Namco Bandai showed me an updated version of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch before Tokyo Game Show with two demos to choose.
An Errand for Old Father Oak
Oliver arrives in the other world, and is entrusted with an important assignment by the ancient tree known as Old Father Oak. Complete the task, then head for Ding Dong Dell!
Old Smoky is about to blow! It seems that something may be amiss with the boulder that blocks the volatile volcano’s crater. Get to the top before it’s too late!
I went with Eruption Interruption, which takes place on the Mountain of Fire. A panicked Drippy tells Oliver and Esther they have three minutes to get to the peak of the mountain before it blows. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch actually times this part and gives players a clock with just 180 seconds. There was no time to waste and I started running up the summit. The mountain wasn’t a hallway, this dungeon had gimmicks like narrow ledges Oliver had to shimmy across by hugging the wall. Just to make things more difficult, Level-5 also added fire shooting jets. Oliver has to wait for the flames to pass before pressing on.
Enemies in Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch are visible on the field. You can strike first by running into them. Monsters are pretty active and will chase Oliver if they spot him. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch’s battle system lets you control Oliver directly or one of his familiars like the Veggie Mite, little orange critter carries a sword and a shield. You can pick moves like Smash Hit (a melee skill) or a basic attack through menus. Yes, menus, but Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch has 3D battlefields you can – no need to walk around in to dodge enemy attacks. After you choose a skill or attack there is a cooldown period before Veggie Mite can strike again. Alternatively, you can control Oliver who has an arsenal of magic spells including healing magic or summon another familiar like the ice elemental Tokoto to battle. Most battles, at least for the demo, ended after a few minutes of fighting. Good thing Level-5 freezes the clock here.
I reached the top of the mountain with less than 30 seconds to spare. That was some run! Drippy then tells Oliver and Esther that three minutes was an "estimate" and he just wanted to motivate the party to get up the mountain faster. DRIPPY….!
The demo ended with a boss battle against Moltaan, a giant purple lizard with a mane made of flames. Moltaan towers over Oliver and attacks by stomping the ground. I thought Moltaan needed to cool down so I used ice spells like Snowblower. This did more damage than Oliver swinging at Moltaan, but exploiting elemental weaknesses alone wasn’t enough to win the fight. Drippy, finally being helpful, said go around Moltaan and attack his tail. Level-5 put two attack zones on Moltaan, if you target his tail from behind and you can knock Moltaan down. This give Oliver, Esther, and their familiars a chance to strike Moltaan for bonus damage and without retaliation.
Yes, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is pretty. Level-5 put a lot of effort in designing the game’s visuals and as much work into developing a sophisticated battle system.