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Judging by the cover of this book, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch may look like a game made to please a young audience. The thing is, it's not. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch has a child like charm to it, but at the heart, it's a game made for fans of old school JRPG's looking for a breath taking world filled with character's they can care about.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch stars your everyday kid, Oliver. Oliver is that young boy adored by the locals of Motorville for his innocence and pure heart. After a tragic event involving the death of his mother, Oliver is greeted by a fairy that goes by the name, Drippy. Drippy has been trapped under a spell for years that has transformed him into a doll until Oliver's tears free'd him from the spell. Now, Drippy needs Oliver's help to stop the evil sorcerer, Shadar, from taking over his world, and succeeding may possibly bring Oliver's mother back. Accompanied by Drippy and the new friends they meet along the way, Oliver embarks on a wondrous adventure filled with many surprises and the truth he secretly seeks.
The beautiful world of Ni No Kuni was made possible from the talented people at the world famous, Studio Ghibli studio. Filled with diverse environments, lovable characters, Familiars, and towns people, Ni No Kuni drew me in and made me never want to leave. This gorgeous over world is fully explorable by foot, boat, and even dragon. Yes, dragon. The smallest details in Ni No Kuni stuck out to me the most like Oliver's cape moving with the wind and Oliver having to change into a bathing suit every time he entered a certain town. A game can't depend on it's looks alone, though. Ni No Kuni's art style is complimented by the game's amazing soundtrack. Combining these two truly made me feel like I was playing a Studio Ghibli film.
Ni No Kuni isn't really a hard game. With that said, there are parts that will require some preparation and possible level grinding to progress through the game. If you're a fan of Poke'mon and/or the Tales of games, You'll be happy to know Ni No Kuni's battle system is somewhat similar. Each character shares their health with their Familiar(s) that are tamable early on in the game but takes complete luck to actually tame one. Oliver is fully controllable during a battle and can also be switched between Familiars and party members during the battle. During these fights enemies will drop different color orbs. These orbs can either provide health, mana, or allow a character or Familiar to unleash a special attack. If you plan on performing well during battles later in the game, learning how to manage your party during a battle becomes crucial because it becomes frustrating when the AI can be no help at all. Oliver and his team gain exp after battles that will eventually level up the members of your party when a set amount of exp is reached. When a Familiar reaches a certain level, they can metamorphose into their next form which in most cases is just a pallet swap of the Familiar with hardly any noticeable differences.
If you enjoy the option to use alchemy in your JRPG's you'll be glad to know you can create items, foods, equipment, weapons and more by following formulas or mixing and matching different ingredients together. Oliver is also equipped with a creature cage that allows you to check on Familiars that are currently in your party and feed them food that raises certain attribute levels depending on the type of food. Your Familiar also gets a bonus if they're fed their favorite food type.
Ni No Kuni does have sidequests for the people who may want to take a little break from the main story, or is just a completionist, like myself. The only problem with these sidequests are that they aren't very unique and can become repetitive pretty fast. These quests usually have Oliver finding someone to extract a heart piece from one person to give to another person who may be lacking that same heart piece. Completing these side quests earns Oliver merit stamps that are stamped into a merit stamp card. After filling up a certain amount of stamp cards you can spend these cards on merit awards that provide Oliver with new abilities.
Ni No Kuni is filled with a ton of post-game content for the people who find themselves wanting more out of this world. Game's like this are rarely made, and with a beautiful world filled with towns, magical monsters, and a wonderful cast of characters on a great adventure, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a JRPG fan's dream game.
Thomas Was Alone isn't just a game about blocks that can jump. It's a truly unique take on what a puzzle-platformer can be when blended together with art, sound, gameplay, and a narrative that grabs the player and refuses to let go.
Thomas Was Alone is a puzzle-platformer game about a unique group of characters that never knew how much they really needed each other. These inanimate objects are filled with so much personality without having to say a single word. Who would have thought something so small could carry so much along with it. Before playing this game I would have never known a rectangle could develop feelings or carry the burdens of the everyday person, and I didn't expect to fall in love with Thomas and his friends like I did.
Thomas Was Alone features an amazing soundtrack that drew me in and made me feel like I was in for a pleasant surprise before I even pressed new game. Upon pressing new game, of course I was pleasantly surprised by how well the soundtrack goes with the game's overall feel. Right at the start you'll be introduced to the game's outstanding narrator, Danny Wallace, complimented with great dialogue that's sole purpose is to share Thomas's story while sneaking in a couple of humorous gaming memes in there, too.
Throughout the game's unique but simple geometric levels you'll play as Thomas and the other characters he meets along the way to reach specific portals to progress to the next level. Each character comes with their own personality and their purpose brings a level of depth with them that is needed to complete the puzzles along the way. This sense of team work made each character a necessity to overcoming obstacles that came with with this indescribable feeling you don't usually get with puzzle-platformers. I felt like these shapes, these friends, started to evolve into this family that I had the pleasure to watch come into fruition.The game plays so well due to its easy to learn simple controls. The levels never came off as too challenging including a couple of parts that required me to really think, but I was okay with this since I wanted to progress through the story to see where these portals would take Thomas and his new friends to next. I have no doubt that some may find this game too easy and short, but I find the game length and difficulty to be perfect for telling a magnetic narrative that stuck to me after the credits were done rolling.
Thomas Was Alone is a small game with a heart bigger than the Vita screen I played it on, and if you're looking for a unique experience that may possibly offer a slight challenge, Thomas Was Alone is just for you, you, you, and you.
The PlayStation Vita has been out for a good while now and due to a high price, lack of developer support, and not enough software to warrant a purchase for many, Soul Sacrifice was viewed by Vita owners as the hope to finally declare the handheld's killer app. Is this the game that people have been waiting for to finally hop on the Vita train? Lets find out.
Soul Sacrifice puts you in the shoes of a slave being held captive by the mad sorcerer, Magusar, and the only way to escape is to read the magical talking book, Librom, who claims to be a past sorcerers journal. Now you must secretly read and relive the events in the book to learn the spells used by the past sorcerer that can help you defeat Magusar and escape imprisonment.
Soul Sacrifice can easily be compared to games like Monster Hunter and Ragnarok Odyssey but with slim similarities, Soul Sacrifice holds enough diversity to claim its place in the genre. What sets this game apart from the rest is the game's gameplay mechanics. Instead of using weapons to slay these monsters each sorcerer is equipped with an arm filled with Offerings. These Offerings are pretty much your weapons, your magic attacks, and healing spells that can later be created by with the power of fusion. Each Offering can only be used a limited amount of times before you need to find a small area within the arena to renew your sorcerer's offering power. Upon killing a monster you're given the option to save or sacrifice this monster. The more you save and sacrifice, the more you level up. Choosing which path to take really changes the gameplay up and can be tailored to fit your playstyle. There's a catch, though. With the level cap standing at level 100, choosing how to split both roles really depends on you prefer to play. Choosing to be Divine and saving these monsters boost your sorcerer's health, defense, and unlocks more Offerings that fit the supportive role. If you choose to go down the Dark path you'll play a more offensive role unlocking Offerings that can take down these monsters faster than the next sorcerer.
Your sorcerer is completely customizable with unlockable outfits, Sigils, and Black Rites that replace equippable armor that we're used to seeing in these types of games. These Sigils can be carved into your characters right arm giving him/her special abilities and minor to major attribute increases. Black Rites are special offerings that require your sorcerer to sacrifice a part of their body to unleash a devastating attack that comes with a hefty price with a result that can only be reversed by using Lacrima (Libroms tears).
The story is told through the Librom in the form of journal entries with very little cutscenes. There's lore in there for the people interested in the monsters back story but some will probably just find themselves flipping through pages to get straight to the battles. Like other games in the genre Soul Sacrifice is mission based but are known as Phantom Quests. The goal in most quests require the player to defeat a monster or monsters, and some may require you to collect Soul and Life Shards. After each quest you will unlock new offerings and earn points based off of your results.
The environments in Soul Sacrifice are a pleasurable surprise and look great. The larger arenas lose all of its effect when I find myself running through most of the quest because I have to search for enemies that are rarely found in groups. This can really become annoying when trying to complete a quest as quick as possible. Revisiting the same arenas repeatedly only to face off against pallet swapped versions of monsters start to become repetitive. The enemies in Soul Sacrifice were pretty well designed but I only wished there were more of them instead of the same monsters with minor tweaks. Trying to lock-on to enemies may seem difficult to some so I highly recommend switching the lock-on button to toggle. Trust me. You'd want to do this.
I found myself playing online more than offline which I could only play in short bursts. After defeating a giant Cerberus with a group I found myself hooked and found it hard to put the Vita down to charge. The majority of quests can be played with others online. If you ever find yourself part of team with that one person who can't hold his/her own and continues to die, you can sacrifice this person. This isn't always a bad thing. Sacrificing a partner unleashes a magic attack that damages all enemies on the field and as a ghost, this person can assist the team by buffing the ones alive and debuffing enemies.
Though this game is highly addicting and hard to put down, I don't see people dropping 250 bucks down on a Vita for this game alone. But if you're a Vita owner looking for a game to sink plenty of hours into, go ahead and sacrifice your hard earned cash shards on Soul Sacrifice.
My Recent Reviews
May 22, 2013 9:26 pm GMTabnergoinbig gave Dark Souls a score of 8.0
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May 15, 2013 3:00 pm GMTabnergoinbig posted a new blog entry entitled The Journey Of A Boy And His Fairy (Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Review)
May 15, 2013 2:58 pm GMTabnergoinbig reviewed Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and gave it a score of 9.0
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May 7, 2013 10:40 pm GMTabnergoinbig added Thomas Was Alone to their owned game list
May 7, 2013 10:39 pm GMTabnergoinbig posted a new blog entry entitled The Super Hero Inside (My Thomas Was Alone Review)