White Knight Chronicles II is a JRPG from developer Level 5, the company responsible for the likes of Dark Cloud, Dragon Quest 8, and the marvelous Rogue Galaxy. They are also responsible for the original White Knight Chronicles — a game which sounds much better on paper than when it is actually played.
So, White Knight Chronicles II should be a chance to correct all the mistakes and downfalls of the original, right? Sadly, it doesn't.
Events kick off shortly after the first game. If you've never played the original, you can be somewhat eased in by the long-winded recap, after which, you're sprung into battle as hero Leonard and his teammates, Yulie and Eldore, without so much as a whisper to the controls.
This proves frustrating, you are targeted by enemies, and my fumbling attempts to attack brought up the in-game chat menu. Once this is overcome, the RPG nature of "attack - wait - attack" becomes easier, although the combat system/menu seems awfully scattered.
Being a JRPG in vein of Final Fantasy, the cinematics should be top dollar, oozing with theatrical climaxes. White Knight Chronicles II is, unfortunately, without these traits. Blighted by clunky dialogue, wholly underwhelming writing and direction, and with bland and uninspiring characters, White Knight Chronicles II quickly becomes dire and stale. The world you travel is monotone and lacking in energy, resulting in easy battles between you and every single place you want to go—which isn't far, as alternative routes are magically sealed off. Magically as in huge blue walls that won't disappear until you're allowed to pass.
Battles are a sluggish and long affair in which you assign nearly identical skills to three hotbars and click on them to activate them once a timing circle has built up. It doesn't feel at all strategic, and as the enemies are sparsely varied, you never have to be.