By Spencer . October 21, 2011 . 5:25pm
There were two Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch demos at Level-5 World. The first one titled "My First Ni no Kuni" showed the scope of the world and dazzled players with a bright forest. The PlayStation 3 version had a large field where Oliver and Maru ran around and fought monsters.
I spent most of my time playing the second demo, which started in a city. This demo put me in charge of three characters: Oliver, Maru, and Gyro. Gyro ran off in the beginning and I chased after him. The city was populated with masked (pig) people to talk to. Shizuku, the fairy that brought Oliver to Ni no Kuni hopped behind me. Being smaller than Oliver, his animations made it feel like he had a hard time keeping up and gave him character. There were jars to break and some of them had treasures hiding inside.
When I reached a certain point, the game switched to an anime cutscene where the residents scuttled inside their Steampunk-style homes. Oliver and Maru stood there bewildered as people whizzed by. Suddenly, one of the buildings lifts up and moves shocking the group. Shizuku with a panicked look ran towards the screen with Oliver and Maru following behind. All of the buildings move and create a road with the pig people standing on balconies cheering… but for what? More confused than ever, Oliver, Maru, and Shizuku stand in the middle as a float with a regal looking boar drove by. I ran down the road and talked to two pigs in plate mail who eventually let me through to a fountain room with stone pigs shooting water from their nose.
Maru and Oliver examined the luxurious room while Gyro ran off (again). This time he brought a giant pig tank (complete with snout turret) with him. Time for a fight!
Oliver, Maru, and Gyro were all level 27 and each had their own Imagines, creatures on the battlefield under their control. While Ni no Kuni for the Nintendo DS had a touchscreen battle system, the PlayStation 3 game felt more like a traditional RPG. The bottom of the screen had a wheel with the face of the character you were currently in control of and cartoon thought bubbles as menu options. Each character had basic commands – attack, magic, item, and defend. Actions were done in realtime, but spells had cooldown time. It’s possible to cancel actions too. I tried to defend when the pig tank shot a missile out of its nose. While I didn’t block the missile, I noticed I can move straight back into attacking. Attacking wasn’t effective. Shizuku the fairy paused the game and explained to use different attacks on the tank. I switched to magic using Oliver’s fireball and ice spells.
The computer controlled the other two characters while I was in command of Oliver. Although, I realized I needed to switch back and forth because Maru took heavy damage. You can switch characters on the fly and reposition them on the battlefield. Since I wanted Oliver to focus on offense I made Gyro use items to heal the team. I slowly chipped away at the tank using my Imagines special attacks whenever they were available.
I beat the tank, Oliver cheered, and the demo ended giving players just a taste of the game. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is slated for release in North America and Europe next year care of Namco Bandai.