White Knight Chronicles review

  • Transforming into a giant knight is cool
  • Punching a dragon is funny
  • Certainly not too challenging
  • Fugly animations and 20 minute cutscenes
  • Surprisingly easy boss battles
  • Repetitive fetch quests

About eight hours in, hero Leonard punches a dragon in the face. It’s the only bit of fun in the entire game. This long delayed JRPG doesn’t live up to the high expectations it set at E3 2009. The problem is that it’s dated. From the poorly dubbed voices to the menu-heavy battle system, this feels like you’re playing a ten-year-old game.

To begin with, you’ll fail to empathise with the cast of dense, stereotypical characters. All the usual JRPG personas are here: the errand boy turned hero, the gal pal who secretly fancies him, the whimpering princess who cries non-stop. It doesn’t help that they’re all badly animated, looking and moving like jerky wooden dolls. It’s especially off-putting that, when talking, their lips simply open and close like a goldfish – barely in sync with poorly dubbed dialogue.

All this could have been overlooked if the battle system was interesting and functional. But it’s unbelievably menu heavy – often it’s difficult to see what your party is doing because the screen is plastered with HUDs. Not that this matters, because battles are surprisingly easy, cheapening what could have been a pretty cool feature – transforming Leonard into a gigantic (and thus nearly invincible) knight.

Simply trying to teach your party members new skills is a tedious affair. It requires you to assign Skill Points to desired talents, then go through four more screens to allocate newly learnt skills to one of 21 slots – only then can you use these actions in the battlefield. Oh, and you have to do this individually for every single character. 

WKC could have redeemed itself with its online segment. Plug in your network cable and you can create your own town (which functions as a hub). Hook up with other RPGers, and together you can complete side quests you ‘buy’ from in-game guilds. Sounds nice, but there’s very little point, given the meagre rewards. It certainly doesn’t stand up to Demon's Souls' innovative use of online multiplayer.

It’s a real shame to see Level-5 favour an old-fashioned approach for its first next-gen RPG. Especially when they have genre pushing, innovative classics such as Rogue Galaxy and Dark Cloud under their belt. Really, you need two key ingredients to create a successful RPG – a strong story with rich personalities, and robust, interesting battle mechanics. WKC has neither.

Feb 17, 2010

More Info

Release date: Feb 02 2010 - PS3 (US)
Feb 26 2010 - PS3 (UK)
Available Platforms: PS3
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: SCEA
Developed by: Level-5
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Use of Alcohol, Violence, Mild Language
PEGI Rating:


  • gamegrinda - December 4, 2011 11:23 a.m.

    this game was ok but the ending was weak and filt like hafe a game and it was pushed out to mack some monye to to be a great rpg
  • zacroberts - March 3, 2010 3:29 a.m.

  • maryjames2010 - February 23, 2010 7:44 p.m.

    Do you want a free PS3, if so, follow this link.
  • Gameguy94 - February 21, 2010 5:50 p.m.

    I knew there was a good reason I wasn't excited about this game.
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - February 19, 2010 12:40 a.m.

    I'll admit an initial interest as well, but after seeing most of the game played through, and then FFXIII right after, it's a hard sell. Really bland and dated.
  • John-117 - February 19, 2010 12:15 a.m.

    Shame, Level5 is usually so good. One less game to play I suppose. Atleast FFXIII is coming out relatively soon for people in need of a JRPG itch. Speaking of which, can`t believe the 360 version is sub-HD, colour me suprised.
  • Metroidhunter32 - February 18, 2010 11:13 p.m.

    Such potential. Oh well.
  • garnsr - February 18, 2010 9:55 p.m.

    It's amazing how games that get such long delays between Japan and America seem to end up not being that good anyway. We used to love Japanese games so much...
  • Corsair89 - February 18, 2010 9:23 p.m.

    Aww, that's disappointing.
  • RebornKusabi - February 18, 2010 8:33 p.m.

    I played this game and I have to say, this review doesn't over-accentuate the negatives of the game. It really is as bad and as bland as it sounds...

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