I must be honest in that I had no idea what Ni No Kuni was until I saw the cover art for the strategy guide from Prima. This simple glimpse had me digging for more info about the game and ultimately led to dropping some cash for a preorder. All I can say is that I am so glad I snagged this game, and even more so that I was able to use this guide throughout my many hours of playing in this unique and wonderful world.
To start, the Ni no Kuni strategy guide wreaks of quality. I don’t know what Prima did, but even just thumbing through the pages I noticed they felt thicker with a hint of a waxy coating. I found this hard to believe so I had my wife flip through it and she confirmed my feelings. Whatever Prima did, and factoring in that this may seem like a small detail to some people, it is a wonderful touch to bring up that quality feeling for the consumer.
That attention to detail only carries over into the content that fills those waxy pages. While the game does a decent job of breaking down all the mechanics over the span of a few hours, the strategy guide provides a bit more detail. Anyone that might struggle with swapping familiars in and out or what to look for in enemies as to when to prep for a devastating attack, this section is the missing manual. I found myself reading through this a few times just to pick up more tricks to aide my combat skills. There is a lot to Ni No Kuni, so do not just skim over the first 22 pages, but rather take the tips and tricks to heart as they can save a controller from being thrown across the room in frustration.
Now usually the main walkthrough would start after the game basics, but Prima drops in the giant section for familiars. As these are the lifeline of the game, a lot of time goes into studying every drop of info here. Every familiar contains an easy to read breakdown of what they are capable of, their metamorphoses, unlock conditions, and strengths and weaknesses. Seriously, at 432 pets to collect, prepare to spend a good amount of time here. The last few pages provide a handy listing of all the fighting tricks these battlers are capable of performing.
Finally, the walkthrough section begins. He we find not only a play-by-play of how the story unfolds, but some nicely detailed maps of where main quests, tasks, provisions, armor, and so much more might be found about the world. I also found the boss breakdown to be of great help as it prepared me for what to look for, what to avoid, and ultimately led to simplifying some very brutal battles. I should also note that this saved me some time in trying to get chests that I was not able to get until I acquired a new tool and trick.
What I did like is that the various tasks (side quests) not only have their own section (right after the main walkthrough), but they also have small blurbs about them in the main walkthrough. This saves a good amount of time flipping back and forth, as there is a lot of that already with the familiar area.
This does bring me into the task section. For those that may want more info on the abundance of side objectives, this section will make for a happy life. Any prerequisites, rewards, small descriptions of what to do, and when each task is unlocked may be found right here. The reward even details how many stamps one gets upon completion. I so loved this when I had limited time to play, but I only need two or three stamps to fill out my card.
The last section is an appendix that contains a thorough breakdown of enemies, items, important (see storyline necessary) items, and trophies. I didn’t spend as much time in here as I thought I would, but I did find myself coming here to find various weapon information as well as studying the various stats for some of the more difficult creatures in the latter part of the game.
I must also compliment Prima on their Heart of Ni No Kuni portion. This is at the very end of the book and it contains interviews and concept art for one of the most gorgeous games I have enjoyed in recent months. I recommend any fan take some time to read the interview portion as it really provides some meat to what it took to make this game and bring the vision to life, while the concept art is just a wonderful look at how the artists mind works when designing the assets.
One big thing to note here is how Prima even simplified navigating through the Ni no Kuni strategy guide. If you look at the side of the book, you will notice dark markings in a staggered pattern. These also correlate to a change in page colors. The main walkthrough, for example, is the middle marker on the yellow pages while tasks are the fourth marker down on green pages. While this may not seem like such a big deal, I found that I started to use this coding system for quickly jumping into the different areas of the guide if I had closed it during my play session.
I am extremely pleased with this strategy guide. If you are on the fence about this guide, just splurge and pick it up as it is worth every penny. The quality is superb and the amount of time it will save you in the long run is totally worth the investment. It also looks nice on the coffee table!
SGR Rating 4.5/5
Author: Howard Grossman
Publisher: Prima Games
Editions Available: Hardcover
Acquired via Publisher