Sony Computer Entertainment America is bringing Level-5's White Knight Chronicles to North America, a highly coveted loot drop that English-speaking RPG fans will surely want for their PlayStation 3 inventory.
We got a chance to go hands-on with a mostly-localised version of the game at Sony's PlayStation Gamers Day this week, my first tangible experience with White Knight Chronicles since fumbling about with the Japanese demo at Tokyo Game Shows past. Like many role-playing games, White Knight Chronicles will likely take dozens of hours to complete, weeks worth of leveling up and online adventuring to fully experience.
A fifteen minute demo may not offer the clearest of perspectives on how ultimately enjoyable the final version may be.
But we adventured nonetheless, experiencing White Knight Chronicles's blend of real-time action and turn-based attacks. The characters on hand were nearly maxed out, with skill points spent on nearly every unlockable spell, combo and attack. Our quartet of characters, as we cycled through each, was essentially unstoppable.
The actual gameplay in White Knight Chronicles is mostly straightforward, in keeping with genre conventions. Simply walk within range of one of the oversized wasp-beasts or masked field gnomes and issue an attack. Wait for the attack meter to recharge, then attack again. We faced no equal on the battlefield.
Even the towering Treant-like monster was little challenge, especially when the main character, Leonard, can transform into a giant white knight, then decimate his foes with an equally massive blade. Sure, we probably could've survived by taking the wood giant out at the shins, but we were in a hurry for some cave-dwelling.
What White Knight Chronicles does look to offer is attack variety. Four rows of customised attacks are available for each character, each with its own damage and magic attributes. Switching between them was initially awkward, but offered a slightly more action-filled feel than simply navigating menus.
Hopefully, Sony will offer a White Knight Chronicles demo to PlayStation 3 owners, so they can spend a little more time learning the intricacies of the battle system and character progression prior to launch. But new media may suffice, for now, to give players a better feel for the game.