White Knight Chronicles - PS3 - Review
Some of the elements of White Knight Chronicles come with little surprise. The bad guys are identified all too easily, and the heroes are overmatched, but what they lack in experience and armament, they make up for with gallantry.
It does begin innocently enough, though. A young man, Leonard, a player-created character venture off to fetch wine for the 18th birthday celebration of the silent princess. The princess, Cisna, has not spoken for 10 years since witnessing the death of her mother – apparently at the hands of an assassin from Faria. The two kingdoms are attempting to forge a peace pact. Meanwhile, Leonard, a young woman name Yulie (who joins the party – there are up to three characters that can travel in the group; the rest are in reserve and can be switched out at logic stones) and the created character head back to the castle with the wine. What begins in joy soon turns violent as a dark monster, Pyredaemos, attacks the castle, under the control of the magi, which apparently have designs on taking the princess, securing an ancient artifact and stirring up the war again.
Several things are immediately apparent in the prolonged prologue. First, the game is a bit of a romance simply because Leonard loves the princess and would do anything to save her. Second, the game is rather linear and somewhat predictable. Third, the graphics are gorgeous and imaginative, but much like the second item noted, the narrative is obvious, forced and somewhat silly at times.
But moving back into the story arc, after the king is slain, with the guards failing at subduing the Pyredaemos, Leonard tries to get the princess to safety beneath the castle. Just when it appears they are about to escape, the Pyredaemos shows up and gives chase. Leonard and Cisna are chased into the castle treasure vault where there is a shining, white suit of giant armor. More than merely armor, the armor is a weapon forged by the predecessors of the nations of the world, a race known as the Ancients. Lore states that only one deemed worthy can activate the armor. There is a glove, an ark, that connects to the armor, but to gain access to the armor, Leonard must fight an Umbral Spirit Phantom. Only after defeating the Phantom does Leonard enter in a pact with the Incorruptus. Within the armor of the White Knight, Leonard defeats the Pyredaemos, but as the battle ends, the Magi leader shows up and kidnaps the princess.
One of the enjoyable aspects of the game is the layering of story elements. Two kingdoms are about to go back to war, the princess has been kidnapped and somehow the only hope of
An Incorruptus a holy relic known at the ark is the key to the Incorruptus power, a weapon created by the ancients.
The combat system is predicated on using Action Credits (AC), and in order to summon forth the Incorruptus, the character that has forged the pact with the Incorruptus must have seven points available. Of course, as the character levels, more AC becomes available, but for those veterans of RPGs, AC is akin to mana. Every special skill uses AC. Once transformed into the Incorruptus, MP is used for attacks, which is much more effective and does bigger damage. If the character transforming has 12 or 15 AC when transforming, the Incorruptus will have more powerful skills.
Quests will yield drops that can be distributed to party members to bolster weapons and armament. Multiplayer comes into the picture when players team up online to battle the bigger monsters in the game in hopes of securing rare drops. Additionally, the game offers the opportunity for an online community through Geonet, where players can find others to team with or share adventures.
There are many elements endemic to the Japanese RPGs genre, but with real-time combat, stellar graphics, a good story and logic stones where progress can be saved (die and the game ends if save points were not created), White Knight Chronicles succeeds.
White Knight Chronicles has several faulty elements, but the game is long (the original released in Japan a couple of years back was estimated at 100 hours – but it can be done in between 65 and 80) and the story is decently layered making for a nice bit of J-RPG gaming.
Review Scoring Details for White Knight Chronicles
The game is structured in a manner to make players use healing spells instead of heal potions and there are other control elements that just don’t feel comfortable. Keep the instruction manual handy for shortcuts that are not intuitive. The camera can also get hung up on environmental elements, not allowing a 360-degree panning of the environment. Some things just seem odd – like the crystal camera to take pictures of adventures and scenery.
Imaginative creatures, great animations and wonderful special effects make this a visual treat.
Well done, but repetitious phrases underscore the game – like being told to hurry up and “I hope the princess is Ok.” The music is nice as well, but comes off like elevator music – hit and miss and hardly driving the action.
There are many stereotypical elements here, and while the story is solid in driving the action, the game stumbles in the area of the game mechanics.
The cooperative portions of the game come online Feb. 2, and should allow players the opportunity to hook up with others to tackle the harder quests. The Georama portion should be intriguing as well.
This is a visual treat and a nice team-based game. The game’s failings – in the area of inventory management, and typical JRPG elements (after all, this game was originally released in December 2008 – so if you backtrack the development, you have a game started several years prior), but should give gamers a nice challenge and a solid and entertaining experience.