White Knight Chronicles follows the story of a young winery-shop apprentice named Leonard and his silent, but handsome side-kick, (insert name here) on their way to rescue the kidnapped Princess. Despite being a Princess, Cisna hasn’t exactly had the ideal life she’d always wanted. When she was roughly eight years old, Cisna witnessed a tragedy that left her scarred for life and turned her into a mute. On the day of her 18th birthday, when she was finally going to start talking again, she was kidnapped – leaving the entire country to never hear her sweet voice. Now, Leonard and his trusty new friend embark on a journey to not only save the world as we know it (as always), but to also bring back Princess Cisna because it’s the right thing to do!
While this may sound like the most cliché story setting for a roleplaying game possible, it’s overshadowed by the fact that Level-5 chose to push this story forward without any true emotional attachment to its characters or any investment to the cause. This is one of the bigger downfalls that White Knight Chronicles has to offer. To be honest, the lack of any true attachment to the people you’re watching go through this tragic tale makes it impossible to immerse yourself in the entire experience, which is something every roleplaying game should aim to do. Unfortunately, when you throw in the voice acting talent that was green lighted for this project, it creates a plot line and casting gig that isn’t anything to write home about.
Furthermore, none of the characters featured in the game seem to have any lasting personality. If you’re a roleplaying enthusiast like myself, you crave to come across characters and personas in a game that imprint themselves in your head to recall later. Sadly, White Knight Chronicles doesn’t provide any of that to the gamer and the reason for that falls squarely on the poor choice of voice actors and how the dialogue was written.
Now, I know this sounds like the game is riddled with negatives and isn’t worth picking up, but I’d like to get the rough patches out of the way first so that the light can shine through on everything Level-5 has done right with WKC.
My last main problem that I take with WKC is that the level design or terrain design is lacking anything prominent and feels more-so like a dungeon crawler than anything else. The layout is almost maze-like to an extent and making your way through it can often times be annoying due to the abundance of enemies in wait. This isn’t to say WKC offers an annoying random battle every few steps like roleplaying games of the 90s, but the fact that the battles with these enemies are like defeating a guy with no arms in a boxing match is just shy of boring.