It's been a while since I've played a superb traditional JRPG , and Ni No Kuni ends that drought .
The main protagonist Oliver is on a quest to save his mother who recently passed away - thus his quest . You are joined by Lord of the Fairies Drippy who helps you on your adventure. Oliver is joined by three other characters whom you meet one by one as the story progresses.
Level 5 truly has outdone themselves once again. Since the game is a collaboration with Studio Ghibli and themselves, you feel like you are partaking the experience of being in a Ghibli animated film; and rightfully so. The artstyle is superb, and as many reviewers before me have mentioned, the towns and overworld especially are in the throes of oldschool traditional JRPGs; it is massive, and combined with a stellar orchestra the overworld map is one of the best I have seen yet.
Initiating combat with mobs starts with you either contacting them or they to you in the field (which should be the standard now in JRPGs instead of random encounters), and battle ensues with you or your familiars (think pokemon or shin megatens style) combined with Final fantasy 12's lock and attack. While in battle you can move around, evade, even switch characters or familiars in battle which make the battles more engaging than the typical turn base we're all so familiar with.
Sidequest wise there is so much to do, from simple errands such as acquiring 'hearts' and giving them to the folks who need it, to bigger hunts (think marks in ff12 or bounties in legaia 2), there is so much to do.
In conclusion, the game is superb. I picked this up for 24 bucks USD in Early August 2013, and am very much pleased with my purchase. I would also like to mention that the voice acting is splendid, with British actors voicing a lot of the characters. It's quite refreshing to see new voice actors (or maybe I've heard them before, I just don't recognize them) in a JRPG.
A must buy and play for any true JRPG fan.