Facebook Files: White Knight Chronicles – First Impressions

By Ishaan . February 21, 2010 . 8:13am

It’s time for Facebook Files, hooray! This week we’re putting up an "early impressions" playtest of sorts on White Knight Chronicles, by reader / commenter / super-collector Anton. You can read the unedited discussion here, including what a couple of us thought of the impressions.



My housemate went out and bought White Knight Chronicles — International Edition — the other day, and since he’s swamped with Mass Effect 2, Bioshock 2, No More Heroes 2, and Pokémon Emerald, he’s letting me give WKC a whirl. This made me happy, since I was very excited for the release of WKC. I chose to ignore all of the mediocre scores and reviews to try this game for myself.


However, my most anticipated game of the year may just be my biggest disappointment of the year. After about 5 or 6 hours of play, here are my initial impressions.


0. Getting Started: Before the game begins, you get to create your own character! There is a good amount of customization available, and you can go back and re-customize your character later on. Maybe there will be some DLC for additional hairstyles or facial features?


I love character customization and had a lot of fun creating my character for the first 30 minutes. I was then disappointed to learn that your created character is a silent tag-along to the story’s hero, Leonard.



1. Story: The story is a classic "chosen" good-guy hero off to save a princess from war-mongering bad guys. Nothing about it is original in the least. I find it boring and not very engaging. Maybe there will be some interesting twists as I continue to play? I’m hoping so.


There are also storyline cut-scenes every couple of minutes. I recommend skipping the vast majority of them as you can piece the story together just fine without watching the cut scenes. I, in fact, skipped every cut scene from the beginning of the game to your first attempt to rescue the princess. I then went back and forced myself to watch all of the cut scenes. I didn’t miss anything.


2. Characters: As of right now, I don’t find any of the characters likable. Least of all, the hero. I’m continuing to play the game hoping that there will be some development of the characters, but so far they’re all very one dimensional. They all seem to be the classic fantasy RPG archetypes. The English voice cast is alright. However, no option for a Japanese language track really irks me. Especially since the character’s voices do not sync with the character animation at all.



3. Gameplay: Game play consists of navigating a world map to different areas. You enter an area, wander around, and fight monsters. Once you get through an area, another space opens up on the world map. Combat is a mix of real-time and turn-based. First, you have to learn and select skills. You then place them in a skill slot. You have three or four rows of skill slots. There’s about 8 slots per row.


When in combat, you use the D-Pad to select your skill. Press X to use that skill, and then wait for the timer to cycle before pressing X to use that same skill. It sort of reminds me of how Final Fantasy XII works with the gambits. Except not as well. Combat feels very slow-paced and tedious. You can build combos with your skills, which is kind of cool, but you have what are called "Action Chips" which limit your use of combos and certain skills.



4. Quests and Online: I have yet to used any of the game’s online modes, but the quests remind me of Monster Hunter. You go out to a certain area, perform the quest (which has consisted of hunting monsters so far), and then get rewards. You can also gather materials out in the field, which I assume will come into play when making new items, weapons, armor, etc.


I imagine that this aspect of the game will be more enjoyable when playing online with other people. I’m really trying to like this game, and I’m hoping that it will get better as the story progresses, but I think I’m just setting myself up for disappointment.


Anyone else played the game yet? What do you think so far?


– Anton Damiani

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  • bobhoskins

    THIS was your most anticipated game of the year…!?

    ….Wow. More like…what.

  • cookie15

    I bought WKC and I do agree the story mode is quite bland. However, if you like monster hunter type quests online with other people, that is where the core gameplay is at.

    The grinding involved is a love or hate thing and if you love it, you’ll definitely enjoy the online. This is especially true when you starting hitting GR 7 and above when you need a balanced MMO team (tank, dps, heal, etc) or else you die within seconds trying to solo.

    I’m looking forward to WKC2 and hope they continue to release it in NA. It would definitely be much better if they can create SoTC type monsters and be able to bring the knights online as well (without making the game too easy as it was in WKC story mode).

  • All games start slow. It gets better and better in all areas, in my opinion, and the online mode becomes quite the treat.

    • malek86

      I beg to differ. VVVVVV starts awesome and only gets more awesome with time.

  • Joanna

    “I love character customization and had a lot of fun creating my character for the first 30 minutes. I was then disappointed to learn that your created character is a silent tag-along to the story’s hero, Leonard.”

    this makes me wonder why did they even bother to include this feature. Do you at least use your character in battles?

    • Hraesvelgr

      Reason they included the feature was because of online mode, where you use your avatar to play with other avatars created by other people. Guess they thought it’d be neat to have a near-nonexistent character in the story, as well. Also, after doing even one mission, your avatar becomes several levels stronger than the rest of your party, which means you probably won’t use him/her much after that.

  • epy

    I will be most likely be flamed for this, but the little interest I had in WKC got destroyed when I heard they didn’t put the japanese track in it.

    • I’m not flaming you, even though I personally prefer dubs. It’s just that you can’t expect the Japanese track as an option in any game because it seems it rarely ever comes out of Japan… even when they have the space on the disk for it.

      Although… this isn’t the kind of game where story is important… at all, really. I’m not sure how much the original voices matter when the story is so generic. I mean, you might even want to skip most of the scenes, anyway…

    • bobhoskins

      I won’t flame you. But I will tell you that is a very pathetic, and pedestrian reason to lose interest in *any* game.

      • epy

        Er… thanks? Anyways, unlike the english voice tracks in american and european games, I’ve never really enjoyed a dub in a japanese game, sometimes it even prevents me from enjoying it. So yeah, the little interest I had in the game went away when I knew it had another factor againts it, for me anyways.

        • While I wholeheartedly agree that I’d much prefer a Japanese voice track, this does bring up the question … how many games do you end up getting? Not too many games have dual tracks…

          • epy

            Well, voice acting is just another factor after all. If I’m interested enough in the plot/gameplay/characters/music, I’ll get the game even if the voice acting ends up being so-so or just plain bad. Since I had little interest in WKC to begin with, the lack of a japanese track became a deciding factor.

    • Slashlen

      I wouldn’t go as far as you do, but having the original track does factor into my interest and buying decisions. It won’t stop me from enjoying a SMT game, or getting FFXIII next month, but it can tip me one way or the other on something I’m not sure about, or make it easier to write something off in a crowded release calendar.

      WKC probably wasn’t getting my money right away anyway(WAY too much coming out now), but at this point I’m not sure I’ll buy it period. If it included a japanese track, I’d try harder to find a place for it after things calm down a bit.

  • malek86

    You know, when everybody – and I mean everybody – says the game is bad, chances are that there is at least some truth being spoken.

    • Aoshi00

      Kind of like FFXIII lol (Toriyama in denial)… just beat the game last night, ending is WTH (as everyone said…), still I’m working on the trophies by maxing out the classes, and getting the last boss w/ 5-star, lightning theme… not interested in WKC at all…

      • MisterNiwa

        I gotta tell you WKC is a real good game. :(

        And the online mode is reaaaaal fun.

    • Kunio_kun

      Yeah, I preordered from Amazon long ago… Then when all the negative buzz started pouring in, I began to pay attention and hold off on opening it… Now I’ve decided I’m sending it back for a refund…

  • Hraesvelgr

    Meh, after hearing about the game from Japan and importers, I had very little interest in it. I played the game when my brother bought it, got past the part where you first get the White Knight and just couldn’t continue. It was that bad, for me.

  • I enjoy the gameplay, but as mentioned the story and the characters end up being forgettable at best. Someone already said this buy you have to like grind-fests. Speaking as someone who doesn’t, the online is fun.

  • Jirin

    I’ve never really enjoyed a Level 5 game. I’m surprised people expected anything that good from this, considering Rogue Galaxy. I mean, did you expect non-tedious combat? Complex characterization? No level 5 game has ever give us that.

    • symytry

      Jeanne D’Arc remains their best effort by far.

      • Aoshi00

        That and Prof. Layton.

        • kupomogli

          No one mentioned Dragon Quest 8.

          • bobhoskins

            And for good reasons.

          • kupomogli

            It’s not the best Dragon Quest, but overall it’s a great game. If you’re not a fan of the Dragon Quest series in general then that’s an obvious reason, but for fans of the series, it’s worth the purchase. I know people who didn’t like the series and have enjoyed the game.

          • ZeroBlitz

            And Dark Cloud. And Dark Chronicles. And the Inazuma Eleven games have been very well received in Japan.

            So yeah, Level 5 put out more good games than bad. They experiment more than any other RPG developers so it’s not strange that they aren’t always successful.

        • symytry

          No thanks on the Layton. I played through all of the first game – I’d never return for more. Ever. It was more chore than game.

          • Joanna

            each to his/her own, I guess. I loved Layton.

  • kashiwaba

    very good underrated game I agree it doesnt meet Level 5 usual standards but its still very enjoyable specialy for Japanese rpg fans

  • 311

    Im playing it and I must say that if it was released closer to the Japanese release years ago it might have been better but… better late than never I suppose. It is the second disappointment since december and actually the year is starting.

    I know ppl have said it a lot but I wish Namco would get their heads outta their asses and release ToV stateside (I can dream haha)

  • MrMee

    I’m a big Level 5 fan so on that logic alone, I’ll probably get it when I get a PS3.

  • Soma

    I was surprised this made the Facebook Files. I really just needed to rant about the game. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of anticipating a game and then being let down.

    I was hoping to like the game despite the reviews, but I’m just not enjoying it. The game isn’t all bad, though. The environments look nice, the character customization is awesome, some of the quests are fun, and the option for online play is definitely great.
    But the game just falls short in way too many other areas for it to be considered a good game. At least, not in my opinion.

  • 311

    I just finished the game and I must say… from 1 to 10… I give it a 4 and I’m being generous, the game is short as hell, frustrating to say the least. If many are wondering what I mean by short think of .hack how you finish the game and you just have to wait to start the next game, it just feels like you played a chapter and you have to NOW wait for the next one to be released.You can actually finish the game without using the knights (unless you are prompted to use them in certain battles). If some of you are skeptic about the game just play it and you’ll understand that all of the things involved in the game like trophies are not based on finishing the game. Like FF XIII it just left a lot to be desired. Just my opinion.

    • Aoshi00

      I’m not big on online games, and since WKC seems to be very online-like for the most part I wasn’t interested in the first place. But XIII though, I was so hyped only to be let down.. So what’s the deal w/ the giant rock turtle seen in the trailer, is that in the game? Guess FFXIII and WKC both have that in common…

  • leeorv

    for anyone who wants to read my non-review-bribed review of the game (which I feel is hugely underrated) please find it at http://screwattack.com/blogs/ITPs-Random-Stuff/The-ITP-Grading-Scale-Top-10-PS3-Games-10

  • thebanditking

    I really don’t understand all the hate this title is getting. Its not just the scores but rather the complaints seem directed more toward the JRPG genre and not at this game. I find that most who don’t like it, say so because of it being a very Japanese RPG more then anything else. Others have said this to be like a Final Fantasy 12 lite, I still have an interest in this title and alot of people complained about Rouge Galaxy which I found enjoyable. Though Im still not starting this until after I finish FF13.

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