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White Knight Chronicles PS3 Review - -

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 7.0
Sound 8.0
Value 7.8
Distributor: Sony
Review Date:
March 2010
Tyrone Williams


White Knight Chronicles

We all know that the Final Fantasy series is one of the most popular and best selling Japanese RPG titles and over the years we’ve seen our fair share of clones. Although it’s fair to say that there have been other contenders to the title, trying to crack that elusive Japanese and Western market which is quite a difficult chore and White Knight Chronicles is the latest game to attempt just that. Although I haven’t played a Final Fantasy game in quite a few years, I must admit that White Knights Chronicles was actually a refreshing change from games such as Bayonetta or Battlefield: Bad Company 2 which seems to be the “in” thing at the moment. And from I’ve seen of Final Fantasy XIII, the game seems too clever than its worth and White Knight Chronicles is in actually fact a return to basics.

At its core, White Knight Chronicles is your standard Japanese RPG title from its interface to battles, game mechanics and anime inspired graphics. While it doesn’t challenge the status quote of role-playing games, it has enough story and content to draw you in and before you know it, the clock has started ticking and hours upon hours have passed. In terms of time, the game takes around 60 to 100 hours to successfully finish.

The story revolves around Leonard, your avatar in this world who has been given the task of finding wine for the silent princess Cisna's 18th birthday. Since the assassination of Cisna's mother which she witnessed, our princess has not spoken a word which has been 10-years. As the celebrations begin, the castle is attacked and it seems that a neighbouring kingdom may be responsible. Leonard valiantly leads Cisna away from danger and get chased throughout the castle until they stumble on a huge suit of white armour, created by the Ancients themsleves. 

In order to control this armour, Leonard must first fight the Umbral Spirit Phantom and although he defeats the enemies and in all the chaos, the princess kidnapped. War is now eminent between the two kingdoms and Leonard must now rescue the princess and discover the true evil behind this nefarious act. There are some parallels between Zelda and White Chronicles and even romance between Leonard and Cisna in this cute and epic tale that although is a little clichéd and top heavy in Japanese story telling, it’s actually a very refreshing tale in all this gloom and doom. Apart from the main storyline of rescuing Princess Cisna and ending the war, the game contains dozens of mini-quests to embark on which generally involve solving problems for others and of course getting more bonuses for your characters.

In terms of combat, the game is quite reminiscent of the older Final Fantasy games which as you are thrown into the deep end, trying to keep one step ahead of your attacks, heals and strategies. Of course, if you succeed, you are awarded points which can then be used to level your characters skills. Instead of summoning elemental or other great creatures from the abyss or heavens, in White Knight Chronicles, you basically summon these ancient creatures or Incorruptus as they are called in the game can really dish out the damage where needed, however you need to collect action chips in order to use them. Basically, the Incorruptus were used as weapons between the two kingdoms and now these weapons of war have once again been called into action.

As you fight with a variety of weapons and power-ups, White Knight Chronicles even allows you to engage in combo attacks which is a little unusual for an RPG title but even so, it actually works quite well and livens up a relatively older gaming interface but some timing by the player is needed. Like Final Fantasy, you have other characters in your party to assist you with the battles. In terms of monsters, there is enough variety of keep you interested, although I would of liked to see a little bit more variety. For controls, I'm not sure if it was the translation from Japanese to English but the mapping and ways you access the menus is a little convoluted and a manual would have been handy to assist in reviewing the game. One cool thing that I should point out is that you can play this game online with friends and anything you gained there is automatically transferred back to your single-player game.

Graphically, the biggest letdown of the White Knight Chronicles is that the graphics look quite dated in relation to just about every game available now. Apparently, this game has been in pre-production for quite some time and this has caused all the characters to have a dated and simplistic look. From the cartoony and simplistic drawings to the Spartan background environments, it's unfortunately a little bland at times.

However, even with this simplistic feel, the game feels quite Nintendo-ish at times from its colourful characters and simplified gaming engine that does not make it unplayable but rather a little limiting and to a small extent, childish. In terms of technology, my favourite aspect of the game is the soundtrack that sounds like your traditional Japanese RPG game and quite MIDI in their tunes. Add in some over the top voice acting and some entertaining sound effects and the sound generally helps pull everything together.

At the end of the day, White Knight Chronicles may not be the latest and greatest Final Fantasy game, however in terms of playability, it actually works in a strange sort of dated way. The story is engaging, the combat system quite sturdy, especially with the introduction of combo attacks and best of all, this game will give you a considerable amount of hours of gameplay. It’s just a shame that its dated feel will hamper the sales and for me, in this world of eye candy and next-generation console gaming, White Knight Chronicles does lack a little in this arena. Definitely one game for the hardcore RPG gamers but a little has been lost in translation.


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