I’m always up for a good RPG. I don’t tend to buy as many of them as your typical action, fighting, or sports game because of how long it takes to beat one. That being said, all of the RPGs that I’ve played lately have been great. The Last Story, Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2, Kingdom Hearts II, etc. I can’t say that I had outrageously high hopes for White Knight Chronicles at first, but this is also part of the RPG style of thinking. I usually don’t really get into it until the plot is underway. Because of this, White Knight Chronicles has been in my backlog for possibly over 2 years. I died instantly in the first level and never went back. Now, I finally got around to going back and completing it. White Knight Chronicles is certainly an RPG that I’d recommend to anyone and it’s one of the best that I’ve experienced.
The plot in White Knight Chronicles is surprisingly basic for an RPG. Of course, there are many subplots and other plots introduced to make the game longer, but I am covering the game as a whole so it’s pretty basic from the way that I am discussing it. Leonard, Terry, and Yulie deliver some wine to a castle during a party, but they are late as per usual. That’s when another army attacks and monsters invade the place. They are driven off, but not before the Black Knight murders the King. Much more importantly, the princess is kidnapped and Leonard quickly goes to protect her. The heroes ultimately lose the Princess and now the three of them must team up with a strange man named Eldore to rescue her. The adventure takes them through many areas and there are several plot twists. Seriously, there are about a dozen twists in the final few cutscenes.
The plot is fun enough and the open world feeling of the game makes it all cool. It’s typically sunny out so the game is actually very light hearted despite the calamities and the deaths. We have a subplot where a few guards are sad about this and go on a journey, but this goes nowhere. The end of the game shows that they are still walking so that unsubtlely hints that it would be covered in the sequel. The concept of saving the princess may be pretty old at this point, but it’s still good enough. There is also the fact that Leonard has the power of the White Knight within him and he can transform. There are 5 Knights in the prophecy and the heroes need to make sure that none of them fall into the hands of the villains. Let the games begin!
Leonard is the main character of the game and I can’t say that I really cared for him. He definitely wasn’t a bad character, but he didn’t have much of a personality and it was hard to root for him. Luckily, his worst scene was reversed as there was a plot twist behind it. He wants to rescue Princess Cisna and he’s earnest about it, but he’s more into romance than most leads. I just couldn’t really take him seriously and it got worse when he constantly let the villains get away with murder (literally) and never stops them. Why is Leonard so slow when it counts? (This also applies to the rest of the heroes for the most part)
Kara is introduced at around the middle of the story or perhaps a little earlier. She’s really serious compared to the rest of the cast and she is always exchanging hostility with Eldore. The party members may not always get along, but at least Kara isn’t petty about it. She usually just sticks to glaring as the group goes about their business. She’s skilled with a sword and also comes attached with a sad origin. She’s a good member of the group and definitely more likable than some of the others as she can fight pretty well.
Terry is easily the best character in the game, but that goes without saying. Terry is the avatar that you create and add into the story. Not only was Terry a whole lot stronger than the other heroes, but his design was incredible. He had a beard and he looked as if he was in his 70’s instead of being a teenager. Terry really stole the show for me and he towered over the other characters. It’s just too bad that he couldn’t talk.
Cisna is the main reason as to why the game lasted so long. It’s a classic save the Princess story and Cisna takes it all pretty well. She gets friendly with Leonard a little too quickly I’m afraid, but I suppose that it was inevitable. Cisna vaguely has some abilities, but unfortunately, she doesn’t have any real attack magic. It would have come in handy in so many different scenes, but I suppose that it was just not meant to be. I wasn’t a fan of Cisna, but she wasn’t a bad character either. She just didn’t get enough screen time to actually get a substantial personality
Yulie is one of the main characters, but her role is very minimal. She gets a smaller role because she doesn’t have any big plot twist moments and doesn’t contribute to the plot. She has her own subplot as she’s sad that Leonard is being more distant lately, but there are no time for friendships during war. She is all right, but Yulie really didn’t get much of a personality as the game went on.
Eldore is one of the original members in White Knight Chronicles and he’s around from the start. He always sounds like he’s very tired or just completely bored so I can’t say that he was one of the more likable characters. I really could have done without him and Eldore is always very vague even when he doesn’t have to be. He can fight, but one has to wonder how much help he will be since he’s so advanced in age. Eldore isn’t a bad character, but as with some of the others, he’s not really a good character either.
Caesar joins the group a little later into the story, but he definitely lightens the atmosphere. He’s always talking and his skills are very impressive. He never really backs down when the villains appear and he’s brimming with confidence. Caesar isn’t the best member of the group, but he’s much better than what I had been expecting when he first appeared. He was very useful and he had a strong personality.
Grazel is the main villain and he actually gets introduced pretty late into the story. He is really the only good villain in the entire series who doesn’t hide his identity. He wants to be ruler of all and he’s very direct about this. His abilities are solid and one can understand his motivations. He may not be a villain that I’ll find very memorable in the long run, but he’s infinitely more interesting than most of the other characters. Grazel can also back up his tough talk, which is always an added bonus.
The Black Knight is a mysterious figure who appears throughout the story. After he took out the King, it was safe to say that few could match his incredible power. The Black Knight is one of the few characters who takes the heroes seriously at first and he gives it his all. The Black Knight reminded me a little of Darth Vader. I guess the big question is who’s behind the mask? It’s a question that you will be wondering about as the Black Knight faces off with the heroes from time to time. They never get a break! He’s definitely a pretty solid villain and someone who you can root for.
Belcitane is one of the big villains and he always acts like he’s in charge even if that assumption could be fatal. He’s definitely not likable as he can hardly fight and he’s really just an overweight politician who has gotten in over his head. He’s seriously not my kind of villain and there’s nothing menacing about him. He could have been cut out of the villain and nobody would be any the wiser.
Shapur is the right hand man of Grazel and he doesn’t do a whole lot in this game. I assume that he will do a lot more in the sequel to explain what his purpose is and why he has some interesting powers. Grazel should definitely watch his back whenever Shapur is around. Shapur makes for a cool boss fight design wise even if he wasn’t much of a challenge. I’m definitely waiting for an explanation as to how Shapur could obtain that form because it may have looked cool, but it didn’t make sense. Shapur isn’t really likable, but it’s always good to have more villains.
The gameplay for White Knight Chronicles is very similar to the .Hack series. Essentially, it’s a turn based system like Pokemon, but you can get into big battles of 10 against 3. When it is your turn to attack, you need to be close enough to hit your target or you can also use the turn to heal or transform. You are able to run around during battles and fleeing requires you do run far away from the battle that is taking place. I still prefer the typical RPG (Pokemon) style gameplay, but this one can be very fun as well. I have played the game for over 30 hours and I’m still ready for more. The gameplay doesn’t really get old during combat and you can fight for a long time without getting bored. I plan on getting the trophy for beating 3000 enemies and I likely wouldn’t try if the gameplay wasn’t fun. Outside of combat, you run from area to area and some of the locations can be long. That is really my only complaint and I wish that they could have shrunk the areas a bit. It is simply this large so that you can take your time getting through the levels and it can be fun, but not when you’re in a hurry. Still, the negatives could have been a lot worse so I’d say that this is ok.
In terms of the soundtrack, the game isn’t as good as you may expect. There were no really memorable tunes in the game and even the boss fight themes weren’t that good if they were around at all. I really only recall the minion theme and that’s about it. It’s definitely possible that the game just didn’t have a wide selection of music to play and that’s why I can’t remember them.
White Knight Chronicles’ graphics are not extremely impressive, but they will have to do. We get a few large scale CGI cutscenes that look impressive and get to show off what the game can do when it’s serious. We don’t get a whole lot of them, but they aren’t bad. Most of the cutscenes are really just the gameplay models moving around, which is still good, but not great. The characters aren’t very detailed, but look good enough so that the transformation scenes never get old. This is good because you’ll have to experience them a bunch of times. I do give the animators props in that we get quite a few battles in the cutscenes. They may not look amazing, but I’m still glad to have them. The graphics are certainly bearable and won’t take away from the experience.
One area where White Knight Chronicles excels in is replay value. It’s almost unlimited and you could end up playing this game for months or even a year if you tried to do everything. After completing the story mode, (Which took me 30 hours) you can complete it again. This is recommended because you can get some extremely impressive gear. After that, you are ready to enter the world of 50+ missions. The first few are decently easy once you are at around level 30. After that, the missions get pretty tough. I’ve only completed around 5-6 missions and the rest are mostly beyond me at this point. Without all of the legendary gear that you could have obtained online, it’s very difficult. Still, you can keep on leveling up and rebirthing until you have mastered all roles and have a very impressive fighter at your side. Just doing this will likely take weeks unless you get to some tough missions where you get a whole lot of exp. Just going to the stores and trying to get all of the gear to upgrade them to bind more gear will take hours as you have to keep going back and forth unless you get a checklist. (Highly recommended) Most of the missions can take anywhere from 20-50 minutes and you need to hope that you beat them off the bat. Either way, time is not an issue in this game and you can be certain that you got a lot of content for the price that you paid. (9 dollars in my case)
Of course, another factor involved in replay value are the PS3 Trophies. Unfortunately, this is one of those games where the trophies aren’t really well done. It’s all a matter of perspective of course, but there aren’t enough of them and you should at least get one trophy for completing the game. Completing the game and not getting any story related trophies is a little dicey. I got a decent amount of trophies considering that many of them are really made when considering that you would be in a group. The trophies are just too time consuming and some are borderline impossible at this point. I’m not going to spend the hundreds of hours needed to get the final trophies. It’s just not worth it to me. Of course, that is a lot of replay value so I suppose that it can be seen as a positive.
Overall, this was an excellent game and it was fairly close to getting a 9. Transforming into the Knight form is always fun and it really increases your attack power. The gameplay stays fun throughout the whole game and the plot is nice and light. It’s fun to experience the world and there aren’t many boring moments. There are definitely a few of them scattered around, but nothing too drastic. The heroes can get very annoying as they constantly watch in horror as the villains murder their friends or just let them escape to fight another day. The game ends rather abruptly on a cliffhanger, which is great news for those who plan on buying the sequel. Having such large amounts of replay value is great as well and I definitely recommend this to all RPG fans. You’ll love it and get hooked right away as the plot thickens.