|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Level 5||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 2, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (4 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
January 27, 2009 - White Knight Chronicles is a huge hit in Japan. As one of the best-selling titles of the year, this game is credited with moving more PS3s than Metal Gear Solid 4, which is quite a feat. And now that the title has been confirmed to be localized for North America, there is considerable excitement surrounding its release later this year. So, what can we expect from this title?
The plot in White knight Chronicles looks to blend conventional fantasy elements with a sprinkling of modern science fiction. It involves a princess who is nearly kidnapped during her coming-of-age celebrations by an evil corporation named Wizard trying to overthrow the royal family. However, the princess is miraculously saved by a young man named Leonard, who whisks her away to her castle's deep cellars. In these cellars, our young hero finds a magical suit of armor that transforms into a giant White Knight. As you progress though the game, you learn more about Wizard, including the fact that the head of this company can change into our hero's main nemesis, the Black Knight.
Although White Knight Chronicles's genre-bending plotline is very interesting, it is White Knight Chronicles's much-touted battle system that has garnered this title the most buzz. White Knight Chronicles uses a tactical-based system that relies on a "function palette," which is a collection of seven actions your character can take in-game. You can save several of these palettes, which will make it easy to switch between tactics styles. But what makes the function palette even more interesting is that certain actions can be linked together within a certain palette to form combo moves. These combos can be unleashed using quick-time events, which will each represent an individual "link" in the function palette. So, if you have three actions linked together in your function palette, you will have to go through three quick-time events for the overall move to be successful.
Unlike some other RPGs, White Knight Chronicles will have a limited control mechanism, which will only give you control over the actions of the single character during battle. However, in an interesting twist, you will be able to change your active character to maximize certain abilities. As you might expect, the game also uses a class-based system to unlock attacks to use in the palette, and there will be a total of eight different classes available including mage and soldier classes.
In addition to White Knight Chronicles' single-player mode, this title will be one of the first to incorporate an online co-op mode. This mode will be completely separate from the single-player mode and involve a character you create in the single-player mode. This character will be able to go on free-roaming quests with parties of up to four in these special online-only levels. These levels will have a similar battle system to the main modes, but they will feature an independent leveling-up mechanic, which will be much like how an MMORPG will use data from your online campaigns to determine your player stats. However, you will have access to some of your characters' items from the single-player mode in the online mode.
Although some speculate that the JRPG genre is all out of ideas, White Knight Chronicles is definitely proof that this genre is capable of growing and evolving. With a promising story, intriguing battle system, and immersive online capability, White Knight Chronicles is shaping up to be the JRPG to watch for this year. Although no firm US release date has been set, White Knight Chronicles is expected to arrive sometime in 2009, most likely just in time for a holiday release!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor