|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 Josh Wirtanen
The sequel to White Knight Chronicles has been out in Japan for almost a year now, but it's finally coming to the States. I wound up getting a chance to play it for a while and I got some of the details on this upcoming JRPG translation.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the White Knight Chronicles series is the unique battle system. Battles take place in real time without cutting to a separate scene for combat sequences. Yet the combat is still menu-based. As you approach an enemy, your combat menu will automatically pop up and you'll be able to start firing off your moves by selecting them from this menu. As you progress through the game and earn more skills, you'll be able to set up combos that you'll have access to during a fight.
White Knight Chronicles II keeps the battle system from the first game, yet speeds it up a bit and adds some new spells and skills. One of the complaints about the first game was that spacial relationships felt off. You could swing a sword even when an enemy was behind you, and you'd still deal damage. White Knight Chronicles II addresses this: in order to hit an enemy, that enemy must be in front of you and close enough for you to hit. This makes battles look a lot more realistic than they did in the original.
Of course, this also means that you'll have to be familiar with all of your attacks. You'll need to know which of your skills are ranged and which are melee, because if you strike at an out-of-range enemy with a melee attack, you won't deal any damage. This combat setup definitely caters more to the strategic crowd than to the button-mashers.
The Incorruptus will help you deal with tougher enemies. These are gigantic "Knights" that your characters can transform into temporarily to deal massive amounts of damage. Your Incorruptus is customizable this time around, and the first part of my gameplay demo had me stop at an Incorruptus Workshop to upgrade mine. This workshop allowed me to enhance the core unit, allowing me to upgrade its weapons and armor. I could even change the color scheme or rename my Incorruptus as I saw fit.
In White Knight Chronicles II, the weight of your armor is much more important than it was previously. Heavier armor will make your character move more slowly, but it will also significantly reduce the chance of getting knocked back. I imagine as you progress through the game you'll want to adjust your armor to specific fights. Some may require you to me more quick and nimble, while others may have really strong kickbacks that you'll want to negate with some good heavy armor.
I was introduced briefly to two of White Knight Chronicles II's new characters. First off was Miu, the Archduchess of Faria. She has blue hair and horns on her head, and she carries a bow. The second new character, Scardyne, is a rather intimidating knight. He is a fairly mysterious type, and players will do well to be a little suspicious about his true identity.
This game will let you play with more friends than the original as well. White Knight Chronicles allowed for four-player co-op, but the sequel will allow up to six players to fight together.
Fans who enjoyed the Georama minigame from the first game will be pleased to know that it has returned. In case you aren't familiar, this is a city-building subgame. You can recruit NPCs to be a part of your city, and you can even invite your online friends to hang out there. And if you are attached to your georama from the first game, it will transfer over to White Knight Chronicles via the data transfer feature.
One of the bonuses for purchasing White Knight Chronicles II is that you will get the original White Knight Chronicles game on the same disc. If the first game slipped past your radar, you won't have to scavenge shady used game stores or eBay in order to get the entire back story. On top of this, all of your saves from the first game will transfer to the second, so you can continue your own personal version of the story. But if you want to skip White Knight Chronicles and hop right into the sequel, you can do that as well. Between these two games, this disc contains over 100 hours of gameplay.
White Knight Chronicles II is looking like it could be a great JRPG for those who prefer strategy-heavy combat. JRPGs don't often receive a warm welcome in the West, but hopefully we'll make room in our hearts for White Knight Chronicles II.
CCC Editor/Contributing Writer