A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that White Knight Chronicles is a fairly standard Japanese role-playing game that it features fantasy violence. There is no blood or gore, but players can have their characters slash and aggressively jab monsters with bladed weapons. Parents should also note that there is mild profanity (“hell,” “damn,” “bitch”), reference to alcohol (our hero works in a winery, but doesn’t drink), and a few light allusions to sex and romance (via words like “lovers”). Be aware that this game supports online play with text and voice communication. Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for pre-teens.
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What's it about?
If you’ve played many Japanese role-playing games before, you’ll likely recognize the plot of WHITE KNIGHT CHRONICLES right away. A sad princess who has gone silent for a decade after witnessing the death of her mother is kidnapped by malicious forces just as she is being formally introduced to the people of her kingdom. Players take control of a small band of heroes (including one completely customizable protagonist and another that can transform into a giant knight) that embarks on a mission to rescue her. The quest plays out as a series of smaller adventures that have you marching through complex dungeons, battling monsters, and slowly upgrading your heroes’ skills and gear. Outside the main quest, players can embark on bonus missions with their customized avatar, venturing alone or joining up with a handful of players online.
Is it any good?
White Knight Chronicles gets a lot of things right. The environments are beautiful and lush, and the combat that takes place within them is intuitive and fun. Plus, growing character abilities, learning new skills, and applying them in combat is a snap -- much easier than in many other Japanese role-playing games. And the concept behind online play is solid; it takes the massively multiplayer online role-playing game notion that questing with several friends can be fun and makes it an option should players grow tired of going it alone.
Unfortunately, it also gets a number of things wrong. Though entertaining at first, the combat eventually grows repetitive, in large part because few of your enemies put up much of a fight. There’s rarely a feeling of risk; mowing them down becomes monotonous. And the dungeons, while usually easy on the eyes, can prove too big, making finding your way out an exercise in frustration. Last, online play could have been better integrated. It feels tacked on, as though it has no bearing on the rest of the game. Pity, since it could have played a major role.
Online interaction: When playing online in groups of two to four, players can enter pre-set text messages, create their own text messages, or use voice chat to communicate with their human allies. This opens to the door to potentially unsuitable language and the sharing of personal information. Common Sense Media does not recommends online play for pre-teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about creating an avatar and having complete control over what he or she does in a virtual environment. Why do people enjoy doing this? Is it because they can make their avatar look however they like? Is it because it lets them do things that they wouldn’t in real life (such as fight or act more boldly in social situations)?
Families can also discuss the difference in online play in a game like this, where only a few players get together, versus what might be found in a game with many more players. For example, players with larger audiences and a greater sense of anonymity might be more prone to let loose strings of profanity or make inflammatory comments, but a smaller gathering could lead to more intimate discussions and potentially result in the sharing of personal information.