Fall is here and it’s officially the season of all of the big-name game releases, but I wanted to take the time first to inform you on a PS3 exclusive that may have slipped through the cracks. Back in February of 2010 I reviewed LEVEL-5’s White Knight Chronicles, and as I stated then, it ended on a pretty significant cliff hanger. Released on September 13th, White Knight Chronicles II picks up right where the first title ended with a series of improvements that are to combat some of the major grievances players had with the first game. Being a fan of the original, I was quite excited to see how the remainder of this hardcore RPG was going to play out.
The first thing that needs to be pointed out is that this is not a sequel to the first game; this is the second half of the story. Luckily the first game is included in this package, so if you’re new to the series, you can and absolutely should start right from the very beginning. If you’ve not checked out my review for the original game, I’d recommend checking that out first, as most of the mechanics such as leveling up, combat and load outs remain the same throughout.
If you’ve played the original game, you can import your clear save file right into number 2 and continue with your levels, money and gear. The import though is not a smooth transition as you are required to rebuild your characters by allocating their points into the skill trees and rebuilding your combos and custom combat load outs. You also have to pull all of your gear out of item storage and manually equip all of your characters. It seems that this should have been done automatically.
White Knight II took me 40 hours to complete without doing any of the side quests. If you were to start from the beginning of the first game and do all of the content including errands and quests, you’re looking at around 150-200 hours. Seriously, there is a just ton to do. But despite the great length of the game, you really only gain a few new zones as for the most part, you’re simply back tracking through the zones you played through in the first title.
The story picks up one year following the events of White Knight with Grazel now leading his powerful army to destroy the kingdoms of the world. Once again, you take on the role of Leonard as he and his companions try to prevent this from happening. Early in your adventure you gain the ability to travel back in time to key events from the first game to gather information to aid you in your quest. While I found the ending to be a letdown, overall I found the story to be pretty interesting with some nice little twists that brought some smiles to my face. The difficulty of the game has also been significantly increased and the boss battles are all pretty epic, especially the final one.
A New Game+ mode unlocks upon completing the second game. The monsters don’t scale with you though and there is no additional loot – it merely lets you play through the story again with access to one new zone. You may also load your clear save file and access this new zone and clear up any remaining quests you may have missed out on.
There were supposed to be a bunch of improvements to the game to address issues players had with the first title, but overall, I didn’t really notice them. The combat feels really slow as it’s still a turn-based system set in a real-time world. You can move around the battlefield, but in the end, you’re always waiting on a timer before you can initiate an attack and your position only matters to the few area-of-affect abilities in the game.
There is a massive list of abilities and spells for your characters to learn including several powerful new additions, but I had a serious problem managing my mana to the point where I was essentially forced to use the most basic boring attacks just so I’d have enough mana to use my fun moves when I needed them. I would have preferred real time button mashing combat with the ability to spam the cool moves the whole time.
The developers have added over 150 errands to the both White Knight I and II which will eventually lead you to some really powerful rewards and will help level up your guild score, but overall I found them to be quite tedious and monotonous. Usually they involve traveling from town to town relaying pointless messages to various townsfolk. They are very uninteresting, but if you want their rewards, you’ve got to endure them.
Much of the combat revolves around utilizing the incorruptus, or bad-ass massive knights, to deal with the most powerful foes. White Knight II will grant you access to all of the knights in the game, as well as allow your custom avatar to gain their own customizable knight. To me, utilizing the knights was the most fun part of the game, and usually it meant that some hectic shit was going down and you were barely going to survive a fight!
The online Georama where you can customize your own hometown has returned and a massive number of new quests have been added as well, now with support to up to 6 players. Again, all of the coolest most powerful gear comes from these quests so if you want to max out your characters, you’re going to spend some serious time here after you’ve completed the game.
The pre-rendered cut scenes again look beautiful and the art style as a whole is great, but the graphics still feel a bit dated. I experienced screen tearing throughout most of the game but the framerate always remained intact. The voice actors for the most part were enjoyable and the soundtrack that accompanies your adventure was top-notch.
It may seem like I’ve been nagging a bit here and there. I think that White Knight Chronicles really had some potential to be great. It has an interesting story, tons of cool gear, abilities and lots to do, but the turn-based mechanics bring it down a few pegs. Regardless, I enjoyed the entirety of the time I spent on both games and I still recommend giving it a shot if you are in to hardcore RPGs. You can’t beat the price for up to 200 hours of content including both games on a single disc.
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Release Date: September 13, 2011
For commentated Game-play: – http://www.youtube.com/ZGRWhyUDead
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**This title was provided to me free of charge from the publisher to review for you.