Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Possessed by pokemon

Ni No Kuni made the jump to Pokemon last night. I was already feeding treats to my familiars to boost their stats. Now I am leveling them up to evolve them and capturing them wild on the field of battle. It is a tried and true formula that has worked in dozens of proper Pokemon games (none of which I have ever played) all the way up to Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, a personal favorite. Ni No Kuni does not stray far from the norm, but the way familiars evolve makes the decision of when to do it much more important.

Familiars are able to evolve once they have learned all of their skills. There is also the matter of feeding them the appropriate food to trigger the evolution, but the game has been throwing them at me constantly since this the ability to use them unlocked. In order to learn more skills you have to evolve them, but doing so resets their level to 1, regardless of what Oliver's level is at the time. At about seven hours I am level eighteen. The difference between Oliver and a freshly evolved level one familiar is large enough that they cannot be used in combat. I can only imagine how bad it will get in another forty hours.

This level gap along with Oliver's own combat capacity being entirely dependent on how many magic points you can shovel at an enemy force you to keep a higher level, lower evolved familiar around as a backup. It also forces you to grind after evolving, something that I really do not enjoy. I can think of two ways to fix this. First and best, give Oliver better combat abilities aside from magic. With magic points Oliver is a powerhouse. Boss fights all play out the same way: circle strafe with Oliver while casting his most powerful spell. He just runs through the points so quickly that this will not work for random encounters. Remember the demifiend?

I dare you to say something about my shoes.

He could take care of business on his own when the situation called for it. He could also learn abilities from the other demons on his team. This could lead to incredibly broken combinations, none of which I was smart enough to figure out.

The other way to fix this would be to simply not reset the familiar's level. Resetting your best familiar right before a boss fight would be very, very bad, and I cannot think of a way to recover from it other than walking back out of the dungeon, killing everything along the way, which brings us right back to the grind.

This is the second post in a row that has been pretty down about Ni No Kuni. I don't mean to sound so negative, the game is very good, but drawing comparisons to classics makes it harder to enjoy.

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