I am getting sick of hearing games get qualified as "JRPG" or "Western Developed" or "Old-School." Role-playing elements exist in every genre now, from third-person action games to first-person shooters. Coming from someone who has been devoted to role-playing for more than 25 years of video gaming, I still love to see companies try new things, but too often critics categorize games and belittle their finer points by forcing them into unecessary stereotypes. Japanese programmers often have a hand in developing Western titles, and likewise, American and European programmers are often brought in to assist on Eastern projects to make a game more appealing to the international market. Too much synergy and genre crossover occur in today's gaming market to call anything old-school or refer to them by national origin.
That being said, White Knight Chronicles II (along with the previous WKCs on PS3 and PSP) attempts to appeal to both Japanese and Western markets, with robust single-player and online multiplayer options that allow gamers to approach the game in whichever way they prefer. This effort does not succeed on all points - story sequences feel shallow and incoherent at times, with sub-par English voiceovers doing little to elevate the game's presentation, and MMO features sometimes feel tacked on. Still, the accomplishments that WKCII gets right serve as redeeming factors overall.
For years, I have looked for an RPG that brought many existing features together under one title - character creation, open-world exploration, a full day-night cycle, dynamic weather systems, seasonal changes, player housing, town construction, solo and multiplayer features, social elements, and branching storylines. While Mass Effect and Dragon Age do all of this except multiplayer, and Persona 3&4 contain their unique and refreshing take on many of these systems, practically no other games come close to completing this wish list of role-playing features. White Knight Chronicles II does not successfully integrate all of them either, but as you explore the massive world the game offers, it becomes evident that (despite shortcomings) the creators acknowledged all of the desires of RPG gamers and tried to deliver.
The graphics in WKCII are clean and at times gorgeous. Like the first game, GeoRama features allow you to build a custom town and recruit residents to improve its functionality, though the whole thing feels like a glorified online multiplayer lobby. Customization is extensive, from creating a player character and changing out equipment to creating your own combo attacks. Combat itself is improved over the first game, though it still needs work. Exploration is also well-rewarded, and the game world is fairly enormous. But my favorite tweek to the whole package is the day-night, weather, and seasonal changes. This is an immersive quality that is largely overlooked by developers (or simply left out for programming, budgeting, or deadline restraints), but seeing trees sway in the wind, hearing ambient noise, or having environmental shifts affect combat are really valuable for drawing a player into the game world. Also, since you often backtrack in RPGs, these environmental factors allow you to see familiar locales in unfamiliar states upon revisiting them, which adds to variety and replayability.
Overall, WKCII is worth the purchase, and in case you haven't played the first game, it's included in the North American release, complete with tweeks from the sequel retrofitted into the original. You can even carry your stats and equipment from one game to the other, which the online players will most definitely appreciate. I'm not claiming that this is the answer to all of your RPG dreams, but it is another step in Level-5's quest to bring all of the best RPG features into a single game. That's not an easy pursuit, but it is a process that I want to be a part of... and a goal that makes me respect any developer who tries for it.… Full Review »
10this game is really GOOD!! if you liked the first game you will like this game too, the graphics are better the updates in the gameplay Definitely make correct the mistakes made in the first game,the same good amount of time of gameplay and do everything in the game,now you raise you guild rank level much more quickly and dont saty behind of others playing,new weapons( now the weapons dont have penallity on VIT =) everything really good i just think that they could have change the chances to get some hard iten...they still whit itens that have 1 percent drop..that could be frustate sometines..and the history still practicly the same...anyway it dont stop the game to be one of the best choices of JRPG if you have the one you MUST have this one… Full Review »