Friday, October 13, 2017

Don't look, just play

There is no denying that Knack 2 is a significant upgrade from the first game. It looks better, making good use of the PS4 Pro. It plays better, giving Knack more abilities to deal with the spikes in combat difficulty that are still present and honestly expected. But is this enough to pull the game up from 'yeah, I played it because I play everything' to 'I am honestly enjoying this in a non-ironic sense'?

Almost. Almost.

When I am playing Knack, just playing it, not paying attention to the characters, story, voice acting, etc, it is almost a good game. The platforming is simple but accurate (enough). The new leveling system makes sense and rewards the player for not taking hits and keeping the shield at full strength. There are enough new moves in combat to keep it fresh and they arrive at reasonable intervals. The first was a power hit that breaks shields and just as I began to think 'this is nice but those archer bastards are always too far away to hit' the game gave Knack the ability to stretch out an arm and grab enemies, pull them in, and then pound on them until they die.

But then someone talks and when someone talks it is unbearable. All of the human characters are dick heads, either yelling at each other or treating Knack as if he were a small child. This might make sense when he is in his smallest state but patronizing a 20 foot beast does not sound like a good idea. Knack just takes it because, since his creation, it is all he has known. If I were smarter I could draw parallels between Knack's treatment and indentured servitude, how his position as property makes me vaguely uncomfortable, but I am not that smart and this is just a family friendly game with surprisingly punishing combat.

Knack is not an allegory for anything, it is just tone deaf to everything.

So is it better? Absolutely. Am I having fun with it? Yes, but this is a tepid yes. I enjoy 3D platformers and they are coming around less and less often. Thankfully this is not a collectathon (I am looking at you, Yooka Laylee), just a romp through colorful, 4K(ish) environments interrupted by punching and getting punched by robots, goblins and robot goblins. I just wish that I didn't hate all of the characters.

No comments:

Post a Comment