Before you read, it must be known that I am a huge JRPG fan and have been for decades (before it was called JRPG and games like this were just referred to as RPGs).
Ni No Kuni is an experience that should not be ignored. If you like RPGs, you will love this. My first reaction to the game, way back when it was teased, was awe. Studio Ghibli and Level 5 means quality. I was reminded of the PS2 gem: Dragon Quest VIII (also of Level 5).
One of the first reviews I read (one of the few negative ones)claimed that there was a problem with the battle system. Rest assured, the battle system is excellent. It is a hybrid of Chrono Trigger, Dragon Quest, and Real Time. Level 5 is able to pull all of this together brilliantly as you are able to move around during combat. You can avoid attacks while your meter fills up so that you may attack, defend, cast spells, use items, call on your familiar, or run away.
I find the run away option useful only if I am in a terrible bind (ie no MP, no food, low HP), and even then you might be able to get healed during battle. Further, the battle system allows you to control your familiar (which is part of your soul) and have them attack through a variety of attacks.
The only annoying thing is that Oliver's Victory animation is ALWAYS the same...
The story starts off well and allows you to familiarize yourself with the controls. Luckily, you can skip parts that seem tedious. Once you enter the "Another World" you are treated to visuals only found in today's top AAA games. And what a stunning world it is! I wished to walk around and engage in combat regularly. The benefit is that you level up quickly at first (and so does your familiar.) Your sidekick/ advisor, Mr. Drippy is a hilarious character. (He calls you "cry baby bunting" then when you shout that your name is "Oliver, Ol-iv-er!" He states, "Guess the cry baby part was right." But with a Scottish accent, hysterical.
The presentation and all that is included will guarantee that I will be coming back to this game again and again. This is certainly one of the best games released within the past 12 months (I can hardly say "this year" as it is only January). While the story isn't as gripping as the Walking Dead, it has moments that bring you into Oliver's World. It is E 10+ so don't expect romantic sexual encounters found in other RPGs of this era, but that is okay with me, sometimes they are not needed.