There’s nothing quite like owning physical goods, but they can be expensive, and shelf space can come at a premium. Every Wednesday Hardcore Gamer picks a premium collectible from our cavernous swag vaults and tells you whether it’s worth a spot in your Collector’s Cabinet.
Originally a Nintendo DS game, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch almost seemed destined for Japanese exclusivity. Thankfully, English-speaking gamers were able to play the PS3 version only two years after its initial release. It was hard not to be intrigued by this Studio Ghibli-animated RPG ,which led many to pre-order the limited Wizard’s Edition. A great deal of these orders were effectively canceled – although it seemed eBay sellers had no trouble nabbing copies. In the end, Namco Bandai did the best they could to make up by offering a hardback copy of Ni no Kuni’s strategy guide instead. Here’s what lucky recipients of the Wizard’s Edition received:
The surprisingly heavy Wizard’s Edition includes: a Wizard’s Companion book, Music Selection CD, Drippy plush, coin, 5 artwork cards, game, and DLC. All of this comes encased in a flimsy outer cardboard box, but hey, at least it’s emblazened with an embossed golden Ni no Kuni logo! Inside the box is divided into three quadrants, one with a clear window for Drippy and Wizard’s Companion. This is pertinent because the box has a hinged flap to proudly display these items with a lovely screenshot opposite. Considering the limited edition was never planned for retail release this design decision is a bit odd – hinged covers are usually made to entice store shoppers.
Among all the included goodies, it’s definitely the Wizard’s Companion which shines brightest. This hardbound book looks impressive on the outside with subtle detailing and weathering and a clear “jewel” in the center. It retains a high quality visual flourish inside as well, but it’s what’s on the pages that’s most exciting. A far cry from a typical artbook, this tome contains a full bestiary, spell compendium, and list of in-game items. In many ways it serves as a mini-strategy guide, but its high quality and extreme scarcity mean that most would probably rather keep it as a display piece rather than actually use for reference while playing.
Drippy might be a great character, but his design has always stood out as a bit odd. Because of this sticking the plush on your shelf might elicit a few puzzled remarks. In terms of quality, Drippy is incredibly light and feels cheap. The plush does a good job at replicating his in-game appearance, but that’s about it. Little bits of fuzz and string poke out randomly across the body, and overall this feels like a plush worth $5 at best. The unfortunate Music Selection CD seems even cheaper. The clear jewel case and cover art are lovely… until you flip it over and see that there’s only two tracks included! They could stand to be a little less selective.
One thing fans of Ni no Kuni might want the Wizard’s Edition for is the included gold-colored coin, which is engraved with an image of protagonist Oliver. Only the North American release of this edition came with the coin, making it exceptionally rare. For whatever reason, other regions were given a slightly lesser Wizard’s Edition. Behind the coin’s wavy plastic stand are a few artwork cards. Basically post cards, these look lovely simply because the game is so outrageously gorgeous to begin with.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is an excellent, beautiful RPG, but the Wizard’s Edition has a mix of high and low notes. The book and coin are impressive items, but Drippy and the CD leave much to be desired. Middling additions such as the art cards and DLC can be discounted completely. In all, the Wizard’s Edition was well worth its pre-order price of $99, but none of the included tchotchkes warrant the excessive $300+ pricetag set by eBay Scalpers. Only consider dropping such an egregious sum if you absolutely adore Ni no Kuni.
For Hardcore Fans Only