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The Next Level In Gaming

Ah, what happened to the good old days? A sentiment echoed by pretty much every gamer at some point in their lives. Many gamers I have spoken yearn for simpler times, championing the return of beloved 2D platform titles such as Super Mario and Sonic. Others go back further, wishing to re-live the glory of their Space Invaders high scores or fondly remembering their efforts to escape Granny’s Garden in one piece. I however am from a different generation, for when I think back fondly and reminisce it is of my early days spent with Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon and my faithful PS1. Though it can sometimes seem impossible to recreate that happy feeling of days gone by, its always nice when a new title comes along which reminds you that despite the necessity of the gaming world to keep evolving, not everything from your childhood is lost. 

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Knack follows the story of a three foot tall hero, who thanks to the power of ancient Relics, can transform and grow to epic proportions. This is the latest creation to come from director Mark Cerny, a PS veteran whose impressive cv includes, but is not limited to, working on my childhood favourites Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon. Now I know that is sometimes too easy to get lost in nostalgia, but gameplay wise Knack takes me back to a happier time when jump attacks and dodge rolling were king. On his mission to save the world from the Goblins, Knack must run, jump, and smash his way through his HD fantasy world laying waste to his enemies as he goes. 

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Undoubtably Knacks most unique feature is his ability to smash found objects and attract the matter towards him, increasing his size and changing his appearance. Collecting matter increases not only his size, but also his strength often making once fearsome enemies seem insignificant as you progress. His ability to build and grow means that Knack can be involved in all sorts if combat, with the demo showcasing everything from close one on one battles to a Godzilla style rampages through the city taking out tanks and throwing cars at helicopters. Though this system revolves around constantly building up your power, taking damage will cause Knack to shake off matter reversing the process. This makes him less powerful and therefore more susceptible to further attacks. Take too many hits and Knack will shatter completely, taking you back to the last checkpoint to try again. 

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The type of materials you use to build your size also effects your attributes. For example when Knack is built primarily of wood, if he comes into contact with flames he will burn. Though your choice of materials is often limited by what can be found in each level, this is a nice touch which can have direct impact on the gameplay itself. The fact that Knack is built from his surroundings means that the character has endless potential to grow and evolve, a concept that I cannot help but think that this is a great starting point to build a next generation franchise around.

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Knack has a range of attacks which vary as per his size and strength. Basic attacks include a smash attack and a high energy spinning jump roll attack, both of which are reminiscent of our 90′s PS1 classics. Collecting hidden gems also allows you and unlock more powerful super attacks including a high impact shock wave attack, and super charged pulse attacks. Though these super attacks must be charged up by collecting gems, they are much more powerful than the standard attacks and can often take out multiple enemies at a time. Often the biggest gems can be found in hidden areas within each level, requiring Knack to smash through hidden walls or find secret rooms. These secret areas also contain other hidden items such as found parts, which combine to create items which give you added benefits and abilities such as health increases and more special attacks. 

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Set in a 3D cartoon fantasy world Knack combines combat with moving levels, conveyer belts and platform challenges to create a game not only fast and fun, but refreshingly child friendly. In a world dominated by realistic, often extremely violent games, it is encouraging to see a creative next gen franchise which has the potential to appeal to kids without being so pc its runs the risk of alienating them.

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Overall Knack was a lot of fun to play, and to me it is clear that Mark Cerny has not lost his magic touch when it comes to creating PS classics. 10 year old me would have loved this game. In fact, I’m pretty sure that 25 year old me would give it a damn good go too.

Until next time,

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Knack is due for release on the 29th November 2014 for PS4. pegi 7

Sony Computer Entertainment

Japan Studio

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GuitarGirl24 On October - 28 - 2013

One Response so far.

  1. greg-oq says:

    Like the look of this, this will make do over a lack of a new Jak & Daxter or even a Crash Bandicoot game on the PS4.

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