December 4th, 2013 at 7:51 pm
|Tagged With: 3D Platformer, Cerny, Console Hub, exclusive, Japan Studio, Knack, Mark Cerny, next gen, online, Platform, Platformer, playstation, playstation 4, Playstation 4 Launch Reviews, ps store, PS4, ps4 exclusive, ps4 launch, psn, Recommended, review, scea, SCEE, SCEJ, sony, Sony Japan|
Knack is a Playstation 4 launch title developed by Sony’s Japan Studio and directed by the PS4 system architect himself, Mark Cerny. As you may have seen, many reviewers have given it mediocre scores and have labelled it average, apart from a small minority. I will be one to fit in that minority of people who enjoyed the game a lot. Read on for my thoughts on this PS4 launch title, and why I think it deserves to be played.
The thing about Knack is, it brings back the charm and fun of classic 3D platform games. This game has deep roots in classic platforming and is a testament to games like Crash Bandicoot, Ratchet and Clank and Spyro, to name a few. It also, in my opinion, looks gorgeous (despite lacking realism) and has great voice acting and sound elements. Many people feel the gameplay is rather simple and repetitive, however, that is what classic platformers offered back in the day, and this does not harm the fun whatsoever.
I will admit, thus far, Knack is the game I have spent THE MOST time playing on my Playstation 4. I just have found that the game offers non-stop fun and I keep going back for more. I have not played a huge amount of other titles, because I have been so engrossed in Knack! I’ve been taking my time with the title, and have sunk in around 14-16 hours, but the game can be completed in less time than this if you don’t look for secrets.
In terms of plot, the game focuses around an attack against the humans by a goblin race, with a side plot of a billionaire who has a thing or two against Knack. He wants Knack demolished, and is in constant work in trying to discover the secret behind the ancient ‘relics’ which Knack uses for body parts. His company is based around the mining of these relics.
I personally feel the game has a great story. Some feel it is a little boring and not a lot happens, but I think the story is very enjoyable and is light on confusing plot points. It is simple, but very effective and I enjoyed it a lot. The characters develop well throughout the story and I was charmed by their personalities and have enjoyed experiencing the story with them.
Knack is one of the most difficult games I have played in a while. The combat elements, which are central to the entire game, can be very challenging; so expect to die a number of times. This is synonymous with the classic genre of platform games, and I really enjoyed the return to the original style of platforming. The camera in the game is fixed, but in a very impressive feat, the development team have managed to get this element perfect, with the camera ALWAYS being in an appropriate place.
Graphically, it isn’t what you would call a revolutionary title in terms of realism, but the art style is lovely. The textures and lighting engines work to make the game look very polished, and every level and environment in the game is perfectly designed. I personally love the art style, which moves away from realism towards an appearance similar to animation. It is a nice, fresh break from the other games on the PS4 at launch.
The voice acting, I loved. I think Knack has a very suitable voice, while the other characters are all voiced well, each offering some unique charm. Controls are simple, with the left analogue being devoted to movement, the right analogue to dodge, square to attack, and three combinations for special attacks (eg. whirlwind). This challenges you with trying to use the limited moveset to take down the, at times, very difficult enemies. Three difficulty levels are available to choose from, but you should still expect to be challenged considerably on even the lowest setting. You will die regularly on the normal and hard.
In terms of replay value, you can collect various special crystal relics throughout the game in order to form special versions of Knack to replay the game with; such as Vampire Knack and Diamond Knack. I had so much fun with the game that it won’t faze me to play it again, once I get through my other next gen games!
Overall, Knack is a unique title. We don’t get platformers crafted with this level of charm and nostalgia often anymore. It might not be the best game to show off the PS4’s power, but it is one of the most fun games available on the platform. I feel the game is very impressive for a new IP, and I was able to connect with the game and its characters very quickly. Cerny has created something special, and something which has brought 3D platforming back to its simple, but extremely fun roots. I deeply enjoyed the game, and I highly recommend PS4 owners try it, especially if you are a fan of platformers.