Home > Game Reviews > Review: White Knight Chronicles

Review: White Knight Chronicles

So far, this all sounds like a pretty run-of-the-mill RPG with some interesting tweaks to the combat system, so you will probably scream in horror when I tell you that the story provides only approximately 30 hours of gameplay, but, don’t stop reading yet. First of all, that’s 30 hours if you more or less just plod through the story with only moderate exploration of towns and dungeons, don’t do any side quests, and avoid high level fights that can reasonably be avoided towards the end. If you are thorough, you can at least double that time, and the dungeons are well-worth exploring because there are hidden chests and harvesting points with good loot and essential crafting items all over the place. The next travel destination to move the story forward is nearly always clearly marked with a star on the map, but except in certain small dungeons you are under no obligation to continue on that path. You can backtrack as much as you want, and the world map allows you to travel to any unlocked location immediately without long travel – which means you can go questing and crafting at will.

However, the real reason why the story length is irrelevant – and I believe a point missed in many other reviews of White Knight Chronicles – is because the story is really just an introduction to the potentially hundreds of hours of gameplay that lie ahead of you once it’s completed. This is also what differentiates White Knight Chronicles from other current RPGs. First of all, there are the side quests. Early on in the game you’ll find yourself joining an adventurer’s guild, which gives you the ability to buy quests from guild merchants dotted around the game world. Questing advances your guild rank (GR) which starts at 1, and goes up slowly as you grind away at them. Guild vendors will only offer out higher level quests if you have reached a particular rank, and getting your rank up to 12 is going to take you… quite a while, so this is a game in and of itself. Some of the dungeons you’ll have passed through in the story are very large – far larger than they need to be for storytelling purposes – and these can be returned to, explored more thoroughly and provide the staging ground for many of the quests.

When you finish the story you’re going to be in your low level 30s, and you will have maxed out at most 1 or 2 of your main character’s skill sets. The level cap is 50, at which point you can use a Rebirth spell to knock you back down to level 35 and provide you with a further 40 skill points the first four times you use it. You will have to rebirth all four times and reach level 50 for the 5th time to be able to max out any of your characters fully. This also means that most of the badass weapons and armour don’t even come into play until after the story is over.

About 12-15 hours into your first play-through you’ll gain the ability to bind (craft) items. There are a ton of recipes, some using two weapons to forge a single, more powerful weapon; others using crafting items to build things. Your ability to discover these recipes once again depends on your rank at the workshop, which also starts at 1 and can be improved by donating items you’ve collected, which all have a donation point value. Everything in White Knight Chronicles has a pitiful resale value, so donating is a better option, though it does leave the interesting dilemma: what if I donate something I discover I later need to craft with?

You will have to bind many, many items together to get the higher level gear in the game, and throughout the story your workshop level will consistently lag behind what you need to actually make anything better than what you already have, so binding items is definitely something for after the story is over.

You will need a photographic memory to remember where to farm to pick up any goodies you may need to bind with; what if you can’t be bothered? No problem, just build a town. Georama is White Knight Chronicles’ town editing tool and rather clever it is, too. A town can contain buildings, work areas (“job parts”) and shops among other things. There are various job parts, such as farms and restaurants, which each produce three different types of resources. The housing comes in various capacities and with various stat bonuses, and houses your residents who work on the job parts. These residents come from the rest of the game world. You can walk around the towns from the story and check out the production stats, level and recruitment requirements of certain town folk. You may see a pattern developing if I tell you that your town is associated with your guild rank and that you’ll need to grind your rank up before you can recruit the higher level producers. Some residents may also demand certain items in exchange before they will allow you to recruit them.

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