PS3 Reviews: White Knight Chronicles II Review

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White Knight Chronicles II Review

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Graphics:

 

7.6

Gameplay:

 

8.1

Sound:

 

7.7

Control:

 

7.9

Replay Value:

 

8.5

Online Gameplay:

 

8.4

Overall Rating:       8.0

 

 

Publisher:

D3Publisher

Developer:

Level-5

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

RPG

Role-playing fans have been waiting for White Knight Chronicles II. Boasting a combat mechanic that some may view as old-fashioned, a quintessential Japanese flair, and an intriguing and innovative blend of campaign depth and online adventuring, this production has plenty to offer. It isn’t without its flaws but provided the avid fan gets involved in the fluid and engaging battle, many of those flaws either diminish or disappear entirely. The story isn’t great and things can start to feel a little tedious and even frustrating, but the RPG goodness shines through.

Visually, WKCII features a lot of fantastic animations and colorful imagery, even if it can’t compete with the most graphically accomplished titles currently on store shelves. Many of the environments are beautifully drawn and the character and enemy detail is impressive. It just lacks that level of refinement and gloss we commonly see these days, so if you’re used to the best of the best, you might be disappointed. However, from a comparison standpoint, the sequel surpasses the original in terms of technical accomplishment, and even without that slick sheen, this is an attractive world, loaded with pleasing design.

The soundtrack is good; classical, invigorating themes accompany our epic adventure at every turn, although you may not like the combat theme. Initially, it didn’t really seem to fit but I got used to it. The crisp effects punctuate faster, more gripping battling, and the combination of wide, sweeping scores and effective audio add richness to the experience. The voice acting is mediocre, though, and unfortunately, this is one area where Japanese games have been left behind. Some characters aren’t bad – Leonard is decent – but others are average at best.

But above all else, this quest is all about the gameplay. If you gravitate towards this relatively complex and fast-paced combat, you’ll spend a great many hours enjoying the campaign. It reminds one a lot of Final Fantasy XII, as you run around open environments and encounter enemies in real-time, only to utilize a turn-based system once the battle begins. Your two allies will operate off set command lines (similar to, though not as complicated as, Gambits) and a tactic choice, and you can change characters at any time as well.

The key to success is managing your Action Chips and available MP. You can create your own Combo attacks (you can even name ‘em) based on the skills you earned by gaining experience. Those combos use AC, while individual skills use MP (although not all do). But you also need AC to summon your knight into battle. Leonard, for instance, has the White Knight, while other characters have knights of different colors. There are a maximum of 15 Action Chips; you need a minimum of 7 to call your knight in, but the longer you wait, the more powerful your larger persona will become. At 15 AC, he gets a 50% boost.

The whole thing works well, even if there’s a somewhat steep learning curve if you’re not familiar with the first title. It’s not quite as complicated as it originally appears and soon, you’ll be learning new abilities, creating fresh combo chains, and joyfully experimenting in combat. But this does lead me to the first problem: a distinct lack of balance. Even the strongest combo attacks can’t really seem to compete with what a well-equipped knight can do, so it’s usually pointless to waste your AC on combos instead of waiting for the knight.

Situations do change over time, though. The power and effectiveness of various strategies fluctuate depending on the strength and setup of your party, and certain bosses can be incredibly challenging. This always forces you to rethink and recalculate, but I still say the system isn’t as tight, as balanced, or as well presented as the real-time/turn-based hybrid mechanic in FFXII. Also, I have to say that the respawning of enemies in the same spot can get a little annoying, as you can’t really clear large areas because the foes just keep coming back. Great for farming, but…

While I’m on the subject, I should also add that to me, the battling started to feel a little tedious. The dungeons and sections of the map are typically quite large and while I love to power-level (never had a problem with grinding), this just gets a tad monotonous. And if you don’t take your time and eliminate a great many enemies, some boss encounters will prove overwhelming. However, all this being said, I think the most important message to take away from this review is as follows: the game in question is a role-playing game. It will very, very likely make RPG fans – especially old-school fans – happy.

The depth is definitely there. The satisfaction and fulfillment gained from taking down a tough enemy, questing with friends and locating a powerful new piece of equipment, and creating bad-ass combos for both your characters and knights is unquestionable. The large areas do allow for plenty of exploring, even if the game remains linear. The vividness of certain outdoor areas and intimidating nature of the darker regions contributes to the experience. Lastly, there’s no doubt that this one can be mucho addictive.

There’s just so much stuff. There’s so much to see and do, and you’re always seeking a new, even more powerful skill or set of skills. Multiple and diverse characters allows you to pick and choose your party, and with numerous skillsets ranging from short sword to divine magic, there’s a veritable bounty of in-depth RPG grandness. The combat works exceedingly well (albeit with that aforementioned lack of perceived balance), the AI isn’t bad at all, and you will be justly rewarded for your efforts. It feels like a solid RPG and that's what counts.

Going online with friends is a big part, too. Personally, I never like the idea of adding an MMO theme to potentially great single-player RPGs, so I’m not the biggest fan of this particular element. However, there’s no denying what it does for the WKC universe. It allows fans to come together and reap the benefits of teamwork, and it greatly expands upon a game that is already jam-packed with tons of content. I had a few minor issues when going online but nothing worth getting in a twist about, and the fan appeal is obvious.

I’m not that impressed with the story, but as I said before, the gameplay is of the utmost importance. Furthermore, for everyone complaining that WKC2 doesn’t hold your hand with a lot of tutorials, maybe we should remember that we’re dealing with a sequel. The fact that our characters start at Lv. 35 should be a clue. Furthermore, all the information you could ever need exists in the Travelogue; if you’re new to this game, just read. Yes, it’s more effective to have in-game tutorials but this is hardly a big issue; RPG fans know what they’re doing.

White Knight Chronicles 2 is a captivating, nicely put-together game with tons of content, a great online component, a streamlined battle mechanic that is faster and more fluid, and some interesting characters. I don’t think much of the story, the balance between combos and magic and knight abilities seems a little off, and the respawning enemies and very large landscapes can feel tiring. But overall, if you enjoyed the first game, you’ll probably love the second and as far as RPGs go, this is a good one. This is one example where many critics miss the point, in my opinion.

The Good: A boatload of content. More streamlined yet still in-depth combat mechanic. Going online with friends is a huge bonus. The dedicated will be richly rewarded. Overall, a solid role-playing experience.

The Bad: Lacking technical polish. Battle balance seems a little off. Constant battling and grinding feels tedious. Story isn’t great.

The Ugly: “‘sigh’ So I really can’t ever eliminate every monster, huh?”

9/24/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (42 posts)

shadowscorpio
Saturday, September 24, 2011 @ 6:56:02 PM
Reply

NIce review. Will be adding this to my collection very soon.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 24, 2011 @ 7:43:28 PM
Reply

I agree with everything written here. The story is no Final Fantasy but there's so much customization and stuff it's hard for an RPG fan not to be pleased. Seeing this game get 6s and 5s is just painful, it's a much better game than that. Critics just don't understand not everything needs to innovate... unless it comes to an FPS, then they don't mind that it's all the same.

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Qubex
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 1:05:30 AM

Interesting points and great review too Ben. I think the points you raised about giving a game such as this 5's and 6's is an issue that plagues the industry. Ben has mentioned the lack of real professionalism in journalism as a whole, especially when it comes to writing reviews that are "technically" accurate, balanced and contextually fair.

It seems game journos need "real" gaming qualifications before they unleash their opinions on games that could literally shutter a developer with the loss of as many jobs. Journos really have a great responsibility here. They need to be fair and accurate and if they are not "qualified" to review a particular category of game, they should not go near it...

Where are the controls and standards in the industry?

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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duomaxwell007
Saturday, September 24, 2011 @ 7:51:29 PM
Reply

quite impressive Ben. I was expecting no higher than a 7...guess I can call off my snipers now >.>

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5TAY3R
Saturday, September 24, 2011 @ 8:29:32 PM
Reply

Great review Ben, u know while reading your review i was laughing, if it was an XBOX centric site and WKC was an XBOX exclusive then critics all over and even this site wont rate it under 8
i agree with ur review, i'm halfway though the game, but graphics is seriously better than what 7.6 suggests, it has its charms, not always but yeah it has

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Highlander
Saturday, September 24, 2011 @ 9:29:12 PM
Reply

The Ugly: “‘sigh’ So I really can’t ever eliminate every monster, huh?”

That sounds awfully like one of the incidental comments Caesar makes while you roam the landscapes chasing after one of the bounties...

I Think this is a good and fair review. I would argue that the graphics are actually a bit stronger than you suggest, In all honesty I'd put the online section well in the high nines along with replay, but that is my opinion only. I suspect that had you been able to spend some time with community members questing online, you might have awarded a higher score there.

I'm replaying through from the beginning and I'm finding that actually the balance isn't really bad at all. Combos are still useful, not as much as in the previous game, however they really can make a difference with boss fights. The sheer (MP) cost of the larger single attacks is difficult to manage early in the game, and so it's better to place them into combos to preserve the MP for other things. The introduction of the knights does help, but really these behemoths only come into their own when you have them fully geared up. Certainly in the original part of the story, the knights are not really required, if you level a bit. Leveling can be achieved through story play, bounties or questing. And of course you can go online with friends and quest with them, leveling your avatar. I found with the previous game that between in-story leveling and on-line questing, my character (avatar) was more or less as powerful as a knight under most circumstances. That doesn't seem to be the case any more. In fact I'd say it was better balanced now because the knights *should* be uber powerful. In one fight, the White Knight was dealing 450 or so points against a Boss, and I know that short of a long combo, there is no way my characters could come close to doing that. That is a better balance and makes the knight immediately useful. That said, a well leveled character could still manage the battle if needed.

The only real complaint I have about the game is the NPC AI. As you go through the game you identify enemy weaknesses both in terms of the type of attack and in terms of element. It would be logical, and really quite appreciated, if the NPCs would use these weaknesses once revealed, but they do not appear to do so with any reliability. In fact there's nothing quite so odd as seeing Eldore casting fireballs at a fire giant, even though you've already identified it's weakness to water based attacks. The NPCs are not brain dead entirely though, they will heal acceptably well and fight, but the appropriateness of attacks and elements can be a little patchy. All told, it's a minor annoyance, that almost seems comical.

Whatever the case, whether the score be 8.0 or 9.3 (my user review score), the point remains this;

"overall, if you enjoyed the first game, you’ll probably love the second and as far as RPGs go, this is a good one. This is one example where many critics miss the point, in my opinion."

I'd add though, that for many gamers, there hasn't been much JRPG love. Well, they could definitely do a tone worse than give WKC2 a try. In all honesty, I'd say that the vast majority of all JRPG fans would find something to like in this game. In fact, they'd probably find enough to sink lots of time online with it, I know I will. People just need to give the game a chance and ignore the somewhat unreasonable reviews elsewhere.

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Highlander
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 5:34:31 AM

I have to add a further comment. I just finished playing the opening sections of the WKC2 story, that takes place in Faria. The city in Faria is nothing short of beautiful. I hadn't seen this bit earlier, and now I definitely have to argue with the graphics score in most every review, even this one. Sorry, but the quality of the work on the capital city of the Archduchy of Faria is some of the best I've seen in an RPG at any time.

You can argue that relative to this, that or the other it's not quite as good in this technical manner or that. Whatever folks, taken as a whole, that cityscape in the game is simply beautiful to behold. I mean everything is so well done, there are layers upon layers of detail - even down to the fish in the water (which is of course itself done in a way that is just plain convincing). Anyone who thinks the game isn't up to snuff graphically needs to visit their eye doctor. When was the last time you explored a city in an RPG just to see what was around the next corner? When did you last seek out the highest spot to look down over the town and see the whole town in all it's glory. When did you last spend 15-20 minutes walking around an in-game town just looking around, not bothering to hit the shops or anything like that? That's what I did tonight. To me, that indicates he quality of the game. very few games can illicit that kind of reaction from players. This game can.

Last edited by Highlander on 9/25/2011 5:38:26 AM

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Lotusflow3r
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 6:35:07 AM

Completely agree, Highlander.

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duomaxwell007
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 9:00:58 AM

High even if the city of faria does look good graphically.. I can see why the graphics dont get that high a rating because simply.. compared to what the PS3 CAN do graphically (just look at FF13) Faria would still look bad in comparison

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tes37
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 9:17:38 AM

I think the graphics are better than people are saying. It seems to me that Level-5 chose a particular art style that isn't appreciated by all. At first I thought the graphics were so-so, until I noticed the detail in the characters and environments. All of it is smooth and clean except for a few places here and there that have blocky edges. The style looks intentional to me.

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Temjin001
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 11:55:16 AM

Highlander, I actually didn't read everything you posted because I haven't played the game, so I can't comment to much. BUt I did see what you said about graphics. I do sympathize, in general, about the various ideas people hold about what good graphics are, or what good games are etc.
I have this issue of Game Informer. THe one with Zelda on it. Opening it up to the reviews section to the pages with Resistance 3 on the left and Ico/SotC on the right, we have two entirely different interpretations of two great games. THe author of the R3 review believes the game lacks atmosphere, where clearly within the showcase gallery shot that heads the review, it looks rich and thick with atmosphere(and the whole game is) On the other page we see the Ico/SotC review with a multitude of screenshots that all look "last gen" with graphics that are extremely low in polygon count and in detail. But here the game rates to much higher (different critic) and many critics maintain it's graphics as really good. Now my brain, being more technical, can not accept Ico/SotC looking the better experience. It short circuits my brain to think like that. But there are those, who, through objective interpretations, would argue they do compare. I'm not suggesting one person is right and the other is wrong. But rather the difference in values that are derived through one's "objective" interpretation of content being evaluated. There's clearly different indicators being assessed to one but not to another.
Lately, I try to take most critical evaluations as more a matter of perspective by an individual, rather than advice as to what game I should play. Because I do think, most games today are all good games, and are all worth anyone's time for those who are so interested. The distance between the 7, 8, 9 etc. can be had only by the perspective we hold. Just as R3 demonstrates. I think the game is a 9.0+, where the GI guy think it's just a 7. I'm sure we're both smart, and both hold our perspective, but one walked away less impressed than another.

Sorry if this reads like a mess. I shot from the hip on this with my limited time.

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Clamedeus
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 12:30:54 PM

Highlander you are making me want the game even more, I'm not saying I wasn't going to get it though because since I seen the first game awhile back I always wanted the game, but I can't wait to get it.

Last edited by Clamedeus on 9/25/2011 12:31:27 PM

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Highlander
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 12:54:39 PM

No spoilers in my comments folks - as far as I know. I will try to keep it that way.

Clamedeus, I honestly don't think you will regret getting this game for a single moment.

One thing I would like to say loud and clear to the folks at Square Enix. You are a bunch of lying cowards if you still maintain that you cannot possibly do towns in HD in a reasonable timescale. Level 4 has done it, there are at least 6 highly detailed towns/cities that are rendered in HD and each is unique in design, culture and art style. So don't tell me that you can't do it, Square Enix. Oh yes SE, I remember the comments your folks have made about how difficult it is to make RPGs with towns in HD, I remember. The truth is, you simply don't want to, or are afraid that you can't do it, and are afraid to admit that truth.

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Highlander
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 1:04:18 PM

Level 5! Not Level 4. Sorry, bad typing error that I failed to spot.

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Clamedeus
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 5:44:20 PM

I know I'm not going to regret it. :D And I agree with what you said about SE, they CAN do it. They just don't want to I guess.

If all the FF games goes by what FF13 is, I don't think I will invest in anymore FF games. I'm hoping Versus will add some old school flavor goodness we all loved back in the day.

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, September 24, 2011 @ 11:13:12 PM
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I've been so busy with this game that I've been slacking on my posts on here. Well over 40hrs clocked in with the game already and I'm not even close to running out of things to do. You're right the story is bland, it's as if they designed the game and then afterwards filled in the gaps with dialogue and a half-a$$ storyline.

Honestly though the gameplay and variety of things to do as well as the amount of items and equipment you're able to find and make makes up for the below average story.

Fellow WKCII players if you see me playing I suggest questing with me, I'm a 4 foot Mage with purple hair and pink mascara.

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LegendaryWolfeh
Saturday, September 24, 2011 @ 11:47:08 PM

Sounds about right, haha.

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duomaxwell007
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 8:59:49 AM

Umm 4 foot mage and pink mascara? that would make me NOT want to quest with you :p

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tes37
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 1:12:11 PM

Add some green lipstick, and we have a deal.

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burnedknight
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 12:10:44 AM
Reply

Nice review Ben. I looked at metacritic a few days ago and the way the reviews were made it seem like it sucked. It's sad really that so many sites keep hating on jrpg's

I'll hopefully add to my collection soon.

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Robochic
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 7:44:50 AM
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Nice review Ben, now just to pick up the game for the hubby :) He loved the first one.

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Teddie9
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 9:00:08 AM
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This game is all gameplay for me, so I'm more than content. Yet since I'm on the subject - Are enemies still able to hit you (with say a melee attack) even if you're clearly out of range? Didn't like that in the original.

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duomaxwell007
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 11:43:22 AM

yeah they can.. thats a NORMAL feature in 90% of the mmorpgs out there (even though WKC isnt an mmorpg its gameplay is MMO style).. it prevents you from being able to exploit ranged attacks.. i mean if they couldnt hit you from far away then a bow and mage should be able to solo ANYTHING.. just stay at a distance and keep attacking while its sitting there helpless.

But of course then youll ask "if thats the case why even have ranged attacks then?" to which Id say because ranged attacks give you an advantage just not an unfair one.. i..e I can hit and enemy two o 3 times before they can get close enough to me to attack.. but its not so cheap that i could fire once... run back out of its range.. fire again.. run again.. repeat and kill it without ever getting touched.

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Highlander
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 12:56:58 PM

It's not just that though Duo, if you are in a party and you are the ranged attack dealer, you can stand back, and the enemies will pay more attention to those close to them. The enemy AI uses the distance to the attackers as a modifier on the aggro each attacker represents when picking who to attack. So the grunts going in for close quarters combat will be the primary targets unless the bow user or spell caster make a spectacle of themselves with some flashy attacks or magic.

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Teddie9
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 1:28:45 PM

ok ok, sorry that was ignorant of me not to condsider other playstyles, since I usually keep to melee skills.

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Alienange
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 12:45:15 PM
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Why would you want to eliminate every enemy? Barely any RPG allows for that. You want large open spaces that are clear of enemies? With a weak story already in place, wouldn't that make it even worse?

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Highlander
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 1:03:29 PM

Is the story really that weak?

It's deeper than boy saves princess. It's deeper than teenage pop group saves world. It's deeper than teen character in coming of age journey.

Seriously. OK there are some well used plot devices involved, but show me a fantasy based RPG that doesn't use some or all of these same plot devices. I have to be careful of spoilers, so I can't reference any specific game events, but the first part alone contains at least one major plot twist that should involve the player emotionally. I don't honestly think the story is as weak as people say, it's simply using familiar character archetypes and plot devices, but that alone doesn't make it weak or boring.

Personally, replaying the first game through again, I found that I actually like the characters more now. In particular Yulie seems to really be coming into her own in the story, and Caesar and Kara are really the stars of the show for me. Leonard is something of a cardboard cutout for most of the time, but then he's the titular White Knight, so in a way, he has much less room as a character. That said, he has one of the better lines in the game, a line I've always wanted a character to say. When he steps in to help someone, the enemy asks who he and his party are. The answer is short and sweet, and oh so right - "We're the good guys."

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 7:51:32 PM

That's not really what I meant; it shouldn't be taken literally. What I mean is that sometimes you never feel as if you're making much progress, as the enemies come back so quickly.

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bebestorm
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 2:44:49 PM
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Nice detailed Review Ben...
The first game felt like a jrpg mixed with a little bit of western flair. I had thought about buying this because I seen and read about the changes that were made but Im going to pass. I never connected to the characters and the online is not appealing to me. The story hasnt improved either. I look forward to Ni No Kuni

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 5:17:18 PM
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WKC1 had a boring story for the most of it and then things got really interesting and twisted, I hope there are some twists down the line in WKC2 as well.

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Aura7541
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 6:43:12 PM

Don't worry. There's plenty of twists and surprises in WKC2.

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Vitron
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 11:02:08 PM

Well, part one did have ridiculous twists(and annoying). Part 2's story did actually improve though not that much but its tolerable now.


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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 7:52:35 PM
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By the way, as you can see by Highlander's posts (and the thread in the forums), there's a LOT to talk about in WKC2. Obviously, more can be said about this game but the review was already long enough. I just can't go too in-depth, you know?

I tried to touch on everything important and deliver something accurate, but don't think I talked about everything there is to talk about. That'd be a mistake. :)

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Highlander
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 8:52:03 PM

Amen on that Ben, there's too much in this game to really touch on it all in any single review.

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Vitron
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 10:58:56 PM
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Man, I guess I'm enjoying this game a bit too much. Played through SP starting from WKC1 last Wednesday and I'. already near-end of WKC2.

One thing to add, though minor frustration, is that most of the campaign dungeons were just recycled. Would it kill to add half new dungeons for SP? I mean I want more places to be recorded on my crystal cam.


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Highlander
Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 11:19:41 PM

There is supposed to be a bonus dungeon that opens up after you compelte the game, so tehre is more.... Plus if all the DLC from Japan makes it here, we have a new guild system and new story elements for the avatar and their knight.

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Vitron
Monday, September 26, 2011 @ 2:38:18 AM

I get what you are saying but It would be more of an adventure and a plus if they put new dungeons in the middle of the SP rather than a bonus map at the end of the game. Plus i'm one of those individuals who just don't dig DLCs.


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Highlander
Monday, September 26, 2011 @ 10:55:31 AM

I understand that. The final dungeon is (I think) intended to act as a kind of proving ground for online players to level grind with.

The thing about this is, the story takes place in the same world we already know. Apart from a few new areas of established locations (such as the dungeon under Balandor castle) the existing locations are bound to be used. It's like a book where you start out introducing characters and settings and they are then the setting for the events through the rest of the story (part 2). If you think about Lord of the Rings, it's a very linear narrative from location to location with very little backtracking, so each new section happens in a new location as the journey of the ring bearers progresses. WKC has a linear story progression - yes, but the party is moving forward through events, but because of the nature of the story, many of those events take place in existing locations. Sure, if something happens in Greede you could create an entirely new Ducal mansion for Caesar, but why not use the existing location for consistency? Same thing for Balandor. I know that people expect lots of new locations, but in reality, unless the story moves forwards and never revisits any locations or characters from the past it is more of a journey or road trip than an adventure that builds on the events of the past. Thinking about the story of WKC2, the conflict that occurs involves Greede & Balandor, as well as Faria. Those are the three great powers involved, so it's absolutely natural that the locations for Greede and Balandor would be re-used, as would the locations that share continuity back to the time of the Athwani and Yshrenians - such as the Dogma Rift. It's easy to criticize the game for using the same general locations, but when you delve past the surface, it's not an entirely fair criticism.

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Highlander
Monday, September 26, 2011 @ 10:55:31 AM

I understand that. The final dungeon is (I think) intended to act as a kind of proving ground for online players to level grind with.

The thing about this is, the story takes place in the same world we already know. Apart from a few new areas of established locations (such as the dungeon under Balandor castle) the existing locations are bound to be used. It's like a book where you start out introducing characters and settings and they are then the setting for the events through the rest of the story (part 2). If you think about Lord of the Rings, it's a very linear narrative from location to location with very little backtracking, so each new section happens in a new location as the journey of the ring bearers progresses. WKC has a linear story progression - yes, but the party is moving forward through events, but because of the nature of the story, many of those events take place in existing locations. Sure, if something happens in Greede you could create an entirely new Ducal mansion for Caesar, but why not use the existing location for consistency? Same thing for Balandor. I know that people expect lots of new locations, but in reality, unless the story moves forwards and never revisits any locations or characters from the past it is more of a journey or road trip than an adventure that builds on the events of the past. Thinking about the story of WKC2, the conflict that occurs involves Greede & Balandor, as well as Faria. Those are the three great powers involved, so it's absolutely natural that the locations for Greede and Balandor would be re-used, as would the locations that share continuity back to the time of the Athwani and Yshrenians - such as the Dogma Rift. It's easy to criticize the game for using the same general locations, but when you delve past the surface, it's not an entirely fair criticism.

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Underdog15
Monday, September 26, 2011 @ 9:50:09 AM
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I'm absolutely adoring this game right now.

Ben's right about the story, though. It's not going to keep me coming back. The gameplay is what captivates me. The quests, marks, errands, etc... it's all so much to do.

It has a couple extremely MINOR gameplay issues, but they aren't unusual, can't stand, sort of issues. There are 9+ scoring games out there with more annoying issues than anything WKC2 has.

For me, if the SP had a more compelling story (length is plenty long enough, by the way. They didn't skimp on it, it just isn't very strong) it would be near a 9.

As is, I think this review is excellently written. I definitely feel Level 5 could have added a few extra levels of polish, but for the budget they had, I think they did a more than acceptable job.

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Highlander
Monday, September 26, 2011 @ 10:58:17 AM

I agree about the Story, once played through, unless you specifically want that NewGame + trophy, there is not much reason to replay the story. Though it is still enjoyable, and not terribly 'chore-like'. But it's the continuing play after the story mode that really brings the best of the game to light. That is something that sadly can't really be captured in a review of the game at this stage - though a review later, kind of an extended play review, might be able to cover that.

Hopefully we'll get the game's guild system and the avatar story line elements from Japan sometime, I think it would be worth reviewing the online play at that point because those elements really provide almost a second game beyond the story mode of WKC1/2.

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Highlander
Monday, September 26, 2011 @ 11:37:50 AM
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I've run into something interesting with this game that could help explain the problems that some reviewers (not Ben) have had with it.

If you've played the first game, or are used to the rather easy progress you make in games at the start of the game, WKC2 could prove to be frustrating - at the start. There are several story segments that you complete before the game's opening credits roll. After that there is a game section that introduces a new 'dungeon' in an existing location from WKC1. The enemies in that location are considerably tougher than anything faced in WKC1, and require a completely different strategy to beat.

Previous enemies have simply been tougher versions of things we have faced before. so you adopt the normal strategy of using smaller attacks to weaken the larger enemies before unleashing combos or major magic attacks to end the fight. However these new enemies requires you to use smaller attacks to break them down, and then a completely different type of attack to take them out, still others in the same location require a different strategy still where you must use a specific magic (well, not must, but it works better than the alternatives) attack to break the enemy before finishing them with strong melee or conventional magic attacks.

This is an abrupt change in the pattern of the game and requires a complete re-think of how you approach things. The addition of 'slayer' attributes to the weapons is an indicator of the issue, but really the second part of WKC2 introduces sufficient new enemies and stronger enemies that using the new combat mechanics force the player to rethink their strategy with each new 'level' or area of the game.

Yes, you could level up, or perhaps even overlevel your character to make things easier. But if you're hitting these locations with the levels earned completing WKC1 or starting at level 35, you really have to start understanding the combat system and changing your strategies to match the location and enemy.

I've seen this described as a difficulty bump, and in some respects it is, especially if you played the original and are used to the battle routine of building action chips, buffing before battle and unleashing combo after combo to bring the foe down. When the enemies are effectively immune to that old, well used and well known tactic, it can feel immediately more challenging. But for a properly prepared party and player, I don't think that it's much more challenging than it was when you first start WKC1.

Last edited by Highlander on 9/26/2011 11:38:23 AM

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