White Knight Chronicles II Review (PS3)

White Knight Chronicles II picks up where the first story left us. The world is now under the threat of a raging war that promised to end all things. Most of the original gang returns once again in an attempt to thwart an evil plan that continues in the second game.

The Knight is back

Veterans of the first game will feel kind of at home although Level 5 did have new tricks up their sleeves. You can import your levelled up characters from the first game but there is a catch – they are all capped on level 35. So if you have level 99 characters in the first game, tough, you are brought back down to earth. Not only that, Level 5 has also revamped the skill system in the second game. Some skills such as the ever-favourite “Inspire” magic is now nowhere to be found. Also the number of attribute enhancements associated with individual weapon class were reduced. New skills are available but it is individual taste to whether they are a change for the better or not. I personally prefer the attribute increase skill sets then fancy attacks that consume half of your MPs or AC chips.

Level 5 helped to reduce the pain of re-customising your characters by presetting your skills at the beginning of the game once you get them back as playable characters. On top of that, extra skill points are available for further adjustments. However, if you don’t like any of the presets, you have a choice of resetting all skill points and start from scratch. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. The advantages are you can have full controls on how you want your characters to develop but the disadvantages are certain preset skills actually required quite a number of skill points to open up (in terms of they can’t be opened up unless other skills were acquired) so you could be giving up really good preset skills for budget skills again. As for your own created character, you can change his / her look again but none of your skills from the previous game is brought over. Instead you have 200 points to spend on setting him / her up to your own liking.

Would the goddess answer your prayers?

Once you are done with your skills, the next thing is to equip them with appropriate armour and weaponry. This is really where the game lets you down. Although you are equipped with much better items at the start of the game, all your enhanced weapons and armour are now reset to level 1. This is not a big issue for playing through the story but has huge implications for binding. As a number of items, especially weapons required enhanced weapons of the same class to bind, resetting all these weapons means that you have to start from scratch again. So if they require rare items and you already spent them for enhancements, it means you Have to locate them all over again.

White Knight Chronicles II uses the same battle system as the previous game. So basic commands are no serious issues for homecoming players. However, as with other things, Level 5 tweaked the system here and there and in effect made the control less intuitive than the previous game. For example, in the previous game you use R3 to cue your allies, however, in the second game, you use the combination or R1+square or R1+X buttons to cue individual ally. The issue here is both the square and X buttons are used for other purposes already – square to open dialogue boxes and X for retreating from battle stance. So there are many occasions that, in the heat of ambushes, you try to cue your allies but then, because you didn’t press the R1 button with all the might of your finger, the dialogue box pops up instead or you prematurely end the battle while your enemies are still pounding on you. The only thing Level 5 should have fixed wasn’t fixed though – the bad auto targeting that tends to travel 20 miles away to the next target is still there. And since in this game you have a lot more enemies and ambushes, this has become a more prominent issue than the first game.

Girls can be knights too!

White Knight Chronicles II deployed a heavier tactical spin this time round, as you can give directives to your allies in battles now. As with most games, once you have that option you have to make sure you do that. There are battles that if you fail to deploy the correct directives, you will have a high chance of seeing the game over title because your guest characters got killed (and they tend to get killed pretty easily too) in the battle. A good tactical spin in the battle system though is the exploitation of enemy weaknesses. Level 5 has improved the system in this game in a way that you will notice it when you are successful as the damage counter will show up on the screen as red instead of white.

There were lots of things to do in White Knight Chronicles and Level 5 has further expanded it. Now working for the guild not only gives you Guild Points but also a currency called Dahlia that you can only use for acquiring Guild items. Guild items are great, but as you would expect, the price is steep. So now there are more reasons to work hard for the Guild and also to complete their jobs as perfectly as possible – as Dahlia are rewarded based on your performance. Want that accessory that grants your extra strength and HP at the same time? Work hard for the guild. On top of normal quests, now you can even take up bounty hunting to get rid of pests around the Kingdom of Balandor and the newly opened Faria. You can only take up one bounty-hunting mission at a time, but they all yield great rewards including items, money, experience points and guild points.

The more the merrier!

Residents of White Knight Chronicles II will now ask you to run errands for them (they show up with an exclamation mark instead of the normal conversation bubble). Completing an errand for them not only provides you with material rewards but certain skills can only be opened through these ways.

The online features are still prominent in White Knight Chronicles II. You can still go on quests with your online friends and now you can have up to 6 friends to quest with. All the quests you had opened up in the first game will be transferred over. Also the Guild Rank requirements are not as steep as the first game, which makes doing quests together a lot more rewarding. However, if your friends are still on the first game and you are in the second game, you might need to wait for them to start the second game before you can quest together again as it seems that they are running on different servers on GeoNet. Questing with comrades, building your hometown and visiting other people’s hometowns are still as seamless as the first game, which is great.

No RPG is complete without some fearsome dargons

White Knight Chronicles II did improve upon the previous game by requiring a lot more tactics in its battle system. The game is more challenging than the first one so wrong decision can cost your a game over. However there are so much more to do in the second game that it has a very high playable value. Lastly if you have missed out the first game, Level 5 has made it of even more value for money for you by including the whole remastered version of the first game in White Knight Chronicles II so you can just start from scratch and enjoy the experience in full.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

About the Author

Level up freak. Level 99 is a norm not a goal. Love my JRPGs and RPGs in general. Also love my platformers and puzzle games. Was addicted to Zoo Keeper, Magnetica, Animal Crossing, Disgaea DS, Dragon Quest IX and White Knight Chronicles. Prefer to spend my time away from gaming as an actor although do have a full time job that keeps my mortgage going. But generally love anything creative. And if anyone tells you gaming is a waste of time, tell them you have great eye, hand and brain coordinations that they will never have!