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YMMV / Ni no Kuni

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  • Adaptation Displacement: Combined with No Export for You. The DS version isn't very well known outside of its native country, and those who have played the DS version often say the PS3 version is the better one due to the Adaptation Expansion or just feeling more "Ghibli-esque" in its beautiful animations.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Drippy gets one after The Reveal that Alicia and Aille are the same person and he knew it all along. Did he manipulate a boy to go on an adventure, fully knowing that despite being able to save the world, he still won't be able to fulfill his personal quest of resurrecting his mom, or did he genuinely think that he could help out Oliver in his travels?
  • Annoying Video-Game Helper:
    • Drippy's advice can sometimes invoke this trope. It's also not uncommon for him to stop a boss fight to give a hint in the middle of one of your spells or skills, thus negating your attack and wasting your magic.
    • The tutorials as well. You realize how bad it's going to be when you've been walking around and exploring for about half an hour when you suddenly get a tutorial telling you how to walk.
  • Breather Boss: Surprisingly it's the Bonus Boss, Guardian Of Worlds. The only reason being that it doesn't have the cinematic attack that all the previous bosses have. He does get stronger in subsequent fights though, and his Great Divider attack can instantly kill weak party members.
  • Awesome Music: The music is fantastic, fully orchestrated even on the DS. But given that this is Joe Hisaishi—the composer behind Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, among others—it's clear why this is the case.
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  • Demonic Spiders: Anything with One-Hit Kill attacks (such as Darkness Beckons), given Instant Death-protecting gear is VERY hard to come by. They show up pretty often in the game's last few dungeons too.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Understandable, given that the game ended with the defeat of Shadar in the original version, but the PS3's new White Witch arc is basically three very short Dungeon Towns (which you've already visited), a bunch of very heavy-handed Info Dumps explaining Cassiopeia's backstory, then bam, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. Worse, the new party member you get turns out to be pretty useless. They just could have done so much more. The Final Dungeon itself, and the final boss battles arguably make up for it though.
  • Ear Worm: The victory theme. You're going to be hearing it a lot.
    • The World Map theme. You will be humming it before the game is even over.
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  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: If your loved ones die, they can't be brought back, and there's nothing you can do about it, so you have to accept it.note 
  • Game-Breaker:
    • A lot of players agree that the Mighty Glacier familiar Dinceros (and its evolved forms) is one of the most powerful familiars to get in this game. Moves pretty slow and its accuracy is just downright horrible, but if you let it learn Earsplitter and Belly Buster (which are always accurate), watch as hordes of Mooks go down and boss fights become a lot more bearable thanks to its natural high defense. Because accuracy is a Dump Stat for it since it has always accurate attacks, this also turns normally impractical equipment such as axes or anything that boosts attack at the cost of accuracy into god tier equipment. Just good luck getting them to join you though.
    • The casino is this if you're looking to make a lot of money. Simply spend time at the Platoon (while there are times the Random Number God screws you, for the most part it's strategy), exchange the coins for the Great Sage Secret, sell it (they're worth 6000 a pop), and you'll have more money than what you'll need for the entire game. And the Great Sage Secret fully restores an ally's HP and MP so you wouldn't have to worry about healing for quite some time.
    • The Metal Slime enemies in this game. Though rare and hard to take down with an early-game party, Save Scumming can help that, and the EXP discrepancy between them and regular enemies is just ridiculous. To put it in perspective, the weakest and earliest-available one, Toko, gives out more EXP than most major storyline bosses until about 2/3 into the game. And by the time bosses start giving more, you have access to another variety of Toko that literally gives Over 9000 EXP. (when most other enemies in that area give 350 at best) Even one hour of grinding against these things can make the main storyline an absolute joke.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: While its sales numbers do not diverge widely between countries (due to the "children's JRPG stigma", you could say), Western players and critics are much more enamored with White Witch than Japan. There are two reasons for that: first, Eastern RPGs are becoming steadily more scarce in the West, especially on consoles, so a big-budgeted one for the PS3 like Ni no Kuni draws attention. Secondly, and more importantly, Japan was "burned" by Jet-Black Mage back when it was released. Level-5 promised that the two games would be widely different and also complementary to one another, but they only had very minimal differences in terms of plot and gameplay (putting it another way, they were promised Persona 2, but got Pokémon Crystal). Those who bought the original (and they were many, it sold really well) didn't want to buy the same game twice, and critics couldn't quite "forgive" it. However, since that version was never released in the West, White Witch became much more unique in Westerners' eyes and could be judged (and sold) as its own, standalone title. It seems to have paid off.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • In the Glittering Grotto it is possible to be knocked outside the combat stage and off the cliff. The moment you fall through the bottom of the map you teleport to its very top — right over the exact spot your last fall ended. You can loop Portal style for as long as you like, as the lack of air physics means ending the cycle is as simple as walking forward.
    • A possible Swift Solutions reward is a jump button that is utterly useless while exploring but usable even in combat. It still does nothing... unless your playing as one of the slower Familiars, such as Dinoceros or Tin-Man, in which case the jump button becomes a "Move twice as fast" button, completely removing the one Fatal Flaw they inserted to balance his incredible defense and well-above-average strength.
  • Hilarious In Hind Sight: A Black Comedy example for Puella Magi Madoka Magica fans who watched the series before playing this game. Shadar and Cassiopia turn into witches ((literately) after falling to despair.
  • Moe: Pea.
  • Monde Green: Sometimes Oliver will shout NEAT-O! after winning a battle, but the way he shouts it makes it sound like KNEEL!
  • Moral Event Horizon: It was always clear Shadar was not a nice guy, but you truly start to hate him after finding out what he did to Rashaad and Esther. Basically, he forced Rashaad into being a Retired Badass by doing the following: first, he steals his daughter's courage and turns her into a Brokenhearted. Now the guy can't bring himself to do anything for fear of her being hurt further. But it doesn't stop there. To ensure her heart is not just broken, but outright closed, he goes after Esther's Alternate Self Myrtle in the Otherworld. He Mind Rapes her father (also Rashaad's Sould Mate) into becoming a Domestic Abuser, which traumatises her so much she becomes a Hikikomori. All this to elimanate someone who could possibly become a threat to him later.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: "Supercharged!"
  • Nightmare Fuel: The backstory of Xanadu. Shadar had attacked and when he stole a piece of the people's hearts, they turned against one another and killed each other. Sure, there were survivors who fled to a town. To ensure that Shadar doesn't go after them, the survivors turn the townsfolk and any old-enough children born in that town into Brokenhearted. Put it this way: they'd rather Mind Rape themselves than risk Shadar doing it to them instead. Dark stuff.
    • Shadar in general is this, really. He's an incredibly powerful Evil Sorceror who's The Dreaded just about everywhere, for good reason: this guy can essentially Mind Rape you whenever he feels like it. He's pretty smart about it too, using his power to remove Enthusiasm and Courage to ensure any attempt at La Résistance is nipped in the bud before it can even begin. And if you're a real threat, he'll make sure you never stand up to him again by turning your loved ones against you. He's also not above going after your Soul Mate in the Otherworld too. Yeah, this guy is basically Paranoia Fuel personified.
    • The Ashes event. Seeing innocent townspeople who you once knew and helped out turn into mindless zombies who are now out for blood is pretty scary. Saying it's just a Mood Whiplash would be an understatement.
      • A lot of the zombified townspeople look pretty horrifying too. And the zombified King Tom is surprisingly intimidating.
    • The Zodiarchy looks incredibly unsettling. Pulsing veins, jittery movements, eyes spinning in the sockets and that freaky mask moving like a demented puppet. You're motivated to kill it as fast as you can just so you don't have to look at the twisted thing anymore.
    • The whole scene with Rusty is terrifying, in particular to any unfortunate enough to have dealt with a Domestic Abuser. Up to this point, the Brokenhearted you've met have lost their enthusiasm. The result is basically Apathy Syndrome: annoying but manageable. Then you meet Rusty, who's had his Kindness stolen from him, and you learn just how nasty the Brokenhearted can get. Special mention goes to the part right after he hits his wife: he screams at Oliver to leave, and when the camera turns back to him...brr...the (really big, really strong) man is seething, and he has a wrench clenched in his hand...the guy looked seconds away from snapping violently. One can only wonder what would have happened if the Nightmare's emergence hadn't knocked him out...
  • Prolonged Prologue: Despite the fact that that it's the main mechanic, the player doesn't get the chance to recruit familiars until after completing the story events of the second major town in the otherworld. It doesn't sound so bad; except that, at that point the player has gone through three dungeons and at least five bosses before being able to customize their party. It doesn't help that this is all in a thinly disguised attempt to ease the player into the three major differences between familiars, with a whole bunch of Forced Tutorials in between.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Hitting the boss with an elemental spell/attack they're weak against when they're charging up one of their ultimate moves stuns them and lowers their defence, letting you get in a lot of damage. This would be useful... If not for the fact most bosses ultimate attacks charge way faster than your own spells/attacks, meaning the usual scenario goes; boss charges ultimate attack -> player tries to exploit their elemental weakness with a spell -> boss unleashes ultimate attack just before you get the spell off, knocking you out of the charge instead. Ultimately, the only real way to exploit this mechanic is to actively predict when the boss uses their ultimate attack before they start charging it; which is as easy as it sounds.
  • Spiritual Licensee: This is a pretty good Pokémon Action RPG.
  • Surprise Difficulty: Despite the game's "childish" visuals, random encounters can and probably will, if you aren't careful, regularly kill you. Get to grinding!
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The party's victory stance as frogs in the Vault of Tears.
    • Pea's dialogue in general once you bring her to the Otherworld. But especially her mispronunciation of 'Sanctify'.
  • That One Achievement: The 120 Alchemy Trophy and the 250 Familiar trophy. The first one requires you to make 120 different items through Alchemy, which wouldn't be so hard if the drop rates for most items weren't so low. The second one requires you to tame 250 different familiars, and (you guessed it), the capture rates for all familiars are dangerously low. Luckily, you can tame a Tier 1 familiar, evolve it and each form will count towards the trophy so long as you did not catch it beforehand.
  • That One Boss: The Royal Jelly, a Flunky Boss who swarms you with Jelly Babies with its Baby Shower attack, which can very easily overwhelm you (Thankfully, it stops attacking for a few seconds after it does this). Add the fact that Herd Hitting Attacks are in short supply at this point and... yeah. Thankfully, Drippy's Mother gives you several spells for defeating it.
    • Before that, the first battle with Shadar on the boat can be this or a Wake-Up Call Boss. He has many spells in his arsenal that hits your entire party for about a quarter of their health and he can cast them in rapid succession. While you only have to take him down to half of his health, its not rare for players to trip up on him.
    • Khulan's Nightmare can be a real nightmare. Not only does it inflict status ailments such as Poison on you, it spams its ultimate attack over and over. It also hits hard and will trip up lower leveled players if you aren't careful.
    • Porco Grosso has very high defense against physical attacks, though thankfully it happens to be weak to electrical attacks otherwise. It also happens to be very agile as well.
  • That One Sidequest: Making the War God's Axe would probably take you a day and a half just to make one without a guide due to it requiring ingredients that are rare steals from equally rare enemies, in addition to the Demon's Axe, itself requiring rare steals from rare enemies. Oh, and the game doesn't actually tell you how many you need because the recipe isn't provided until after you make it for the sidequest in question.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The Wizard's Companion contains several entries for spells you never get to use. Naturally, most of them (like Second Self, Vanish, Werecat and Werefish) are much cooler than the spells you actually get. They have very interesting gameplay and story possibilities too.
    • Bonding with Esther and Swaine outside the main quest falls mostly away. Most of the time only Drippy has a comment to make, while the other two are suspiciously, and sadly, silent even in moments where you would expect them to say something, especially Swaine.
    • The games establish that multiple versions of universes exist, not only Oliver's and the Other World from Jet-Black Mage, but the world where the Conductor lives, their parallels from The White Witch and many more. The two Other Worlds are remarkably different in locations, characters and events, yet only vague references in the different universes point across to each other. The concept is only plot-wise remarked upon in The White Witch through optional bosses that are stronger alternate versions of bosses you fought in the main quest and which have breached through from parallel universes. Once they are defeated, you can take on the Guardian of Worlds, a creature that stands in the center of all possible worlds.
  • Values Dissonance: Wrath of the White Witch got an 18+ rating in South Korea because of gambling that can be done in the Casino Park (not even with real money).
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The aesthetics were done by Studio Ghibli after all.


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