GameSpot Reviews - White Knight Chronicles Video Review

Uploaded by gamespot on 03.02.2010

White Knight Chronicles has sprawling vistas featuring a variety of exotic climates, oversized
monsters that look a tad freaky but still surprisingly endearing, and towering knights
who use their swords of justice to bring peace to a land in trouble. It sounds like a pretty
awesome setting for an epic quest, but the experience quickly plummets into the depths
of banality after sinking a few hours into this adventure. There is no hook to lure you
into this pristine world, so although everything seems just dandy on the surface, a little
prodding below the surface reveals a jarring lack of depth. It is still fun to explore
this fantastical world to lay eyes on the colorful creatures that inhabit it, but because
it has such a predictable story and sleepy combat, White Knight Chronicles struggles
to establish an identity.
Princess Cisna remained mute for a decade, by her own choosing. And, just as luck would
have it, when she finally decides to speak again, she’s whisked away by a band of ancient
curmudgeons. Your goal is to rescue the now-talkative princess and bring happiness back to your
sad kingdom. The story itself isn’t particularly original, but it’s the manner in which it
is told that makes it hard to pay attention to. The characters are trite and uninteresting,
dutifully fulfilling their chosen archetypes without any semblance of flair to liven up
the proceedings. When a character you thought you knew is revealed to be a traitor, it’s
hard to even bat an eye because there is no emotional connection to these events or the
world at large. Terrible voice acting doesn’t help the matter either, making this long tale
drag on endlessly.
What’s most jarring about the story is how your created character fits into the mix.
At the start of your adventure, you craft a personality to control through the game,
naming them and contorting their face in whatever manner you choose. However, although you can
play through the vast majority of the game as your avatar, he or she does not participate
in the cutscenes except as a silent observer along for the ride. It’s strange that your
created character is not the protagonist, and doesn’t even have any speaking lines
in the entire game. When you choose to tackle side missions online with a few friends, you
do play as your character, but during the main adventure, they are a silent nobody.
The story may be forgettable, but at least the combat is a bit more interesting, at least
for awhile. Combat is entirely turn-based, although you can walk around the battlefield
at your leisure, getting close to the next enemy you want to attack while leaving as
much distance as possible between you and the 2 story tall troll. There are a number
of different spells and weapons to master on your quest, so you can mould your characters
into whatever sort of killing machine you imagine. It can be a lot of fun to string
combos together, launching enemies high in the air with a sure strike from your sword
or an explosive arrow strike, and falling a particularly tall monster certainly has
its appeal.
There are a couple issues with the fighting, though. First of all, it’s incredibly easy.
As long as each person in your party learns a basic healing spell, your enemies will be
hard pressed to kill you. Although it makes sense that a tiny spider won’t be able to
kill the heroes of the world, bosses topple and fall just as easily, removing any sort
of tension from these supposedly epic battles. Second, the fights are downright tedious.
Although you have to actively try to die, fights often drag on forever because enemy
life bars are so large. You can turn into a white knight to speed things up, but this
power is not always available, meaning you will often have to slog through long and grueling
battles that tax your patience, but never your skill.
Despite the shallow combat, fighting is still fun because of the wide assortment of odd
looking creatures you do battle with. From colorful Cerberuses towering over your tiny
party to gargantuan trolls who really hate being shot in their nether regions, the world
is populated with all sorts of wacky looking critters that are a pleasure to stare at while
you slice them down with your uncaring swords. The world itself is also vibrant and inviting,
making it enticing to explore every cranny in a bustling town or the nooks of a dank
It’s a shame that you will often be forced to poke around every inch of these environments
as you attempt to navigate the labyrinth layouts. All too often, the lands you most cross and
laid out like an intricate maze, and it’s not much fun trying to figure out the way
to freedom. Looping back over the same ground over and over again is anything but fun, especially
when enemies keep popping into view that you’ve already killing your first time through. While
each new place you visit is certainly a treat to look at when you first arrive, after you
finally reach the end of these elaborate stretches of land, you will be thankful you won’t
have to see it ever again.
You can finish the main quest in about 30 hours, but there is still more enemies to
plunder when you’re done. You unlock lots of different side missions during the course
of the game, and you can either tackle these by your lonesome or online with up to three
friends. However, there isn’t much variety in these extra objectives, so you just take
down the same enemies in the same environments as you did during your main quest.
There is a certain charm for those who want to level up their characters all the way and
earn the best weapons and armor, but lack of combat depth and objective variety ultimately
limits the appeal.
Outside of combat, there isn’t much to do in White Knight Chronicles. There is a city
building mini game, but it doesn’t offer enough tantalizing rewards to make it worthwhile
for long. You build shops and buildings, recruit residents from cities around the world, and
force them to procure rare items from your forging needs. But it takes so much money
to extract any benefit from your little suburb that it’s ultimately not worth the slightly
more powerful sword or sturdy shield you get for your troubles. And the requirements needed
to recruit worthwhile residents are so high, that you will lose interest in the game before
you have a bustling community of your own.
White Knight Chronicles is certainly a pretty game, but it lacks the pull great RPGs have.
The combat is serviceable but lacks depth, the story is a predictable yawn-fest, and
the beautiful dungeons are too easy to get lost in. It is fun teaming up with a few friends
to go on monster raids, but the lure of tackling oversized monsters in groups is not strong
enough to overshadow the various problems with the game.