Review: White Knight Chronicles 2 (PS3)

By Wayne Webb

RPGs are a very specific genre. If you’re detail oriented and driven by complex and overworked control mechanisms then you’re built for the RPG and the weeks upon weeks of your life they inevitably suck out of you.

White Knight Chronicles 2 is no exception. It’scomplicated, hard to get to grips with (unless you are already predisposed to RPGs) and will take long weeks to complete. You’ve probably already guessed by now that I won’t be doing that.

The animation, the colouring and detail are superb, but they are not enough to get me back into an addictive RPG experience like Baldur’s Gate or Neverwinter Nights. I equate this experience with the Final Fantasy series. I’m sure fans will disagree but the story, acting and dialogue look like they belong on a dubbed Japanese cartoon and feel faintly absurd. The typical fantasy names abound; Scardigne, Yreshnia, Eldore and then you are introduced to the main character “Leonard”. It sticks out like a sore thumb, just like most of the plot and inhabitants of the game I could see – all very jarring. Add in the random fighting and constant levelling up and juggling of skills and weapons and soon you have a game that only real hardcore fans (and possibly accountants) will love.

Controls take some getting used to; when I got into previous RPGs on a PC, with a full keyboard and a mouse, it was hard enough then that keymaps were required. On the console an array of menus, sub menus, button assignments and combos make playing the game tricky for the uninitiated. The truly impressive White Knight character stands several stories above the rest and deals death blows with great devastation. But it was mapped to a single key and sure enough I wasted his massive attack on two tiny gnome characters.

Ultimately it does what it says on the box, it delivers an RPG experience. I’m not convinced that hard core RPG fans will warm to the overdrawn and lush characters that seem to have more in common with Pokemon or Mario Brothers with their childish plot devices. The kidnapped princess, the cackling, clichéd villain that goes up against a seemingly adolescent Leonard. It’s a game I played but it failed to capture my interest beyond this review and I’ll not pick it up again.

Pros: Beautiful design, typical RPG complexity.
Cons: Childish story, not engaging, hard to control for novices, repetitive and slow  paced gaming.

2 Shacks out of 5