White Knight Chronicles 2, the latest exclusive role-playing game for the PlayStation 3, requires North American players to redeem an online pass to use the game’s biggest features.
The online pass in White Knight Chronicles 2 is called the “GeoNet License.” Without the online pass the game is only playable offline. Players can’t join the GeoNet online world, where up to six players can complete quests together.
They also can’t create an Adventure Log that details their missions with others or post on the in-game discussion board. The online pass gives the ability to build a HomeTown in the Georama system, where players can increase their character’s level and stats by fostering a community of residents. The residents and buildings in the HomeTown can earn a player high-level items, stronger weapons and better equipment.
These features are arguably the selling points of the White Knight franchise. There’s also several Trophies that are almost impossible to earn without joining other players online.
All new copies of the game include the one-time voucher code on the back of the instruction manual. For those that buy the game used or rent it, the GeoNet License is available to download on the PlayStation Network Store for $9.99. An online pass was also required for the Japanese and European releases.
The online pass has been used by several different publishers like Electronic Arts to stop the sale of used games. Besides punishing used buyers, new purchasers also are negatively affected by White Knight 2′s online pass. Unlike another PS3 exclusive Resistance 3, the GeoNet License is restricted to the PlayStation Network account its redeemed on. Resistance 3 allows its Online Pass to work for all PSN accounts on the console.
Ross Alexander, European product manager for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, confirmed in June that the GeoNet License is locked to one PSN account. Other players that use the same system to play White Knight 2 are forced to buy their own License to take their character online and experience the full game.
White Knight Chronicles 2 released Sept. 13 in North America exclusively for the PS3. The game was developed by Level-5, the team responsible for Rogue Galaxy and the Dark Cloud series on the PlayStation 2. White Knight 2 blends traditional JRPG elements with an MMO experience. North American and European players are connected on the same server.
White Knight Chronicles 2 originally released in Japan in July 2010. It was released across Europe this summer. Sony Computer Entertainment published the game in those regions, but wasn’t going to bring it to American audiences. D3Publisher announced in April it would distribute the game in North America. D3Publisher is a subsidiary of the Japanese company Namco Bandai Holdings Inc.
White Knight 2 comes with a remastered version of the first game, White Knight Chronicles: International Edition, which released in February 2010. The remastered version features the gameplay improvements from White Knight 2. Players can import their created character from International Edition and use them in the second installment. However they can only import their character if they have a saved data marked, “Clear Data.” The remastered version doesn’t include the Trophy set from the original release.
Players also need the GeoNet License to go online with the International Edition. The game didn’t have this restriction when White Knight Chronicles first released.
Some players are even having difficulty redeeming the GeoNet License. An error message appears after imputing the voucher that says the code wasn’t redeemed and registration failed. To access the online modes after the error displays, D3Publisher recommends players restart their PS3 and start the game again. After doing so the GeoNet world will be available.
The game’s online mode is region locked. American players can only redeem their GeoNet License from the U.S. PlayStation Store on a U.S. PSN account. The same goes for European gamers. Players who use an Asian PSN account can’t access the online modes with an American or European copy of the game. A GeoNet pass for the English versions of White Knight Chronicles 2 can’t be downloaded from the Asian PSN Store.
This also affects people’s ability to use their save data of White Knight Chronicles and its sequel from a different account to play online with the PSN account the GeoNet License is redeemed under.
A White Knight 2 player is urging others to petition D3Publisher to fix the account restriction and region locking problems. The customer emailed D3Publisher asking for the removal of the GeoNet pass limitations. The company responded and said that if it received enough complaints, the GeoNet License might be adjusted by its production and development team.
White Knight Chronicles 2 retails for $59.99.
Watch this footage to see what White Knight Chronicles 2 is all about:
Photo by D3Publisher