We Went Hands-On With Ni No Kuni Remastered, And It's Beautiful

We Went Hands-On With Ni No Kuni Remastered, And It's Beautiful

Ni No Kuni is being remastered for PS4 and PC.

This morning in what would have been an unexpected surprise if it didn't leak prior, a remaster of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was announced by Bandai Namco for PlayStation 4 and PC, with a port of the original coming to Nintendo Switch too. Today I went hands-on with the beloved Level-5 and Studio Ghibli collaboration, and I can proudly assure you: it's just as delightful as ever. In fact, it may be even better than I remember.

The demo is set very early in the game in the lush autumnal forest of the Golden Grove, facing off against the boss Gladiataur. Once, Gladiataur was the Guardian of the Golden Grove, but now he's turned evil after a run-in with the big bad of the game. For the uninitiated: in Ni No Kuni, you mainly control the young boy Oliver, who's most powerful ability is magic; but you also have creatures called familiars that you can take control of in battle. Each has their own abilities and a limited time to use them, encouraging you to rotate constantly between your three familiars and Oliver himself.

When people talk about Ni No Kuni, the first thing usually mentioned is how the combat isn't great. Admittedly, I agree with this criticism; but somehow, diving back in with this demo, it actually wasn't as bad as I remembered. Before I knew it, it was like lapsing back into a routine. I hopped between the critters and Oliver with ease; rotating like clockwork to chain up strong moves against the boss, with the occasional guarding.

Ni No Kuni still looks good too. It helps that its Studio Ghibli stamped art style and Joe Hisaishi scored music easily shift into the modern generation. In the remaster, Oliver and Drippy's outlines are more defined, and even the music sounds a bit clearer than its PlayStation 3 origins. Like Jet Set Radio, Borderlands, and other cel-shaded games, Ni No Kuni at a higher resolution looks as good as I remember it being. And for a light remaster, that's really the best you can ask for.

If you follow my work at all, you know that I love the original Ni No Kuni. Soon not only will I get to experience one of the best grief-themed JRPGs again, everyone will! Because it's out on September 20, 2019.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Caty McCarthy

Senior Editor

Caty McCarthy is a former freelance writer whose work has appeared in Kill Screen, VICE, The AV Club, Kotaku, Polygon, and IGN. When she's not blathering into a podcast mic, reading a book, or playing a billion video games at once, she's probably watching Terrace House or something. She is currently USgamer's Senior Editor.

Related articles

Kat, Mat, and Eric's Top 10 Games of 2020

Our favorites of the year, from those who remain.

USG's Top 20 Games of 2020

From thirsty gods to avaricious raccoons, these were our favorite games in 2020.

Cyberpunk 2077 Review: Death by a Thousand Cyber-Cuts

Even if you get beyond the bugs, it's just not worth it.

Need help?

Witcher 3: How to Start the Blood and Wine DLC and Meet Its Level Requirements

We explain how to get to Toussaint and what level you should be when you do.

Witcher 3: All the Correct Play Lines in "The Play's the Thing" Quest

We explain how to perform the Doppler's play with Priscilla, as well as whether to choose tragedy or comedy.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Mystery Gift Codes List (January 2020)

You can get free gifts in Pokemon Sword and Shield by entering certain Mystery Gift Codes. Here’s a full list of all the active codes available right now.

The Outer Worlds Shrink Ray - How to Get the Unique Shrink Ray Science Weapon

This is where you can get the Shrink Ray science weapon in The Outer Worlds, one of the unique weapons in the game.