|Pub: D3 Publisher|
|Release: September 13, 2011|
|Players: 1, 2-6 online|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Mild Language, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
As someone who laments the demise of the JRPG, I was reasonably excited for the release of White Knight Chronicles back in 2009. However, after countless delays and some serious hiccups with the American localization, I found the final product to be a little bit lackluster. The JRPG series needs a shot in the arm, and unfortunately, White Knight Chronicles is not it. Despite its lukewarm reception, both in the U.S. and in Japan, White Knight Chronicles did still receive the inevitable sequel. And while the sequel is already a year old in Japan (and was released just this past June in Europe) the U.S. will finally get to check out the next White Knight chapter in September. So what can we expect?
The story in White Knight Chronicles II will again follow protagonist Leonard, and this time he'll be tyring to stop the evil Magi corporation from finding the fifth Knight. If you haven't played the first game, you should know that there is a year gap between the first and second game, and you might be a bit lost, as the plot picks up directly from the original without much exposition. It's fortunate then, that the U.S. release of White Knight Chronicles II will include the original game on the same disc. And even better, you can import your save and carry over some of your equipment and skills to the new game. This is great for both established fans and those who want a fresh jump into the series.
What will also be a boon to those checking out White Knight Chronicles II for the first time is the new battle system. While I was a fan of the "function palette" in the first game, when put to practical use, the function palette system was slow and clunky. Fortunately, the battle system in White Knight Chronicles II has been completely overhauled, and will now give you a charged meter to start the battle off with. This gives you the ability to select commands immediately from your list and start the battle with something other than running in a circle. The charge scheme also reloads a lot faster, so battles with low-level opponents won't be so time-consuming.
In addition to improvements with the battle system, White Knight Chronicles will also feature an improved multiplayer mode. The game will feature the same "create-a-town" feature from the original, but you will now be able to create and move your Incorruptus to the multiplayer mission area. This will have massive implications online, as you can use your skills as a tactician to make your Incorruptus the most valuable. The game has also upped the amount of party members you can have online from 4 to 6, which will be great when tackling expansive boss areas.
Though White Knight Chronicles II is probably the last game we will see from the White Knight series (the game didn't exactly set sales charts on fire in Japan or Europe, and Level-5 has said it has no immediate plans for a third game), it still looks like it will be a lot of fun. The improved battle system and expanded multiplayer options should give players plenty to do in this game. And if you haven't checked out the original, having both games on one disc should provide an incredible value. Each one has a single-player campaign that has at least 40 hours of gameplay, and if you play through the multiplayer content in both the games, you'll be up to at least 60 hours each.
Though the traditional JRPG may be dying, White Knight Chronicles II should be a good title to help send the genre off. Look for it to hit stores in the US (finally) this September.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer