White Knight Chronicles II

Originally Published: 26 June 2011

Ah, poor Yulie. It’s not bad enough that your best friend/love interest is besotted by a princess who happens to be the resurrected Anthwani Queen. Or that your best friend has stumbled onto a giant magical suit of armour while trying to rescue the princess, or that the flash Harry – Caeser -has come along and bagged himself a magic suit of armour as well while all you do is look on and sigh a lot. Maybe things will change this time around.

White Knight Chronicles II is, shockingly, the continuation of White Knight Chronicles and, yes, this time Yulie gets herself a Knight Ark. About 15 months ago, give or take a week or two, I reviewed the first White Knight Chronicles. And hey, that’s included on this disc as well in a remastered format. Remastered, in this case, meaning it’s had all the crappy stuff stripped out and replaced with the gameplay mechanics of the second game. It’s nice to know that someone listened to the criticisms the first time round and decided to give it another shot.

The disc, as I mentioned, comes with both games. You have the option to import your completed save from the first and continue where you left off, start from the beginning again or jump into the second adventure at level 35, no messing. I don’t know why you’d want to do the third option. If you’ve not played the first, you’re not that likely to play the second and if they’ve gone to all the trouble to include the first game anyway… well, it’d be rude not to play it if you’re a White Knight n00b.

So, what’s different? White Knight Chronicles is still a faux MMO. You can, as your mute and somewhat gormless looking avatar, go online and play a load of guild quests with friends. The first time around the game made you feel a bit crap for not having any friends to play with and would punish you with difficulty curves. This time around it’s a lot more pleasant experience and the quests are a handy way to level up – it’s grinding but at least it feels like you’re doing something.

The battle mechanics have changed. There’s definitely something different but I genuinely can’t tell you what. The battles, though, feel a lot more user friendly so something’s definitely changed. I draw the line at playing last year’s release and this one side-by-side to see what’s different but just trust me. It’s a lot nicer. It still uses the same MMO style move list but you don’t die as often and it’s a lot less clunky.

I was interested to see what had happened in the past year or so, and I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. So much so that the game has resided in my PS3 for the last week or two and has been played pretty much every day. I’m a grinding demon. I want all the skills, I want all the hunt bounties and I’m determined to do all the errands – even if it does see me running from town to town to pass on a two line message. I don’t think I could have said that had they not improved all the quibbles with the first title. Nice one, Level 5.

Better than the original release of the first one by a country mile so, if you avoided it then, you can pick up both chapters of the story now and actually enjoy the game rather than swearing at things for constantly hitting you with their nuts. There’s also not a lot funnier than being told that the lizard’s munch has missed Leonard. Ah, happy days.