Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
By Mark Raby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Compelling story with strong role models, loss, and battles.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn how to deal with tragedy, overcome obstacles, and become an emotionally stronger person. The storyline in Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is all about turning a life-changing event into something positive. By playing, kids can experience how others deal with tragedy and simulate how to overcome obstacles in life.
Role-playing games are generally expected to be all about self sacrifice, working for the greater good, and getting along with others on a mission to a happily-ever-after finish. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is no exception. The positive messages in this game are even stronger, though, as the journey is more about self reflection, overcoming tragedy, and rising to the occasion, than it is about destroying countless monsters and villains. While combat is definitely a big part of the game, players will likely find themselves more focused on the well-written storyline of human accomplishment and personal growth.
Positive Role Models
The hero in this game, Oliver, is the quintessentially perfect role model. He may not be the typical heroic type in that he doesn't enter the scene with the archetypal bravado, with guns blazing and ready for action. Rather, he has a much more quiet personality. He is polite, fun to be around, and exudes kindness. Where he really shines, though, is in the way he deals with a major tragedy in his life. Instead of sulking, he shows that bad situations can be turned around into something positive. Along the way, Oliver interacts with several characters who are all just as nice and friendly. More importantly, though, because of the very well executed storyline and dialogue, players will find themselves easily relating to Oliver, which makes his impact that much more powerful.
Ease of Play
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch has a very unique battle system. Players will need to develop a very specific style of strategy in order to truly succeed at this game. The strategy involves swapping between different "Familiar" creatures on the fly, and thus making split-second decisions during the occasionally frenetic combat. That being said, this game is designed to appeal to the pre-teen crowd as well as the experienced gamer, so understanding the complex strategy is not vital. Overall, the experience is whatever each individual player decides to make of it, but the difficulty level should not be seen as a deterrent to interested gamers.
Violence & Scariness
Combat is an integral part of the game. Players will encounter numerous creatures that must be defeated before they can progress. However, most of the violence occurs with non-human creatures called "Familiars." Rather than attacking the enemy creatures directly, players direct their Familiars to do battle for them, in a manner similar to what is found in Pokemon games, but at a faster pace. This one step removed fighting, combined with the combat being very colorful and fantastical in nature, lessens the sensory impact of battle. There is no blood or any other flourishes that highlight the combat; the depiction of battle is simply just a means of resolving conflict that players need to overcome.
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There are sparing instances of the words "damn" and "hell" throughout the expansive storyline.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There are inconsequential references to wine. In addition, one fantastical creature is depicted smoking a pipe.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a fantastical role-playing game (RPG). It features one central character who bands together with a group of friends to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey. The storyline contains a major tragedy in the life of the young protagonist Oliver. Because of the well-executed story, players come to care deeply for Oliver, so this tragedy is something that will stick with them for the duration of the game. It helps explain Oliver's mindset as he travels the world and attacks creatures that block his way. Combat is slightly detached, since Oliver is not actually involved in the battles; instead, he sends out creatures called "Familiars" to fight on his behalf. It is all very colorful and fantastical in nature. There is occasional mild use of profanity and one creature who smokes a pipe. The most impactful content, though, is the emotional roller coaster that players will follow with Oliver.
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Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
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What’s It About?
NI NO KUNI: WRATH OF THE WHITE WITCH is about a boy named Oliver who lived a pleasant and regimented life, until one day his world was turned upside down by an immensely tragic event. Rather than giving up on life, however, Oliver decides to embark on a journey to save his kingdom -- a journey that will end up molding not only who he is, but also everyone around him. His impact on the world ends up being much greater than if he had just stayed home, proving the very powerful message that no matter what life throws your way, you can turn it into something infinitely positive.
Is It Any Good?
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is the kind of game that exemplifies not only what is great about its genre, but also the video game industry as a whole. In an industry that is filled with either mindless combat and mission-solving, or games that have incredibly cheesy or boring storylines, this game is the rare gem that has a truly masterful and well-executed story, and uses the interactive nature of video games to truly pull players right into the middle of that story. The combat system is just as uniquely satisfying as the overall experience of the game, allowing players to develop their own specific strategy not because they're forced to, but because it happens naturally as they progress through the game. Each player will develop his or her own style of combat, making everyone's gameplay experience one-of-a-kind. Anyone who appreciates video games and a good storyline will enjoy this game; it is as simple as that.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Parents can talk about the violence and combat in this game. Is the impact different when you're battling fantastical creatures as opposed to humans?
What is the worst tragedy you have had to cope with so far in your life? How did you overcome it?
Try to come up with an example of when you were able to turn a bad situation into a positive one.
- Platform: PlayStation 3
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading, reading comprehension
- Skills: Emotional Development: developing resilience, empathy, moving beyond obstacles, persevering
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Namco Bandai
- Release date: January 22, 2013
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Simulated Gambling
- Last updated: August 26, 2016
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