When I first spotted White Knight Chronicles in an issue of Game Informer, I was fascinated by the idea. I love RPG's and this had a different look and feel to it than the average RPG coming out of late. I enjoy the 'western' RPGs like Fallout and Mass Effect, but I've always enjoyed my more traditional JRPG's as well.
When White Knight Chronicles came out, the reviews were pretty bad. Almost every professional review site lambasted the game for a variety of reasons, and I held off from picking it up right away. Eventually though, my wife found it used and picked the game up for me, and I'm glad she did. My son and I both played and enjoyed the game quite a bit. Is it perfect? Far from it, but we both had a good deal of fun with it.
Graphics - 7:
The game won't win any awards here for technical merit. The environments look good but sometimes lack detail. Character models are not great, but the cut scenes were generally fun to watch. My son compared it to watching a cartoon. There was sometimes some odd pop-in and tearing, but almost never much in the way of slowdown. I also appreciated the wide variety of locales the game provided, and really sold the world as a whole I thought.
Sound & Music - 8:
The music was excellent in my opinion. I loved the opening music - the attract mode with cut scenes from the game played out against the instrumental (found here on Youtube if you're curious) is one I really liked. The voice actors do a good job with their roles, some of them really good and few actually embarrassing themselves along the way.
Gameplay - 6:
The game does take a few hits here. The combat is a bit slower than I would have liked. The building of an online village is fun, but there were a lot of questions I had that I could not find any information on. The combo system was not terribly clear right off of the bat. Still, leveling characters is rewarding and you get a good deal of customization to them. One thing that disappointed me is that your character is silent throughout. He is not the star of the game, in fact he is really just there as a combat aid. The customization system is very cool, but it is somewhat wasted on the fact your created character is more or less just along for the ride. It's understandable to a degree because roles and characters are very clearly defined for the sake of the storyline, but it did hurt my connection to the game.
Intangibles - 7:
The storyline was a bit over the top in places, but I enjoyed it for the most part. The game itself was seldom actually hard and I did beat it in about 40 hours. The new game plus was a nice touch, and I did play through it a second time to get some more trophies and try some different character combinations. The ending, without spoiling anything, was set up for the sequel that has already been announced.
There is an online component that adds some value to the game as well, though I did not get to participate with many online groupings - I didn't have any friends playing the game and I don't generally enjoy grouping with random people as much. Still, it was a neat, and slightly under appreciated feature.
Overall - 7:
And speaking of under appreciated, I feel like this game was precisely that. It plodded at times, and the combat was a bit slow for my liking - but I enjoyed the game and am looking forward to the sequel. Now that it's been out for a bit, if you are interested, the game should not be terribly expensive to pick up.