Jahanzeb Khan
08 Sep, 2009

White Knight Chronicles Preview

PS3 Preview | Enter the White Knight.
Level 5 studios have created some really fantastic RPGs over the years, the most prominent ones being Rogue Galaxy, Dark Chronicle and Dragon Quest VIII. Today, we bring you some hands-on impressions of their upcoming Playstation 3 exclusive, White Knight Chronicles. The game was released in Japan last year and is a console RPG with an online component.

As soon we started off, the game asked us to create an avatar and this was a fairly simple process that required us to pick from various templates and models. While the customization does go beyond that, but the existing templates were good enough to get things rolling. What followed next was a lengthy cut scene, followed by another cut scene but thankfully the game allowed us to skip these, a feature that has become essential for any modern RPG. The cut scenes we saw were built using the in-game engine and looked decent enough. After much wait we meet this androgynous looking guy and join his party.

First you create a silent avatar.

First you create a silent avatar.
After finally getting control, we decide to roam around the kingdom and try out the town exploration and socializing element of the game. One thing we would like to mention is that the main character can sprint like a stallion. It looks unnaturally fast and odd but it certainly makes navigation less cumbersome. We roamed around, talked to a few people and noticed that the game was presented as a MMORPG with names of each NPC hovering above their heads. The main character himself can use several dozen ‘Emotes’ to interact with other characters or to simply make a public statement. The Emotes ranged from a simple hand wave to something as odd as a ballerina pose.

After roaming around for a bit we eventually made our way out of the kingdom. White Knight Chronicles allows you to simply select your location from the world map rather than going there on foot. After selecting the next location on the map, we were now ready to test the battle system but not after being bombarded by battle instructions. Yes, we are well aware that Japanese RPGs take a while to start.

The battle system of White Knight Chronicles has the same MMORPG feel as the rest of the game but for console RPG fans, they will find the real time battles to be similar to those found in the highly acclaimed Final Fantasy XII. It makes use of an ‘active time battle’ like gauge that a character needs to fill up before being able to execute an attack or action. The game will allow players to chain together a series of commands in the form of a combo and we have seen a similar system in Final Fantasy XII. We tested the battle system against a few small enemies and simply performed some melee strikes, overall the system worked nicely. Another thing worth pointing out is that the game has stacks of menus, log files and on-screen alerts and messages. It really gives the impression that it wants to be played online.

Then you watch a series of cut scenes...

Then you watch a series of cut scenes...
The graphics were a bit underwhelming but in some areas they shined. The character models are simple, typical anime style designs with simple detail and texture. The animations look decent enough apart from the odd looking sprint animation we mentioned earlier. The environments looked nice, especially the outdoors thanks to some nice detail and large draw distance. The portion of the game we played showed off some decent lighting effects, everything was very bright and vibrant and the game overall ran smoothly with very few load screens. At this stage we can’t say much about the game’s music but we can tell you that the game will have English voice acting. The English voice work we heard so far was standard JRPG fare with the lip syncing being off at times.

As you can tell, we clearly need to spend more time with White Knight Chronicles as most JRPGs usually take a good 10 hours to get into proper gear. So we will hold our judgment for now and wait until we get the final build of the game to really see what it has to offer.
While the first impression was mild, we also understand that a game like White Knight Chronicles clearly needs more time to sink into. Look forward to our final judgment when the game hits retail next year

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4 years ago
I'm keeping an eye open for this one, it looks... interesting to say the least. A sequel is in the works (damn localisation) so it must be somewhat decent to warrant that.
4 years ago
This looks really interesting. Looking forward to it but I can't help but see the title and think of Griffith from Berserk everytime. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griffith_%28Berserk%29

Really wish there was a game spinoff for that.
4 years ago
So far this looks like Phantasy Star Online in a Fantasy Medieval Setting.

I wish Level 5 would think about developing True Fantasy Live Online for the PS3. That game looked fantastic but was canned for some reason.
4 years ago
The graphics were a bit underwhelming
Anyone else remember when they first showed this game at E3 or TGS I think and it was like "best looking game ever", "proof of the PS3's superiority", blah blah blah... Killzone all over again. icon_lol_old.gif never trust a game show presentation...
4 years ago
I think it's more a case of "never expect a graphics to remain as awesome as they first looked several years down the track".
4 years ago
Mr Waffle wrote
The graphics were a bit underwhelming
Anyone else remember when they first showed this game at E3 or TGS I think and it was like "best looking game ever", "proof of the PS3's superiority", blah blah blah... Killzone all over again. icon_lol_old.gif never trust a game show presentation...
I've never been overly impressed by the look of this game, but apparently it does run at 1080p native which is something I guess.
As for the Killzone comment that doesn't really fit here considering graphically it didn't disappoint in the slightest.
4 years ago
This game looks horrible. I downloaded the trailer on the PSN a while back and remember being horrifed at the voice acting, motion capturing and overall quality of the graphics. It looks like Infinite Discovery, maybe worse.

Shame, I was looking forward to this.
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Australian Release Date:
  25/2/2010 (Confirmed)
  Sony Computer Entertainmet
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