White Knight Chronicles II Review
White Knight Chronicles II Review
Japan - July 8th, 2010
Europe - June 10th, 2011
North America - September 13th, 2011
Only available on PlayStation 3
ESRB: T - PEGI: 16 - CERO: B
White Knight Chronicles II is the sequel to Level-5's 2008 JRPG White Knight Chronicles. It continues on the adventures of Leonard and friends on their quest to defeat the evil Yshrenian Empire. Throughout the quest, you'll face tough monsters and witness a number of quirky twists.
White Knight Chronicles II was first released in Japan back in July 2010, and has only recently made its way to western shores back in June. It has only recently made reached North America's hands. Does White Knight Chronicles II serve a giant sized adventure, or will it stumble and fall flat?
White Knight Chronicles II continues approximately one year after the events of White Knight Chronicles. The story begins as Leonard and company are asked by Princess Cisna to visit the Grand Archduchy of Faria and request an audience with Father Yggdra. On the way though, they find the descendent of the late Archduke Dalam who was killed by the Magi in the first White Knight Chronicles, Miu. Her life is seemingly put in danger and Faria falls into Civil War. General Scardigne is tasked with keeping Miu safe and escorting her away from Faria. Leonard and friends save them after being cornered by the Red Army and the group set out to liberate Faria.
After they meet with Father Yggdra, he requests that they find three insignia of Queen Murea's power, in order to defeat the Yshrenian Empire. The story begins from there.
While White Knight Chronicles II's plotline may have a great premise compared to the constant "Save the Princess" arc of the first game, it occasionally can fall flat as well. To start with, White Knight Chronicles II has you constantly backtracking to previously visited areas from the first game, and there are very little new areas separate from the first game. A number of areas from the first have been expanded upon quite a bit, but the occasional backtracking may seem tedious to some. Second, the game can feel like a fetch quest with very bad pacing.
The characters, on the other hand, are each well done. The voice acting is pretty top-notch but there can be a few flat ones. A number of characters from the first obviously return, with a number of newcomers. Some characters can occasionally fall into JRPG cliches though, and the dialogue isn't pure RPG gold. Lip synching from the first game has been drastically improved, with the lips matching exactly what the characters are saying.
However overall, story may not be the reason you will be playing White Knight Chronicles in the first place.
The gameplay is exactly the same as the first, albeit with a few minor and major changes. To begin with, the battle system feels much faster compared to its predecessor. The action gauge is automatically charged as soon as you begin battle, whereas in the first it will have to charge as soon as you begin battle. The action gauge also charges as you attack, compared to the first where it would not charge until you were finished with your attack. Action Chips are still present, and a number of skills from the first have been removed with a handful of skills for each tree added.
You can still transform into the mega-powerful knights, but the knights have been nerfed a little bit from the first game. Aside from story based battles, only one character can transform at a time. The MP total never rises aside from equipping artifacts to your knights, which means that you'll have a lot less time as the knight. On the flip side, most skills no longer cost MP. So you're MP total will go down at a slow pace unless you are using a certain skill that costs MP. Your custom built avatar even gets his or her own knight after a certain story point!
Each character can be skilled in different classes. The skill tree makes a return, and you can build your characters in a way however you want to make them, albeit the main characters have a few restrictions. Your custom made avatar is given a free for all however. It's nice that White Knight Chronicles II is giving the player their own chance to build characters in their own way, rather than the characters level up and just learn his or her own unique skills.
Most problems that were about the battle system from the first game have been addressed: Combat is much faster and damage now scales with distance (which means enemies have a vastly low accuracy if they try to hit you from too far away).
If you enjoyed the battle system from the first game, you'll enjoy the update features for the second game.
Bonuses and Extras/Multiplayer
To begin with, White Knight Chronicles online system still continues to shine. You can still bring your custom made avatar online to quest with other players. There are a number of new quests for you and your friends to tackle together. You can make your own custom made town through Georama, although the costs can be expensive. So expect effort to come out of your money pocket. You can put your town online for other players to visit! Online mode will most likely be the true reason why you are playing White Knight Chronicles II in the first place, because it offers hundreds upon hundreds of hours of gameplay. You are now awarded Dahila as you complete quests, which can be used to buy some items, equipment and accessories that you can't normally find in the main story or via binding.
Outside from the online, there are a number of sidequests that you can tackle offline. Online quests can still be played offline, but you can now bring the in-game party with you if you are going solo, so you won't really be doing it solo in the end. Having the party as extra backup can really benefit you if you can't get online.
There are also bounty quests, which are sort of like Final Fantasy XII's hunt based system. What you do is go to any town's adventurers guild and undertake in a number of bounty quests. You simply accept a bounty, go to the area where you can find the monster, take the monster out, report back and you can claim your bounty. On the negative side, you can only undertake one bounty quest at a time. The bounty rewards are pretty nice as well, and give you powerful weapons as well as raise your guild rank.
There are also errands, which can occasionally be downright tedious. You can undertake errands by talking to certain citizens throughout the world, and are labeled as a red dot on the map. But here's the thing: some quests involve running around town talking to people that are barely a stone throw's away from each other, or going through towns which can occasionally feel tedious. The rewards are nothing special, although some unlock certain locked skills on the skill tree. If you want to platinum the game, you will have to do them.
Overall, White Knight Chronicles II is packed full of extras that will keep you playing for quite a while. And before I close up, there's also the very first White Knight Chronicles included in the game. This means that you can go through the entire remastered first game for the price of two games!
White Knight Chronicles II is sure to please the JRPG advocate. Even if you aren't a JRPG fan, it's worth checking out. The online is deep and intuitive, and you are getting more than your money's worth with the first White Knight Chronicles included. Most of the problems from the first game have been addressed, so if you like what you see or what you've heard, go for it. You won't be disappointed with this colossal sized adventure.
- Battle system is much faster and more fun
- Hundreds of hours of online gameplay
- Character and town customization
- A great number of sidequests to detract from the main story
- Two games in one; includes the fully remastered WHITE KNIGHT CHRONICLES.
- Storyline falls flat and into cliches.
- Errands can seem tedious
- A great number of backtracking through previously visited areas is involved.