Ni No Kuni – Death to the Backlog

know I’ve told you guys numerous times already, but I had lost my dear PS3 for a little over a year. Furthermore, after Microsoft decided to bend us over without even the courtesy of using some lube, I sold off my Xbox 360 and everything that went with it. So, since I was essentially starting my game collection from scratch again, I’ve been accumulating a ton of PS3 games these last couple/few months, because I refuse to let a mere backlog of games get in the way of enjoying all the titles I should have over the years. I’ve been averaging the completion of a new game every 7-10 days… but, ahhh, I don’t think I’ll be making the same sort of progress for a while.

I’m not going to go into a review or anything… at only 7 and a half hours in, that would be foolish. I’m still at what you would probably consider the beginning of the game, and let me tell you – I. Am. In. Love.

I spent quite a bit of time just perusing the net to see which titles on the PS3 earned the highest ratings, or were recommended in recommendation threads on popular forums. Ni No Kuni – Wrath of the White Witch popped up more often than not, so I looked into some videos and reviews. The blend of RPG gameplay elements with anime aesthetics intrigued me to no end… but I wasn’t sure if I would actually enjoy what the game had to offer. In short, the combat seemed to be an interesting mix of real-time AND turn-based action… with a bit of Pokemon thrown into the mix for good (bad?) measure. The first thing that bothered me was the Pokemon style stuff… I don’t like Pokemon. I just don’t. Also, the ‘anime look’ was the result of work put in by Tohei Animation – a rare contribution to gaming to say the least – but based on what I saw, the game could have been really charming, or really childish. I wasn’t sure I wanted to plunk my hard earned coin down to find out.

Well, the reasonable price of $39.99 dropped to an even more enticing $29.99, so I picked it up. I played through a couple of other games before getting to it, but now that I have… I can honestly say that this is one of the most rewarding blind buys I’ve made in a long time. It has a very old school vibe to… meaning you can roam around a world map via various modes of transportation (although I’ve only been able to wander by foot thus far), and you run into those little mini-battles frequently during your travels. You’ll stop off at various towns and cities, gain levels and acquire other useful stuff. You can’t just always run from point A to point B though, unless you’re a madman and don’t want to acquire as much help for your characters as possible… you should spend some time grinding and doing side quests… and I freakin’ love it. I can’t remember the last time I played a game like this… I miss the Final Fantasy/Chrono Trigger days! To be able to dump hours into just battling creepy crawlies and leveling up without it feeling like a chore is wonderful. It helps that the characters, story and anime art style ooze more charm than most of what’s come out in years.

I’m having a ton of fun… and I don’t see myself putting the game down anytime soon. It’s sort of a shame, lol. My poor backlog is just waiting for me to plow through it, and I just can’t see myself taking a break from Ni No Kuni to get it done. I’m debating taking a break after 20 hours of gameplay, since I could probably put a good 50 hours into this game at the very least, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to… wish me luck!

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