Imagine an ordinary human able to transform into a huge monster and taking on monsters of unimaginable size. Sounds unique, right? (listens to laughter in the background) Well, that particular concept is anything but new, but Level 5 has twisted it slightly and altered it for a fantasy setting in White Knight Story, a PlayStation 3 title that is set for a New Year's Eve release in Japan. Despite the cliched premise, the game excels in its combat mechanics and especially its graphics, which are some of the best looking on any console so far.
the game excels in its combat mechanics and especially its graphics ..."
The demo itself focused on a fairly easy quest at the beginning of the game, where the party has to escort a convoy through a rolling field. Despite not being in Level 5's booth, the game had its own section in the massive Sony area, and seeing it played on HDTV really did justice to the detail of the environemnt. Combat mechanics were fairly simple, but players have the option of selecting up to seven commands as hotkeys to select during battle, and the party is controlled by AI. Transition in and out of battles is quite quick as well, aside from the leadup to boss battles.
Said boss battle was with a huge troll, and it was that battle where the main character became a Mighty Morphin' White Knight (minus the Mighty Morphin' part) to do battle. One disappointment was that the other characters didn't really participate in that boss battle, although it should be emphasized that this was an early quest, so it is possible elements of the story will change at a later date.
What to think of this title? Hard to say. We haven't seen much of any RPGs on the PlayStation 3 yet, so it is nice to see a few companies jump into the ring. The previous two PlayStation consoles have had an abysmal record as far as launch RPG titles go (Beyond the Beyond and Orphen: Scion of Sorcery come to mind), but from first glimpse White Knight Story hardly falls into that category. Excellent? Hard to say at this point. I'll reserve my judgement until we see more of the game, but it looks promising.