White Knight Chronicles

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White Knight Chronicles

Postby aamesxdavid on Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:24 pm

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Allow me to present a hypothetical situation. Let's say you have a PS3, and don't own White Knight Chronicles.

What the hell is wrong with you?

I have a few theories on this:

Problem: You read/watched a review of the game.

I have a difficult time trusting reviews in general, so if I'm really on the fence about something, I'll check out as many as I can, and let the average pros and cons sway me. I don't remember the last time I was so let down by reviewers that I was angry at myself for letting them hold me back from a title. I was waiting for at least one review to praise it, but it didn't happen. In fact, the only reason I ended up getting it at all was for online play. If the above scenario applies to you, I feel you have been misled.

Problem: You don't like RPGs.

While there may not be anything objectively wrong with you in this case, my love for the genre is such that you might as well have two heads with the way I will look at you. I also don't think it really applies to many here.

Problem: A friend never told you it was awesome.

Maybe you don't read reviews, but base purchases on friends' opinions when you're not sure. But perhaps that friend reads reviews, and then we're back to square one. We're all friends here: this game is awesome. Fix'd.


Disclaimer:

To be more specific, this game leans in the JRPG direction - while it's open-world and more action-based than most, there's still a turn-based-style element, anime-like graphics, and micro-managing gear/abilities/stats (and save-a-princess storyline - couldn't resist). Back to your regularly scheduled review.

Format stolen from Sanshin77.


Presentation:
This game is so gorgeous that not even the godly hardware of the PS3 can handle it! Okay, slightly facetious there, but there are some framerate drops when you get lots of enemies on screen, or occasionally when one is huge. So I guess it's kind of good and bad, but overall, it's a truly beautiful game. Much care went into every detail of its presentation, and it shows.

Score: 9.0 (including the slight reduction for framerate issues)

Gameplay:
You start off in a highly detailed character customization screen. Win. Moments into the game, you begin to realize that this avatar is not the main character.

What?! You mean I went through all of that work to create a mute, second-class fillerbunny? (Please someone get that reference.)

This really belongs in the "Story" section (thus will not be included in the score for Gameplay), but is worth mentioning here. You will occasionally be set controlling Leonard (the main character) rather than your own character - which you can change most of the time, fortunately. Also, Leonard is the only one who can transform into the White Knight. So you cannot solely play your custom character. As a small aside, it's obvious this was done so that you can have some character customization, but still have the main character voiced. This makes me long for the day of convincing computer-generated speech.

So let's get back to the basics here.
Pros: Battle is evenly-paced and fun. The ATB gauge (for the Final Fantasy crowd) gives you time to select something from your action bar. Creating your own combos is a great way to add customization to battle, and get multiple hits/abilities into one "move". Character development is great; you get points every level that you can spend on abilities and stat boosts from any class (abilities are based on the weapon you are carrying, but stats stay). Doing quests online is awesome, and you can create your own town to invite friends to, and populate it with in-game NPCs (merchants, crafters, etc). And the first time I selected a shop's door, and they just opened and I walked in, with no loading time/area changing, I nearly shat myself. Then I quickly realized how absurd it is that I've just accepted that a shop requires an entire area swap. Hello, 21st century. JRPG developers: take note.

This game rewards exploration like no other. If you're given a destination on the map for a quest, go every other direction first. There are treasure chests buried in random corners of the world, you'll get tons of experience in your travel, get lots of items (drops as well as gathering spots), and lots of money. And as already mentioned the scenery is beautiful and varied, so your eyes will never be bored. I've done so much exploration that I was actually overleveled for a part of the game. One boss fight, you're supposed to transform Leonard into the White Knight, which is more powerful. But I took it down so fast, it wasn't even worth transforming. I just used MY character instead.

Cons: This game isn't perfect. But I really only have a few issues with it. One is being knocked down in battle. Even if it doesn't do much damage, being knocked down by a large enemy (and there are many large enemies in the game) takes your weak ass a good five seconds to recover from, if not more. At which point the enemy has prepared its next move, and if that next move also knocks you down, you've spent over ten seconds of battle incapacitated, regardless of your ATB gauge. And if you select an ability but are knocked down before you can execute it, sometimes it cancels and you've wasted a "turn". It really doesn't happen all that often, but it is an annoyance when it does happen. I'm pretty sure there was one other minor thing, but it escapes me at the moment.

Score: 9.5

Audio:
Great variety of realistic sounds, well-placed 3D audio, and nice effects. The first time I ran under a stone archway while a character was talking, and his voice was suddenly thickened by reverb, I nearly dropped the controller. I love that kind of attention to detail. The only complaint I have here is some of the voiceover work, but that's actually probably more an issue of the writing than the actors. The music reinforces the scene, but never gets overbearing - it knows its place.

Score: 9.5

Story/Characters:
Yeah, "your" character isn't the main character. In fact, I'm not sure you ever -need- to play as your custom character. But most of the time, you can, and I guess that's what's important. He (or she) may stand idly by in cutscenes, but you can make them the in-game badass.

Yes, there really is a "save the princess" story. Please, JRPG developers, at least try to vary your storylines. Surely there are other ways to motivate a player to continue the game than a kidnapped princess. Test us.

I'm not far enough into the story to accurately rate it, so it hasn't gotten to the point of being truly memorable, but it has potential thus far. I have two gripes in this department though: absurd ideas and stupid characters. One example of each will demonstrate what I mean.

Absurd ideas: Cool, there's this pair of owl-like creatures that can communicate over large distances so we can track our kidnapped princess. They can transmit what the other is hearing, even, so we can talk to her, and vice-versa. Bit of a stretch, but okay. Oh, and their eyes are holographic projectors. What? Oh, but we have to ask the princess if she knows where she is, because apparently the bird itself is clueless when it will add tension to the scene. Okay, fuck these birds.

Stupid characters: We must find and rescue the princess. Okay, we found her. And we defeated the boss and rescued her. Wow, that was fa-

Nevermind, someone turned around for two seconds, and she was taken again.

Really? Are these characters that incompetent that four people can't make sure the princess they just rescued isn't kidnapped again ten feet away from them? I'd rather there just have been a random boss left behind than feel like I got somewhere on this quest only to start over again. (Okay, there was an arguably good story reason for her to be there, but not worthwhile to have to write stupid characters.)

So I spent more time complaining, but really, the story serves its purpose - I do want to see what happens, and I do want to kick the bad guys' asses.

Score: 7.5

Overall:

Score: 9.0

If you like JRPGs, it's a no-brainer. Lots of customization in every area, great exploration, and fun online questing. And you can repeat these (optionally) online quests, so if you need to level, get more money or items, this is a great way to do it, especially with friends.

Okay, I just looked at the preview, and this post is long as shit. I guess that's good if you're interested in the game? Hope so!
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Re: White Knight Chronicles

Postby JaxDragon on Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:40 pm

Level-5 is known to make fantastic games. They're the ones who made Dark Cloud 1 &2, Rogue Galaxy, and the Professor Layton games on the ds(not RPG, but still a great game). The only reason I havn't bought this game, is because I don't have any money. It looks great though.
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Re: White Knight Chronicles

Postby eatcomics on Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:03 pm

loves me some johnen vasquez :D Fillerbunny is one of my favorites
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Re: White Knight Chronicles

Postby davidthefat on Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:11 am

Is it better than Dragon Age Origins? Cause I love that game and barely play it... Ironic I know, I barely play my PS3 now days, if I ever play any games, its SC2 :lol:
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Re: White Knight Chronicles

Postby eatcomics on Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:31 pm

just got sc2 I suck though...
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Re: White Knight Chronicles

Postby ibly31 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:59 pm

I think the words "i just got" pretty much get rid of the need to put "i suck though". Unless you played SC1, but trust me you'll get better. That game is ammmaazzinggg
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Re: White Knight Chronicles

Postby eatcomics on Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:37 pm

Only thing is I've been playing a pirated beta... and I watch all the pro vids... oh well I'll get better
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Re: White Knight Chronicles

Postby aamesxdavid on Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:41 am

davidthefat wrote:Is it better than Dragon Age Origins? Cause I love that game and barely play it...


You know what, I'm gonna have to say yes. I also have Dragon Age for PS3, and even though I really like it, it loses me sometimes. Like there's a lull, or something hard to find/get to, and I start to lose interest. WKC is perfectly paced, and when I stop playing, it's not because I don't feel like going through that part at the moment, it's because it's 2 AM and I have work in the morning. :lol: And I'm genuinely excited to get back to it, because I'll already have a goal (on top of the story quest. Usually new equipment. One thing I am always pleasantly surprised with is the equipment. I've never been underwhelmed by a piece of gear, every time I find something and equip it, I think (sometimes out loud) "oh, fuck yes."

Dragon Age has an arguably better story*, but White Knight Chronicles is more fun.

*Okay, I don't know who would argue against that, but I suppose one could.
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