This brings me to the online play portion of the game. The online setup, as previously mentioned, is very much like Monster Hunter. There is a guild you receive your quests from and each quest has a difficulty ranking that you must work towards in order to take on harder tasks. Online side-quests are played with your customized character and everything earned in the side-quest carries over to your single-player experience.
Online play allows for parties of up to four total participants to take on these objectives cooperatively – this is a nice element to the game that more RPGs should think of incorporating in its own way. Not only does it further the gameplay value of a title, but any game that gives you the chance to interact with other people while improving your offline experience as well is phenomenal in and of itself. There are other games out there that do this, but none at the level of Level-5.
This may sound repetitive, but it should be known that these side-quests do take place on the same style of map design as the offline edition of the game. So, it is subjected to the same maze-like qualities, however, it’s much easier to overlook as you play through the quests with friends than silently by yourself.
Visually, White Knight Chronicles isn’t anything special. It’s what you’d expect from a roleplaying game that is set in the timeframe that it is. It’s not on the same graphical level as a RPG like Mass Effect 2 or Demon’s Souls, but it’s most certainly not an eye sore like some RPGs have been this generation. The character detail differentiates enough from character to character to keep you interested and the atmosphere of the game is very well done. However, while cities and towns are a nice getaway with very little complaints, the environments in between are a tad repetitive and bland. Overall, the graphics on offer are very average and would score anywhere from 7 to 7.5 on a scale out of 10.
The audio aspects of WKC leave a lot to be desired. Despite a strong score that is pleasing to the ears, the voice acting is nothing shy of bad and while I understand a lot can be lost in the localization process, the fact that this game took over a year to localize should have resulted in much stronger voice dialogue than what it offers. Maybe this is just a pet peeve of mine, but it’s something I can’t overlook.
In the end, Level-5 has delivered a title that falls within the realm of a love/hate relationship. Like many niche games before it, there will be some gamers who absolutely love the game while others will dislike it for its simplicity of enemy AI and difficulty. However, Level-5 has a foundation in place that they can improve upon for White Knight Chronicles 2 that should appeal to a more significant amount of buyers. If you’re unsure or on the fence about this one, I suggest renting it first to see if it’s your cup of tea, otherwise there is a chance you may regret your full-priced purchase.