Ni no Kuni - Ep.1- Motorville Gangstas
In the early stages of the game you may be slightly discouraged by how forced the story feels. The story works to very quickly get you out of Motorville and into the parallel 'nother world to set you out on your adventure. I'm currently about 15hrs into the game (which is probably 8-10hrs for a normal player) and most of the character development I've seen has been very basic. That said, the lack of backstory works in this case because the main protagonists are so young. What they are experiencing in Ni No Kuni are the events that will ultimately define their lives. It's as if you get to experience - or play - their character development versus having to be force-fed it through long walls of text as the game progresses.
All things considered, at this juncture, I believe Level 5 and Studio Ghibli are focusing less on the actual narrative and trying to help me get lost in a lively adventure in a colorful world with characters who's charm and personality rival most RPG characters I've played over the last several years. Motorville is alive. Even the voiced NPCs have a charisma not rivaled by many games in recent history. Phil made me want to slap him in the mouth for sassing me and other people in the story. Interestingly enough, during my 15hrs of play, I've not seen much of the game's villains save through cutscene snipits. I'm very interested to see how that pans out later in the game.
I loved the scene where Allie saves Oliver from drowning in the river. Jo Wyatt nailed Allie's frantic search for Oliver vocally and the artists really captured her movements and hurried actions very well. As a parent, I could totally understand what she was feeling and the voice and visual work really sold the scene.
Fifteen hours into the game and I can't help but really love Drippy. He is so far my favorite part of the game. Steffan Rhodri crushes his voice acting to really make Drippy the star of the show--at least thus far into the adventure. Drippy does an excellent job serving as the comic relief and the host of our adventure through nother world.
Well that's gonna do it for our first Ni No Kuni episode, folks. Stay tuned for more.