As always, with the first of a new type of article, I’d like to give an explanation of what this is. Some games have way more than the normal ‘2 to 3 days of playing and I’m done’ to them. Games like open world adventure games, most jrpgs, etc. can have 60-100+ hours in a single playthrough, and often have some either endless or replayability element to them. And I don’t want to wait for weeks and weeks to get reviews to you, but I also don’t want to review a game before I finish. So I’ve come to a compromise, for games that are exceptionally long – games that I foresee myself taking weeks to finish – I will be doing these ‘8 hour reviews’. These are brief partial reviews of my impression of the game after a day or 2 of playing – approximately 8 hours. And then, when I eventually do finish the game, then I’ll write a full review and crosslink the two articles to make it easy to find in case anyone wants to compare.
The first game to get one of these segments will be White Knight Chronicles II – the sequel to Level-5’s grind-heavy JRPG that I did a review of back in February, and that came out a year earlier. Review of White Knight Chronicles can be found here: http://www.tgr-net.com/2011/02/revisiting-white-knight-chronicles/
For White Knight Chronicles II, I’ve actually played a bit more than that, so this is a bit more than an 8 hour review, but I’m still far from completion, so it’s still workable.
So, White Knight Chronicles II picks up one year after where White Knight Chronicles 1 left off – with the reborn Yshrenian Empire declaring war on the entire world – and seemingly not facing much opposition. The game starts with a civil war in Faria, a country far to the West. From there the story proceeds in a quite linear fashion, but as with the first one the story is definitely interesting in the first little while – if you can get over watching Leonard moon over Cisna (although this is less present in the second one, it’s still there). The early part of the story takes you through, so far, mostly the same areas as before with the exception of the Lost Forest and Faria which are new; which was a bit disappointing since I’ve already seen all of these areas inside and out. There don’t seem to have been any significant improvements made to the visuals or audio, and the ‘theme song’ for the game is nowhere near as cool as ‘The Travelers’ was from the first game.
Combat has been drastically improved. The AI on your allies being improved a bit it seems. They’ve also redone a lot of the skill trees, extending the trees a bit and adding some handy new abilities. But by far most importantly, they’ve sped up the turn timer, allowing you to act a lot quicker. This also applies to the enemies which also makes them a bit harder for normal enemies. Many enemies have temporary physical damage immunities, which can make the game frustrating if you lack a caster but since characters are fully customizable, that isn’t a huge deal. The lack of an option to respec characters except right at the start makes mistakes very punishing(after doing a bit of research you have to reach level 80 and guildrank 20 to respec your skill options, which is a very long way away). Large monsters in the game have had their difficulty tuned up quite a big notch, being quite a bit more difficult than I remember in WKC 1. I have found several fights, not even boss fights, where I’ve been scratching my head at how hard they were and how long they took unless you switched and used one of the Knights.
Overall, I’m thoroughly enjoying the game, and look forward to many more hours of the story, and probably even more hours on the multiplayer which I haven’t even jumped into much yet. This is definitely an improvement in virtually every way over the first game, while maintaining the good aspects the first game had going for it.
Once again, sorry for how late this was – this was a last minute idea and due to some personal issues took a bit longer to write than I’d hoped, but in the future you can watch for these 8 Hour Reviews a lot closer to the game’s release.
Written by: Sean