PSP Review: White Knight Chronicles: Origins

Can this white knight shine on the PSP?

White Knight Chronicles is a series that hasn’t lived upto expectations; its sequel kept a lot of elements the same and was a letdown. For the first time, it heads to PSP…but does it have what it takes to redeem its mistakes?

White Knight Chronicles: Origins is set 10,000 years before the original game…so they’ve given enough room to cram in multiple games in between. 10,000 years before the original PS3 game takes place, there was a period of strife known as the Dogma Wars. This struggle is between the Yshrenian Empire who are harnessing the power of the Knights in a bid to conquer the world, and the Athwani Mage Kingdom who are trying to stop them. These events would shape history to come in the White Knight Chronicles saga, and White Knight Chronicles: Origins tells the story of the unsung heroes who lived through this period of unrest, only to be forgotten in the annals of time.

It’s a much better story than that of the console versions, but its still isn’t the most engaging plot out there. All the basic elements from the other games return in this portable edition, which oddly has no plans for a US release at the time of writing. So, the combat still suffers from the same problems as its console brethren. But it’s does have the nice addition of letting you play online with upto 3 friends as you help each other out and trade avatars.

It’s a lengthy game that RPG nuts will like, although those who disliked previous encounters with the series will find no respite here. All the things that drove you mad are still intact, but since it came out around the same time as WKC II, it’s hardly surprising that it follows the same pattern. Also it seems to have taken a long time to localize as it originally came out in Japan all the way back in February this year. I guess the series hasn’t done that well in the States, that’s the only reason I can think of that they have no plans to bring Origins there at the moment. It’s a weird decision that I hope Sony will shed some light on in the near future. What is even more surprising is the complete lack of information about the game on the internet; I even had to search high and low just to find some screenshots.

You’ll accept quests and even be given time limits to complete them, which I’m not a huge fan of. It has your typical RPG elements but sadly they feel dated by today’s standards, which is a shame as I was more than prepared to eat my words with Origins, but just like its predecessors…it’s still lacking behind its rivals. The game opens up with a nice cutscene, but the game itself is average looking for your PSP game and it has quite long load times, not to mention a ton of text to get through. The game would have been helped with a more engaging plot, but not by much due to the dated nature of the gameplay.

The Verdict

White Knight Chronicles: Origins is another wasted opportunity for the series. It just never manages to capture the essence of truly great RPG, it has a poor story, dated mechanics and the only redeeming feature is to play it online with friends. If you are desperate for a new RPG then give it a try, but only if you can look past it’s flaws…