It’s rare in this day and age, that a publisher would give a game that had extremely mixed reception a sequel – especially one that had a meta score of only 64. Thankfully however, D3 Publisher isn’t like most other publishers, and has decided to bring White Knight Chronicles 2 to the US (despite Sony passing on publishing the sequel like they did the last). While it still may not be perfect, it’s definitely an improvement over the first game – but will it be enough to make this series that could be something great finally succeed?
First off, if you’ve never played the first White Knight Chronicles – you’re in luck! Every copy of White Knight Chronicles 2 comes with a remastered copy of White Knight Chronicles 1 – and you’ll need it. You see, there’s no real “tutorial mode” to play in WKC2 – when you start up without a prior WKC1 save, you’re dumped into an area you know nothing about, with ton of skill points to distribute, and no idea where they should go. Should you take the time to play the first game though (yes, it is really around 100 hours), you’ll have a good understanding of the gameplay mechanics that make WKC2 tick.
When you’re done with the first game, you can import your characters into the second – although their levels will be reset to 35. Now I know they did that for balance issues, but damn did it irritate me. At any rate, if you’ve ever played some old role playing games, you’ll be ready for what WKC2 requires of you. While the game is again 100+ hours long, most of that time will be spent grinding and farming – a prospect that doesn’t make a lot of people happy.
The story also isn’t great – relying on tired archetypes and attitudes for the villains. The combat however, is actually engaging. Much like Final Fantasy XII’s combat (but so much better than XIII’s trash), you queue up actions and watch them unfold on the screen. Combat is fast, but not so fast that you ever feel like you’re getting lost or rushed along.
One of the biggest things about WKC2 that RPG nuts will love, is just how amazingly deep this game is. There’s eight classes of weapons, with over sixty skills per weapon class – oh and magic (how could I forget magic?). All of that will keep you engrossed trying to figure out who should wield one weapon to compliment his teammates, and what skills he should focus on learning.
By far though, the best feature of WKC2 is the online mode. While the first game only allowed four people to play, the second maxes out at a refreshing six. The XP and items you earn in multiplayer, also transfer over into the single player game, allowing a basically seamless integration between the two. You can also customize your hometown with the “Georama” aspect of the game, and then you can upload your hometown for others to visit. It might sound corny, but it really is a nice little touch.
Really, that’s what makes this game shine to me – the “little touches”; from the artwork of the grass and trees, to the beauty of the skyline, to the wow factor of the cinematics – White Knight Chronicles 2 made me feel like the old Final Fantasy games used to – like the developed actually cared about their product.
Are there areas that need fixing? Sure there are – but don’t let that detract from the experience of the game itself. I can deal with corny characters (yes, I played FFXIII and wanted to murder Vanille with my bare hands) and having to grind out levels – so long as the other mechanics of the game make is worthwhile, and White Knight Chronicles 2 succeeds at that.
I give White Knight Chronicles 2 a score of four out of five stars.
- You get two games for the price of one, and if you enjoy a good RPG you’ll be busy for close to 200 hours here
- The online functionality is greatly improved over the first game
- Extremely deep and engrossing systems that don’t become too complicated to understand
- I understand that they expect people to play the first game, but a tutorial (even a small one) would have been welcome
- Tired dialogue and overused trappings might turn some people off of the single player campaign
- Extreme grinding and farming to get the level or items that you’re looking for
You can get a copy of White Knight Chronicles 2 from Amazon for $59.96