Right away, the art stands out as distinctly Ghibli, painting an ostensibly traditional JRPG with the gorgeous pastels and smooth landscapes of, say, Ghibli's Spirited Away. The story follows a young thirteen-year-old boy named Oliver who sounds as impeccably cast as the best of Ghibli's works. Oliver travels along with Drippy, a doll come-to-life, as well as several pokemon-like familiars who can aid Oliver in combat.
When combat does take place, Oliver can choose to lead the battle himself or send in one his allies. Players can then switch back to Oliver as the need arises. I played with three characters: Oliver, who has access to ice and fire offensive spells, a healing spell, a healing spell, Mitey, whose relentless standard attacks slice multiple enemies at once, and Fryderick, whose Fling Flame and Hot Huff spells burn one or more targeted enemies. While each character fires off their abilities, or waits for them to become available after a short cooldown, players can move them around the battlefield, positioning them strategically while also determining general team tactics to determine the flow of battle.
The E3 demo was just a brief glimpse at what looks like an incredibly promising game. Of course the success of Ni No Kuni depends on the combination of an excellent story and rich gameplay. Considering the past works of Studio Ghibli and Level-5, Ni No Kuni will be earn plenty of attention when it launches early next year.