So the demo for Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was released on PSN yesterday (or the day before that in America, I believe.) After wrestling the updated PSN store into submission (seriously, it took like 4 or 5 attempts to download just the demo) I got my hands on this demo. The game itself, I've been looking forward to for absolutely ages. Even despite the fact that it sold nowhere near as many copies in Japan as it should have. Studio Ghibli and Level-5 collaborating on a PS3 jRPG should definitely be an interesting project from my point of view.
Before I went off on a tangent, I was going to talk about the battle system in Ni No Kuni...
Some in game stuff now(below), and these are what the battles look like. Very clean interface and not at all cluttered. Smooth speech bubbles and timers for actions and defending (which you can hit a button to cancel out of when you need) You can move around the battle environment freely, as in some other games. This adds a whole different dimension to the battle systems (which I found difficult to get the hang of at first-in fact, I was beaten in the first battle as I didn't realise exactly what I could do.) Hopefully the final game will have some sort of tutorial system to ease new players into the game.
The demo offers two scenarios which you have 25 minutes to play through before they end. The first of the two more or less chucks you into battle against a boss right from the start, which can be very difficult..The second of the two takes place in a volcano and has really nice detail and effects in the environment. I didn't manage to beat the boss at the volcano, but got through the timed rush to the end of the area with fairly few problems. The first scenario took me a couple of attempts to get through. It looks like there is quite a lot to think about in this game, and it makes it difficult in that the game is fairly fast paced. There are a few ways to pause it, but not a pause button per se, its more just the going into menus that will end up giving you a bit of a break if you need a "cuppa tea." Which brings me to my next point. The game has some..distinctly British localisation, similar to Xenoblade Chronicles or Dragon Quest VIII. While its something I can chuckle about being from Scotland, North American or gamers elsewhere might not get some of the nuances. It hopefully shouldn't be too confusing or anything of a barrier.
The game looks like it could have been the next Studio Ghibli film, with some really interesting character design and high production values. I just hope the game "gels" well together. It looks like the characters in the above picture have completely different styles and looks, almost different artstyles as well. It could end up being quite a fragmented final product, so hopefully it works, but from what I have seen in the demo, it looks to be good.
A couple other links for info and impressions on Ni No Kuni so far;