Ni No Kuni: A Perfect Switch Port

Originally a PlayStation exclusive, Ni No Kuni finally arrives on the Switch in glorious 1080P high definition. From its digitally enhanced visuals, bombastic soundtrack, and top-notch Studio Ghibli art design, the game fits perfectly at home on Nintendo’s current flagship console. Even in handheld mode the game does not miss a beat and still holds true at sixty frames a second. It’s glorious open-world dragon-riding mechanic echoes back to the glory days of the 16-bit era and is a true artistic achievement in world design. This is truly the perfect port of an already masterful animated adventure.

The Pros

Designer Akihiro Hino did a splendid job of porting a last-generation title to this current era and its lush world design and colorful array of Pokémon style battle system blends in perfectly with Nintendo’s visual aesthetics. The cut scenes look better than ever, as Studio Ghibli themselves cut most of the cinematic sequences. This adds to the overall quality of the game’s production values.  Rather than merely providing a fresh coat of paint for the Switch version, the developers rebuilt a lot of the visual design to fit the limitations of the Switch’s hardware designer. 

In handheld mode, players rarely see a skip in frame rat or blemish in character animation. All battles take place in open field design, and the music correspondents brilliantly with the emotions of each segment. Composer Joe Hisaishi’s work is felt throughout the adventure, resembling more of a serious RPG than an animation piece. Everything is taken from the original PS3 title and is made fresh again. The inclusion of both Japanese and English voice-overs also adds a nice touch of nuance for those seeking a true Ghibli experience. 

Load times and transitional spaces flow stunningly on the Switch, perhaps due in part to the cartridge-based design of the system. Players can freely switch between characters in combat which lends more fluidity to this product than most other JRPGs in the genre. 

The Cons

With everything this game has to offer, Ni No Kuni still has its flaws. Everything in the PS3 original is present in this port with little extras included. Story plot, dialogue, and maps are nearly identical to its forebearer and this can put off those who completed the original. Every nook and cranny is just as it was a generation ago. For a full-priced title, there should have been more included in this package. Nonetheless, this is a game worth revisiting even without the 4K technology that its PS4 counterpart received with its version. 

The Verdict

In the end, Bandai Namco did a splendid job of bringing this exceptional RPG to the current generation. Even for those who have played this before, being able to bring a high definition animated adventure on the go is enough to warrant this title a second go around. Do not let the full price tag fool you, Ni No Kuni feels just as fresh as it did back in 2011. From its musical interludes and lush environments, Ni No Kuni has been given new life on Nintendo’s hybrid console. 

About Anthony Frisina 83 Articles
Anthony Frisina is a graduate of the City University of New York-Brooklyn College with a BA in Political Science with a minor in Psychology. After finishing his undergraduate degree, Anthony went on to attend Brooklyn College's Film Academy and Writer's workshop program, achieving an interdisciplinary degree in Screenwriting and Film theory in the Fine Arts. Transforming his love for classic American cinema, Anthony went on to adapt a number of his own works into different mediums, including his well-received Western novel The Regulator. Anthony likes to spend his free time writing articles for magazines and periodicals that cover a wide range of topics, from science fiction to popular culture. As a screenwriter, Anthony has had his screenplays featured at numerous spec script writing competitions across the country where he one day hopes to write the next great American film.

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