8.0

White Knight Chronicles review
The White Knight Cometh

Summary:



A no-name game taking the formula of a game from an established series manages different reactions from the gaming community. It says a lot about the community when this happens, like it's alright for a new IP to do this, but if an established series changes, suddenly, it's World War III!

White Knight Chronicles is an interesting game. It, like Final Fantasy XII, has torn audiences apart. On one half, you have the people who hate it because they find the battle system too slow. On the other side of the fence, people praise it for its innovative battle system. Now, when it comes to Final Fantasy XII, I'm on no side. I liked the battle system, but the story and characters never peaked my interest, and ultimately, that's what keeps me playing an RPG. White Knight Chronicles's story, despite its simplistic nature, actually kept me coming back. Basically, when it comes to what side of the fence I'm on with White Knight Chronicles, I'm on the side with rainbows and butterflies.

The story revolves around a lad named Leonard. While delivering wine to a city that's under attack, he notices a princess, and within seconds, they're both together, inside a temple. He notices a suit of armor, and she chants a spell, which allows him to use the power of the armor. The armor transforms him into a giant, sword wielding mech warrior. Within a few more seconds, the princess is kidnapped, presumably because her kidnappers know that she can bring all of the suits of mechanical armor to life. Leonard, along with anybody who is willing to help, has to rescue her. There are some twists, but not a huge amount, and nothing worth spoiling here. The story, for the most part, is stock standard, and it's aware that it is. The dialogue, at times, just takes the piss out of the notion of it being chiche-ridden. But yeah, if you're looking for a deep, compelling story, you will be disappointed, because it never gets much deeper than armored knights and princesses that can awaken their powers.



If you've played Final Fantasy XII, you've played what I like to call "White Knight Chronicles without some refinements". So before you touch the back button and decide to blow money on the next Call Of Duty or Halo game, just hear me out. We'll cover the main system before tackling the differences.

Just picture, for a second, a turn based battle system... where you can move around the battlefield. Select a command, and wait for the circle to complete a rotation before you can execute that command. Simple and easy to figure out, but to make the most of it can take some time, since as you level up, you'll be learning more techniques, and you can also chain techniques together to deliver devastating blows.

What makes the combat system of White Knight Chronicles tick is the introduction of Action Chips, or AC for short. AC is gained over time by the player by defeating an enemy, or through multiple attacks within the inevitable battles one will face. Many stronger attacks require AC, and it is left to the gamer to govern over that distribution. Different attacks require a different amount of AC for use, so the appropriate time to employ such attacks is yet another variable left to the gamer's determination when formulating a combat strategy.

When Leonard has enough AC, he can turn into the White Knight. As long as there are enemies that can be targeted, or as long as your MP is up, you can use the White Knight to destroy enemies with ease. Unfortunately, since Leonard loses the armor as soon as there are no enemies within targeting range left, it's best that you use this on bosses, because transformation takes up a LOT of CP, which you'll need to use a lot of for combos against regular enemies.

Also, we don't need to deal with the licensing system that made equipping weapons so needlessly complicated. Instead, White Knight Chronicles opts for skill points. Player skills are situated into one of eight categories: six weapon-based categories including knife, sword and spear, as well as divine (white magic) and elemental (black magic), and levelling up your characters allows them to spend some skill points in those areas, allowing for a lot of character customization, which is always appreciable in role playing games, especially nowadays with the immense amounts of character customization in Oblivion and Mass Effect. Customization goes beyond the characters' skills - you also have your own customizable avatar. There is so much to customize; from height, to weight, to jaw depth - the only limit is in how human it should look. Sadly, you don't use that in the story mode, but you get to use it in the online mode, so don't think it's gone to waste when you've just spent a few hours making the most awesome character you can, only to not see him/her much in the story mode. Besides, White Knight Chronicles gets its brownie points from the online mode, anyway!



Before I touch base with the online compartment, there are two problems with the main game I have to point out. First off, distancing is weird. Your sword has to connect with the enemy... while their claws can be a couple of kilometers away, and still damage you. I suppose this was done because you could abuse the run away feature in Final Fantasy XII to avoid attacks, but this is a very cheap alternative, because you could be dying and you need to run away to heal while having your teammates finish off the enemies, and the enemies, being monsters, want to feast on your remains, no matter how far away you are, until you're out of their range.

The other problem is the pace of the game - it feels a little slow. Not against bosses, but more against enemies. With enemies, you just want to attack and maybe switch it up a bit every now and again, and with the way that the system is set up, it takes longer than it should. It's something that gets annoying after a while, since you'll be fighting a lot of enemies to level grind, so that you can stand a chance against the boss. With the bosses, it's different because you have to think your actions through. You can't just rush in and attack - you need a plan! This system caters to that because of its pace.

Online, you and a few others get to partake in the game's many quests, which range from killing a huge monster, to some puzzle solving here and there. As you complete quests, you gain points, and when enough points are gained, your guild levels up, and as your guild levels up, you can tackle more quests and gain more equipment. If you have a USB keyboard or (the more recommended) headset, you can chat with your guildmates. I have to say, this is a friendly lot. Sick of the knobs that plague Call Of Duty and Halo? Come on over to White Knight Chronicles! We promose you, we aren't assholes for the sake of it.



White Knight Chronicles may not have the best graphics in the world, but it has some nice looking locales and characters. The best part about the graphics would be that nothing ever feels redundant, which is an amazing change of pace, since some RPGs out there have many instances of recurring dungeons and samey looking NPC models. I suppose that's why the graphics don't have that sparkly PS3 magic touch - because they can't cut corners and regurgitate NPC models and dungeon locations.

The main theme song can stay in a person's head for ages, and the other music, while not as memorable, are still varied and fun to listen to and fit the area or event that is currently being played. The voice acting is also solid, as everyone gets into character fairly well and manages to breathe life into the script, which is fairly corny when I think about it... let's just say that the writers though of the corniest lines, and because there are times where the game humorosly takes a pot shot at some RPG cliches, in a sense, it works out well. Can't take pot shots without irony now, can't we?

If you're sick of generic RPGs and you want something different in the genre, especially multiplayer that surprisingly works very well, give White Knight Chronicles a call. Forget everything that relates to Final Fantasy XII, and jump in. The PS3 really needs more exclusive RPGs than Disgaea 3, Demons's Souls and *shudder* Cross Edge, and through buying this, it'll not only get more exclusives, but Level-5 will feel more enticed to release the sequel outside of Japan quicker, and I want to see how it turns out without the need to learn Japanese!

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Comments

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Vergil Ties Aug 4, 10
About *bleep*ing time you submitted this!

Pretty sweet review you got there. Only problem - you didn't discuss the White Knight itself. It's only the thing that makes the game the way it is. A few sentences, at the most, should suffice.
0 thumbs!
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Alyssa Aug 7, 10
I knew I forgot something. >_<

It's in there now. Thanks for the comment btw.
0 thumbs!
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Vergil Ties Aug 8, 10
Much better. Funny how an extra paragraph can make the review much better.
0 thumbs!
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Lukas Aug 5, 10
Yeah, figured that White Knight Chronicles would be the better version of Final Fantasy XII, which I thought was shit.

Awesome review. Excellent for a first attempt.
0 thumbs!
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Alyssa Aug 7, 10
Pretty much. I still liked the battle system somewhat, though it feels a bit slow and limited in comparison to White Knight's. What really turned me off of Final Fantasy XII in the long run was the storyline. Boring characters and lame dialogue turns me away from something that could've been good.

Thanks for the comment dude.
0 thumbs!
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Asianz Jan 3, 11
Wow weird, I'm currently playing Final Fantasy XII for the first time and was looking for a game similar to it,... and viola, happened by your review which compares it to it.. >.>; Yet to finish FFXII yet, but I'll keep this game in mind. Nice review!
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