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White Knight Chronicles

The end of last week (the 25th) White Knight Chronicles was released on the PS3 in Japan, launching with 130,000 copies sold in one day. Compared to large releases here in the States, or even in Japan itself these numbers are mediocre and perhaps disappointing for Level 5, the developers of such games as Rouge Galaxy, Dragon Quest 8, Dark Cloud 1 & 2, and Jeanne D'Arc. While this information is old news, see Jim's post Here , the user response here is a little disappointing. Usually anytime there is news on the ps3, specifically regarding sales, there is a huge biased outpouring of comments who just love to say "I told you so, I'm so right about everything" &
"PS3 suks omgz". What is frustrating to me as a reader is seeing the response the community gives anytime an article is posted about anything to do with the ps3, but more specifically frustrating is when users bitch and moan about a game that no one here has played, no one, not Jim, not Niero, and certainly none of the users. Can anyone see why it's frustrating to read users comments slamming something they have no interest in, only leaving ignorant comments to fuel their ego and boast their 360 love in their head? Of course maybe the game really is terrible, after all I haven't played it either, but I have read reviews, and watched a few videos, and I think it looks quite awesome. While the game may not be for everyone, it would be nice if dtoid would encourage it's readers to step outside the dtoid box and go read other peoples opinions, reviews, watch videos, etc, before they saturate every ps3 related sales post/new game post with negative banter that is not backed by any kind of intelligence.

If you want to know what the game is really like, go read a review of someone (a journalist for 1up) who has actually played the game. Here, everyone go read this review http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3172072 .

Okay done? For my own sake, I'll assume most of you are still reading my post, and never clicked the link. He goes into detail about the game mechanics, what Famitsu thinks based on other level 5 rpgs, what he liked about the game, and what he thinks could be better. Basically a standard review, giving the reader an inside look at a video game most of us do not have the opportunity to play. I'll make it easy on you.... READ THIS REVIEW

" By Nick Des Barres (1up)

As I sat down to write this preview, I reflected on the influence a major critical entity, such as a magazine or a website, can have on a product. In the case of White Knight Chronicles, my preconceived notions were strongly colored -- stained, really -- by a damning 29/40 review from Famitsu. The score seemed shockingly low, especially for a game coming from a major advertiser like Sony. Even the generally horrible Infinite Undiscovery did better (32/40), and the unfairly maligned The Last Remnant did much better (38/40). More alarmingly, Level-5's own disappointing Rogue Galaxy was considered a superior game (36/40). In short, I was expecting a disaster.

White Knight Chronicles is anything but a disaster. I don't get the feeling that the game's a vibrant masterpiece -- not yet, anyway -- but it's certainly superior to Infinite Undiscovery, and it corrects most of the problems with the deeply flawed Rogue Galaxy. Although WKC should be enjoyable comfort food for fans of Japanese role-playing games in whatever state it arrives on Western shores, a few simple tweaks could improve it dramatically. I hope this preview highlights some of the niggling interface problems that I encountered in WKC -- those little issues that all too often find their way into otherwise highly polished Level-5 games.

Despite how Sony's promoted WKC since its announcement at the 2006 Tokyo Game Show, it's a massively multiplayer online-RPG at heart. Indeed, online adventuring is ostensibly half the game: The giant robot fantasy, or "Story Part," that you've been seeing images of for two years now is but a one-player experience built on a foundation clearly erected to serve the "Live Part," a Final Fantasy XI-lite four-player online-RPG. (I say "ostensibly," as it has been impossible to play WKC online since its release two days ago. More on that below.) To serve the Live Part, the game presents you with an incredibly elaborate character creation mode as soon as you complete the 5 minute, 2GB install necessary to play the game. Level-5 president/evangelist Akihiro Hino said that he expects gamers to spend 2 hours crafting their avatar before the game even begins, and in my case that turned out to be accurate: After an evening spent coaxing nine pages of sliders ranging from ear curvature to nasal-labial trough ratio, I ended up with an unnervingly accurate 3D representation of myself -- faithful down to slightly asymmetrical eyes. When all's said and done, WKC may be best remembered for this feature; I'd be fully comfortable calling WKC's avatar editor the most advanced in gaming history. Indeed, it makes the character creation modes of things like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and PlayStation Home look laughable in comparison.

Once you're satisfied with your in-game persona, the one-player Story Part begins (you aren't able to access any online functions until you've advanced a few hours into the campaign, which acts as a tutorial for the various game systems). Your avatar is a mute employee at hero Leonard's liquor shop, where you're both tasked with retrieving a shipment of wine for Princess Shizuna's coming-of-age festival. By nightfall, the low-born Leonard's finagled his way into the royal palace, an event which -- wouldn't you just know it -- happens to coincide with an enemy invasion led by a menacing Black Knight. Soon the Princess is kidnapped, and her father, the King of Valandor, is killed...but not before Leonard makes a pact with a suit of ancient, sentient armor lying beneath the palace, granting him the ability to transform into a 30-foot-tall robo-knight. All of this happens before the opening credits!

The story may not be remarkable (Hino, who "wrote" the wildly incoherent Rogue Galaxy, also wrote WKC), but the experience it sets up is enjoyable. I mentioned that WKC was an MMORPG at heart; that might be too kind. WKC is Final Fantasy XI. The near-identical controls, battles, camera angles, onscreen log, emote commands, macro shortcuts, and design -- extending even to lawsuit-worthy analogues of FFXI's Hume, Elvaan, Tarutaru, Mithra and Galka races -- nearly convinced me that I was living a cruel flashback. FFXI held my life in a death grip for half a decade, but a return to its familiar control schemes was strangely enjoyable. For those who never tried Square Enix's soul-stealing online RPG, its game engine is a brilliant one; you've likely experienced a great deal of its influence in FFXII, but it's even more profound here.

That influence is first noticeable in WKC's vast, wide-open areas, which can take a good 15 minutes to travel across. Cities are completely seamless -- opening the door to a shop or home simply lets you inside, with nary a screen transition to be seen. Environments have a true lived-in quality; there's a sense that the world continues beyond the boundaries your characters can move within. WKC may not be a technical marvel, but its superb world design can make for the occasionally breathtaking moment as you crest a rise to see glittering lakes far below or stop to admire the intricate way a bridge loops back over an area that you had been through hours before.

The controls are also lifted from FFXI, with movement on the left stick and the targeting of enemies, NPCs, and objects accomplished with the digital D-pad. Targeting your character brings up a list of commands. In battle, you can freely assign individual attacks, weapon skills, and magic commands to a palette of shortcuts -- a concept identical to FFXI's macros, though with somewhat less freedom. Enemies roam the field (some are aggressive, and some aren't) and will link together on sight just as in...yeah, I don't even have to say it anymore.

Two areas in which WKC differs significantly from FFXI are its character growth and combo systems. You have complete freedom to acquire whatever weapon skill, magic, or stat bonus you choose through skill points obtained when you level up, and learning these unlock subsequent skills. It's like FFXII's License Board system, though with a less visual implementation. You can also create custom combos by linking together several attacks via a submenu, which are unleashed in battle through a quick time event-like button-tapping scheme. Contrary to how they may sound, combos may be the most enjoyable aspect of WKC's battle system, offering great freedom and accompanied by spectacular camerawork. "

Still think it's the worst game in the world, and it's going to bomb? That's fine, at least you've read up on it first. My point is that dtoid users are too quick to judge, close minded, and do little research from gaming review sites and only focus on dtoids "blog" style of "journalistic commentary". All I ask from my fellow users is to research what you're commenting on, good or bad, go read up, travel the web, check out some other sites, watch some videos, watch more than 1 video of a guy running around leveling up, just take some time into what you're saying, back up your opinions with something and give me a reason to value your opinion.
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About funranone of us since 7:47 PM on 02.12.2008

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