I received this information about a new game for the PS3, White Knight Chronicles, which is being released this month. The developers, Level-5 and SCE Japan Studio, describe it as “the first true Role-Playing Game on PS3″ with a epic fantasy storyline and multiplayer aspects.
G4tv.com described it as “like Farmville with boss battles” which is somewhat hard to imagine but could be a winning combination?
The game launched in Japan in 2008 and received an 8/10 from Eurogamer based on that import. They’ve spent a year preparing White Knight Chronicles for international release, including the patches and online content released for the Japanese version and the sound all redubbed with American voice-actors. The online aspects have been enhanced with GeoNet, giving the players the opportunity to communication with each other through game blogs.
If you’re checking in on Level-5 and Sony’s baby for the first time, the short story is that you’ll see the events of the world from the perspective of Leonard. Big L’s been living in Balandor Village his whole life, and it’s been pretty run of the mill. However, during the princess’ 18th birthday celebration, an evil force arrives and steals her away. Sensing the call to greatness, Leonard picks up a sword and sets out to make the world right again. Or at least that’s what the story is supposed to shake down as. My demo was all about single-player gameplay and not the fact that you’ll get to play as six different characters, lead three-character parties, and take the fight online in some four-player quests.
I’m interested in the concept of an online RPG on a console but initial reviews imply that this game is stronger as a single-player game and that the online features are focused on players who have already completed the single-player quest.
In addition to the standard JRPG single-player campaign, there’s an online component which is basically a collection of quests featuring objectives like “kill the monster” or “collect this.” Four players can hop into a lobby, called a hometown, before they venture out into the wilderness. But don’t expect this mode to represent meaningful content. It’s merely something extra to do, and more importantly, something interactive to do.
On the other hand, the single-player content of the original Japanese version was 20-30 hours worth of playtime, so with the additional online content and the ability to customise your town as a trophy, it should be diverting enough even without true co-op within the primary storyline.
Reviews from the US are mixed, showing disappointment in the multi-player aspects and primarily complaining that White Knight Chronicles hasn’t lived up to Level-5′s reputation for bringing classic Japanese role-playing games to a Western audience. Even the negative articles, however, are quick to reassure that it’s not an awful game, simply not as good as it could have been. So if your expectations are not too high, you may find this game – cited as “flawed but game changing” – an interesting introduction to the console RPGs of the future.
And I have to admit, the promo video made me laugh:
White Knight Chronicles is already out in the US and due for release in Europe on the 26th of February. You can find out more and see user views at PlayStation.com – White Knight Chronicles or preorder a Euro version at GAME.co.uk.