Posts Tagged Level-5
Alright, so Japanese gamers were treated yesterday with the latest RPG from Level-5 and Studio Ghibli, Ni No Kuni. Namco Bandai will publish the north America English version of the game, which was confirmed earlier for an early 2012 release, exclusively on the PS3.
The Japanese exclusive “Magical Bundle” of Ni No Kuni was released yesterday with a 160GB PS3 in cream-white and gold, a matching Dualshock 3 controller, a copy of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and surprisingly , just like the DS version, a fantastic looking spell book.
The Avatar creation process is full of many unique options. You have full control of your in game Avatar from every feature of the face to the body. There is even a Monster Hunter type voice option where you can chose how he or she will grunt and grown. The story still centers around Leonard, but your Avatar will be with your party from the begging just like the first game. For those of you new to the series, your Avatar is your main character that will be used in Multilayer. The game still allows you to use whichever character you want during single player, but who’s going to pass up on changing into the White Knight?
When you first pop White Knight Chronicles: International into your PS3 you’re greeted by a one time 2.8gb HD install screen. Once that’s done you’re can create your own character who is introduced in the game and plays a minimal role in the story of WKC. ( He/she is in most of the ingame cutscenes but doesn’t speak. )
WKC offers a deep character customization. You can adjust the character’s name, hieght, wieght, proportions, skin color, eye color, hair style, gender, voice and even it’s permanent facial expression. Make sure you’re satisfied with the final product before you’re done or you’ll have to pay $4.99 ( via PSN) to re-edit your character in the future.
On to the story.
White Knight Chronicles progresses very slowly. It begins as the people of Balandor are gearing up to celebrate a coming- of- age party for their princess, Cisna. A young man named Leonard is joined by your user created avatar to pick up and deliver wine for the festivities. All is well until the party is crashed by bad guys seeking to capture the princess because of her hidden abilities. Leonard takes it upon himself to save the princess. While doing so he awakens a giant suit of armor that allows only him to transform into a White Knight.
After unsuccessfully protecting the princess from her abductors, Leonard and his friends spend the rest of the story trying to rescue Cisna, meeting new allies and enemies along the way. By the end of the game secrets unfold, more Knights are introduced, betrayal and death befall on the heroes and a bigger story comes to light that sets the stage for the sequel.
You’re free to edit any character in your party’s armor and commands. Every piece of armor and weapon equipped is visible on all the characters in the game including your avatar. You can also switch between any character in Story Mode, as long as they’re not guest characters.
The game offers huge fields to explore for harvesting points or treasure chests filled with armor. You don’t have to explore the entire map to advance through the story though. Depending on your pacing, you can complete the story mode in under 20 hours. I took my time and completed the Story Mode in a little over 60 hours. Mainly due to the fact that I was dividing my time between Story Mode and multiplayer.
On the down side of things, White Knight Chronicles suffers from very poor lip syncing . I’ll never understand why this is an issue when the game was released in Japan in 2008. I think Level 5 had enough time to at least improve the lip syncing .
While I enjoyed the story mode and all it had to offer, it’s not the best story ever told. By the end it did manage to keep me interested in things to come.
[tab:Graphics, Music, Gameplay]
Graphically, White Knight Chronicles isn’t the most stunning game available for the PS3 but it’s far from the worst looking game. Maybe it’s just me but the detailed enviroments found in WKC seem to have been inspired by Square Enix’s MMORPG FFXI. Even though the environments in WKC range from a vast forest to a massive desert you’ll find yourself fighting the same enemies regardless of where you go, with the exception of one enemy found around Balandor.
This is just a small sample of the huge Kingdom of Balandor. There is no load time once you enter the cities.
The music in WKC is very good and compliments the game’s fantasy world completely. My favorites being the Village of Sinca and the free city of Greede’s Market zone.
The battle system is a mix between real-time and turn base. The closet game I can think of to compare it to would be FFXII only slighty better. There’s no option to turn your character on auto-pilot like there was in FFXII.
Unlike other rpgs there is no job function in WKC. Instead, your character can learn every skill available from a ranged of 8 different weapons. Example; To use a sword skill you first have to have a sword equipped. You can switch weapons and armor at anytime in the game. You can also create and name your own combos to unleash on an unsuspecting monster. Unfortunately, you only have 3 marco sets to add weapon commands to at your disposal. I find that to be something of a disadvantage for those who may want to use the various different weapons and magic the game offers.
Another complaint I have with the game is that if you want to retrieve something from your inventory you can only do so at the world map or at a Logic Stone ( savepoint ). That and the limited slots available to carry things from potions to equipment during the game is a poor design choice.
My character Astraea doing some quests online. This is just the 3rd wave of baddies!
You can take the character you created and every item you discovered throughout the Story Mode online in WKC. New quest appear with every new area you’ve ventured throughout the Story Mode and have to be purchased from any town in the game. Some quest you can solo, others will require at least a team of 3 at the least . Your party can only consist of 4 members.
Rewards from the online quests can be used to upgrade or create weapons and armor and advance your Guild Rank. Your Guild Rank determines the available quest(s). You begin as Guild Rank 3. The higher your Rank the more difficult the quest.
White Knight Chronicles also offers an online community called GeoNet. Players can sign in ( must be logged into PSN first ), post comments on the message boards to organize quests or just rant like most people do on forums. Also available via Geonet is your Georama. Introduced in the Dark Cloud series then, Georama basically allows players to create their own town that can function as lobby where anyone can enter and take a look around.
Non-player characters can be recruited to towns from Story Mode. This makes the player’s Georama change depending on whoever is currently living in it. Non-player characters have jobs and specific skill levels, which will affect the kind of materials and items available to use in Georama. Each player has their own Geonet that can create up to 20 separate Georama rooms.
(Please note that the multiplayer modes are only available once you’ve completed the first chapter of the Story Mode. )
The online portion of the game runs smooth as butter. I’ve logged in over a hundred hours online with very few instances of lag. These rare instances only amounted to other online players popping ahead of my character a few times. Nothing game breaking.
To Level 5’s credit not many JRPG or RPG companies have been ambitious and creative enough to deliver the quality that White Knight Chronicles offers, offline and online. If you’re looking for a free MMORPG experiance to on the PS3 to tide you over until FFXIV, then WKC is right up your alley.
I give White Knight Chronicles: International 80 Knights out of 100. A flawed gem.
This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of White Knight Chronicles: International provided by Sony Computer Entertainment.