Friday, February 26, 2010

White Knight Chronicles - where was the beta testing?

I took a break from doing anything art-related last night, and instead spent a bunch of time playing White Knight Chronicles: International Edition (by Level 5 and Sony).

The game definitely has its flaws with the plot line, which makes me yell at the TV screen every hour or so for a good five to ten minutes per plot hole/cliche/super-fast exposition.  However, I usually just give it the MST3K treatment and move on.  I can accept bad and/or cheesy plotlines if the game play is good.  The voice acting is... uneven, but not cringe-inducing. Also, I love the random comments that are made by everyone when I'm running around a town/dungeon/battle/whatever.

The technical glitches that I've run into, however, make me want to cut someone.

Being limited by range when it comes to my attacks, but the enemy being able to hit me no matter where they are on the map?  Aggravating, but at least I knew about that one ahead of time, so I planned accordingly.

Having to run around and wait a few minutes to target an NPC to talk to them?  Time consuming, but not game breaking... unless it's an NPC in a timed quest.  Then panic starts to set in, and anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour of work can be shot to hell.

Having to run around and enter/exit game menus to try and get an NPC to become visible, as there's nothing except a floating nameplate in the air?  Not cool, especially if it's an NPC for the above-mentioned timed quest.

Having the controls lock up in the middle of a boss battle, where your only option is to hit the Triangle button to send a text to an online friend (if available and in-game), or R1 to defend?  Kind of game breaking for me. I couldn't even hit Select to try and change who I was controlling.  The only way to do anything was to RESET the game, and reload from my latest save.

Talking to an NPC and having their conversation text stop in the middle of a sentence (I made up an example to avoid spoilers: "Oh, hello, strange adventu")?  And they repeat that every single time you talk to them? I sure hope they don't have anything important to tell me, or I'm screwed.

Don't get me wrong - I like the combat a lot, when it's working (it reminds me of Final Fantasy XII, which I loved), the huge maps are gorgeous (and did I mention huge?), the character models are nice (if cartoony, and a little dated looking), and like I said - the plot doesn't bug me all that much (gives me fodder for mockage, if nothing else). 

Some of the glitches, though, make me want to just put the game down and never come back. Seeing as how I pre-ordered White Knight Chronicles, I'm pretty disappointed.  This game has been out for a while in Japan - why couldn't they tighten up the controls and the NPC appearance/disappearance issues, at least, before releasing it here?

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