by Professor Layton
previewed on PS3
The White Knight to the rescue
Over the past year, many have come to associate the words ‘role-playing games’ with the Nintendo DS and XBOX 360, and to a lesser extent, the PlayStation Portable. Developers are shifting their interest to these platforms, leaving the PS3 and Wii in the dust. Square Enix, for one, is bringing the high-profile Dragon Quest series and many Final Fantasy spin-offs to the DS, while also releasing some new IPs on the XBOX 360 and the DS. PSP, on the other hand, recently received Dissidia: Final Fantasy, yet another huge game in Japan.
But things aren’t all that bad for Wii and PS3 owners. Dragon Quest X has already been announced for a Wii release whereas Final Fantasy XIII is coming exclusively to the PS3 in Japan. The sad news is that both of these games are still far off in the future. To help bide the time, well-known developer Level-5 has created a Japanese RPG exclusively for the PS3 entitled White Knight Chronicles.
Wizard Vs. The White Knight
The story of White Knight Chronicles begins in the mystical kingdom of Balandor, where a princess’ coming-of-age banquet is interrupted by a group of enemies known as The Wizard. A heroic lad, Leonard, guides the princess to safety in the castle cellars. Once there, he finds a magical suit of armor that transforms him into the White Knight, an ancient warrior that holds the power to defeat The Wizard and their leader, Dregias. Nobody knows what Dregias looks like since his body and face are covered in dark armor, rest assured that the players will eventually discover the secrets of his identity and his organization.
For many, the biggest draw-in is the inclusion of an online cooperative quest mode. Known in the Japanese version as “Live Part”, this mode allows for up to four players to unite and tackle a wide array of challenges. White Knight also boasts all the features we have come to expect from an online title, including a lobby which supports up to 16 players, an auto matching system, and a chat facility.
While the game doesn’t contain an offline co-op mode, there is a connection between the story mode and the online co-op mode. The character that you decide to use online will also travel with you in your party during the story mode. Also worth mentioning is that you can play quests from the online mode on your own as well.
Like many other console RPGs, this one is presented in third-person perspective. Players select which character they wish to control and then witness them gain experience and level-up as the story unfolds.
White Knight Chronicles uses a real-time combat system, where the battle is automatically initiated when monsters are within range. Before a battle though, the option is there though to access a menu entitled “Battle Preparation”, which allows players to choose a set of seven commands for each character in their party. This set of commands is known as a “Function Palette”, and several of these may be saved. The commands can be linked in such a way to create combos. Combos, however, can also be used in battle when an enemy is vulnerable. Otherwise, the attack is simply blocked or sent right back at you.
Perhaps one of the strengths of the game is the option to automatically switch between characters. Though you can only control one character at a time, events will spring up in the game where you may want to take control of another party member. The main character, Leonard, can also transform into the White Knight when a specific gauge is full.
This knight has legs
Released on Christmas Day in Japan, White Knight Chronicles has shown impressive legs thus far, staying in the top 10 for three consecutive weeks. Considering that most PS3 games debut big and then crash and burn, this is quite a feat.
After crossing the 300,000 sold mark in Japan, White Knight Chronicles can easily be seen as one of the most successful PS3 games in Japan. CEO and president of Level-5 Akihiro Hino has already confirmed that there will be a North American version of the game, but he didn’t specify when it would be released. For now, we can just wait anxiously and hope that it will come rather sooner than later.