E3 2011 Impressions: White Knight Chronicles 2 (Sony Playstation 3)

I was not the biggest proponent of White Knight Chronicles, to say the least. While I find that Level 5 makes good games by and large, I found that White Knight Chronicles was not one of their best, largely due to some awkward play mechanics, an uninspired plot, a less than exciting custom character system, and an online mode that simply didn’t come together in the way it could have. Well, apparently Level 5 took a lot of those sorts of observations from a whole lot of people, because they’ve made some upgrades to the game in the upcoming sequel, dubbed White Knight Chronicles 2. Sony opted not to pick the game up for a US release this time around, sadly, but D3 has stepped in to bring the game stateside, and I got a chance to play the game a bit while talking with them at this year’s E3… and while there wasn’t a lot to see so far, what is there is some notable improvement.

There wasn’t much story to show off in the demo I played, but by all indications, this will be wrapping up the White Knight Chronicles saga, so for those who enjoyed the plot of the first game, this will tie everything up into a nice, neat package, by all implications. The visuals look a good bit better than their predecessor, and while the game still didn’t seem to be pushing the technical limitations of the console so to say, the game does look nice in action and generally looks a bit cleaner all around. The game plays functionally identically to its predecessor, which means that you’ll build a list of skills to choose from, and the mechanics of combat work similar to that of an MMORPG as much as anything else. You’ll still have the ability to bring your own character into the game, either by importing them from the original game or by making a new one at the start of this game, so if you missed the first game, you’ll have the option to get right down to things.

Alternately, however, if you missed the first game, you can always play it from the disc, as the original White Knight Chronicles will be included in a remastered form on the disc this time around. So, if you missed the first game, or you wanted to play it over, you’re getting two games on one disc for the price of one, which isn’t a bad deal in the least. The game also promises to bring in all new weapons, armor, skills and spells to learn, so that there’s a lot more variety than the last time, and you’ll also see new characters pop up into the game world, both with you and against you. Further, more of your characters will earn the ability to summon an Incorruptus, AKA the giant armored warriors the games are based around, so you’ll have more options for going into battle against giant foes than the few you earned the first time around.

Oh, and did I mention, one of those Incorruptus summoners will be your character? Because it totally will. Your character will not only get the ability to summon an Incorruptus into battle, but you’ll be able to more heavily customize the appearance of said engine of destruction than you were those of your allies in the last game, so you can make an Incorruptus that fits your style of play. Not only that, but you can still take your character and his or her death engine online to play in the Georama mode. The Georama mode promises to be larger than before (and considering how large the last one was, yikes), and you’ll be able to field a team of six players to go on quests and find loot online, as well as build your own town and such as the first game allowed.

While White Knight Chronicles 2 wasn’t really showing off all of its features at E3, what was shown was somewhat promising, and if the promises made in press notes and on the floor pay off to the level that’s anticipated, the game could be a significant improvement over its predecessor. While the game could still use some visual and mechanical polish here and there, what was on display was an upgrade from the prior game, and between the promised additions and the inclusion of the first game on the disc for those who missed it, White Knight Chronicles 2 could be a solid Playstation 3 exclusive release for fans of the console to sink their RPG-starved teeth into.

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