Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered (PS4) Review


I have had Half-Life 2 since I started PC gaming. It was likely 2008/2009 when I got onto Steam for the lone reason of being able to play Source Engine mods. Each time I have upgraded from the original mediocre HP laptop I started with I have brought Half-Life 2 with me and been able to see it with better settings each time. Across different hardware and operating systems, Half-Life 2 has always been there and I have not had to pay to see it in better quality.

If I had to buy Half-Life 2 to see it with better anti-aliasing and resolution, it would probably feel a lot like Ni No Kuni’s remaster feels like, because that’s all that’s different here. The game looks prettier.

MSRP: $49.99
PRICE I’D PAY: $29.99

It was January of 2013 when Ni No Kuni hit American shores and six years later the game is back… and almost at full price (it’s $70 in Canada before tax). Maybe I am just too used to remasters coming in at more reasonable prices (THQNordic seems to get the idea) but $50 for a game that reached Greatest Hits status (meaning it sold half a million copies) and did well enough to get a sequel seems a bit much. I have a feeling Ni No Kuni 2 didn’t do as well as everyone hoped, but that still doesn’t make this price tag seem fair.

In the platforms section I put down Switch with two asterisks next to it. That is because the Switch version is not the remaster. It lacks the title and I believe is just a straight port of the PS3 game.

Now as for the game, it’s great, (unless you listen to Drew talk about it on our very own Phoenix Down podcast) but any PS3 review is going to say exactly what anyone needs to know about this game. I am sort of dumbfounded at how vanilla this “remaster” is.

I played my PS3 version alongside the PS4 version. I would get to a point in the PS4 version, stop, then switch to the PS3 version on the same screen. The Studio Ghibli animation looks stellar on both. The close up shots only look slightly better on PS4 and that’s expected. What really stands out is the general gameplay portions which look very blurry on PS3, but that’s not the game’s fault but rather the hardware’s fault. A quick look online led me to a video of someone emulating Ni No Kuni on their PC via a PS3 emulator and the game looks much closer to the PS4 “remaster” meaning that those elements are there in the original.

To me this game seems more like how the game was designed before it was altered to work on lesser hardware. It is a lot like finally running Half-Life 2 on a decent PC after running it on a crummy laptop for years. To anyone who paid full price for Ni No Kuni it feels unfair to charge those customers again, especially when Xbox has been doing similar “remastering” on Xbox 360 titles.

I know this sounds very odd but even the inclusion of basic remake of the original Ni No Kuni: Dominion of the Dark Djinn (the original DS game Wrath of the White Witch is based on) would have made this a much more worthwhile purchase as that game never saw a Western release. Comparing this to other RPG remasters, it lacks and quality of life upgrades or any upgrades for that matter.

I’m not saying this is a no effort port, but that the effort put in and the price they are asking for a game that is six years old seem disconnected. Right now there are plenty of great RPGs available that are new and with a price tag so high it’s hard to suggest the old game rather than the new one. I can only recommend this to people who have never played it or the hardest of hardcore Ni No Kuni fans because otherwise just wait for a sale to play this one again.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • It’s the same Ni No Kuni, but prettier
  • It’s the same Ni No Kuni, but it’s $50
Written by
Anthony is the resident Canadian. He enjoys his chicken wings hot and drinks way too much Coca-Cola. His first game experience was on his father's Master System and he is a loyal SEGA fanboy at heart.