White Knight Chronicles is a long-awaited RPG for the PS3 from Level 5. Having been announced around 5 years ago, some wondered if it would ever come out, and even then the question of American availability came into question. Well, there’s no doubt about it now; White Knight Chronicles is here, and the only question now is whether or not it’s any good. The answer may surprise you.
The story in White Knight Chronicles starts off, and remains relatively cliche. Nothing about it jumped out at me as being completely original, and I never felt much of a connection with any of the characters. You start off creating a character with options galore, allowing you to customize your appearance down to the jaw size and eye color. I was actually thrilled and shocked to see how much detail went into the character creation, as it seems that a lot of games tend to put less emphasis on customization and more on creating a set of canned characters to choose from. After finishing the creation, the story begins by introducing Leonard, who works at a local pub, and needs to find some barrels across a field. Of course, it all goes to hell pretty quickly once we find out that the King has been killed, and it’s then that the true power of White Knight Chronicles becomes clear.
Very early on, Leonard acquires the power from the Ark which is a giant suit of armor. Once Leonard learns to harness this power, he can transform into the suit of armor and fight the large enemies that you meet throughout the game. While this was very novel to me at first, it faded somewhere along the way, when you find out the only difference between this and the normal combat scenarios is that, this time, you become very large. I must say, though, it is exciting to take out giant enemies, almost as if you’re in a backwards Transformers world.
The combat in White Knight Chronicles compares to more of the massively multi-player variety than anything else. You mostly end up looking for your next objective until you come across enemies throughout the land. Your party can fight with you depending on how you have set up their commands. Commanding your party all depends on how their skills are organized. The way I set my party up was: One melee fighter, one magic caster and one magic healer. I made it through the majority of battles without dying because if a member became close to death, they would automatically be healed by that certain party member. Besides the few skill classes mentioned here, there are several more to choose from in order to customize your party even further. It seems that the game really does allow you to customize the experience to how you want it to be.
The combo system combined with the White Knight transformation sequences make up the best parts of White Knight Chronicles. With the combo system, you can create a combo that unleashes several attacks in one sequence, provided you have enough AC built up from fighting enemies with regular attacks. Once you pick the combo to unleash, you just have to keep tapping the attack button until the combo finishes. Simple, easy and elegant are words to describe the system, and combos are also very easy to set up as well. The only truly bad thing I could say about the combos is that they are sometimes height restricted, which can cause the occasional problem or two.
Graphically, White Knight Chronicles is not the best looking game, but it does the job nicely. The style has an appealing feel that some games in the genre lack. Each of the characters looks distinct and the worlds are very vast. Although, some parts can be jarring, such as the FMV cutscene transitions and blurry far-off backgrounds. The score is a real treat in this game, combining metal with orchestral music that is an absolute joy to listen to.
Overall, White Knight Chronicles sums up what a good, modern JRPG should be for the most part. The battle system remains interesting for long enough and the story provides some nice, albeit cliche moments. Without reviewing the online portion, it’s difficult to say how much extra playtime this will add to the game, but I’m sure it will be a good chunk of time. If you can stand some of its repetitive nature and the cliche story, White Knight Chronicles should provide you with a good time.