animation release from Ghibli. There are a few moments where I have a small bit of trouble telling if I'm looking at something from the standard game engine or from an animated cut scene.

More than the visuals, the game is flat out addictive. It's action RPG glory in every possible way. I'd say the game reminds me strongly of a Tale of game in most ways, but with a better plot than Tales of titles ever try to achieve. With that said, I should say the plot is also a lot more towards the lighthearted side of things. This is not a game filled with political intrigue. At the end of the day, this is a story about a kid who misses his mom. Now, if that sounds like fluff material for a 40 hour RPG, then you've definitely never watched a Ghibli film. I mean most movies from Studio Ghibli come out with plots that can be summed up as simple as "doesn't understand the meaning of being young", "learning to accept and love one's parents" and other "fluff" subjects.

Back to the game play, the game is a cross of Tales of for the combat, Pokemon for party development and growth, and almost any Level 5 (who developed Ni No Kuni) project for interactions in town and exploration mechanics. In other words, it's a great mash-up of quality from every side of the gaming spectrum. It's also a good game for balance. The game can go from easy to hard in a matter of seconds, but in those seconds you probably didn't pay attention or made some rather poorly thought out actions. However, if the game gets too rough, you can always bump the challenge level to easy from the configuration menu.

As it stands, right now, I'm about 15 hours into the game. This means I've hit some classic RPG elements. I have my full party (you get three people, but start with one), have my first vehicle (a ship), have a lot of side quests done and a few more to work on, and have been pretty much introduced to the major protagonists and antagonists. Being at this point, I feel like it's a safe call to say this is the best RPG I've played on the PS3, and this may be my favorite RPG of this console generation. At the very least, it is definitely the best JRPG I've played this generation.


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