Co-Optimus - Review - Beyond Co-Op Reviews - April 2011

Beyond Co-Op Reviews - April 2011 - Page 5

Publisher: Namco-Bandai
Developer: Namco-Bandai
MSRP: $59.99
by: Sam "Samoza" Tyler

Do you remember that co-op game with the Knight and the Witch, it was cool. One of you played a tank like character that could use an assortment of melee attacks and combos, whilst the other acted as a ranged character firing off magic spells to aid you co-op pal. Hold on, what do you mean that the game was not co-op?

Are you trying to tell me that Namco Bandai would be willing to publish a game that was essentially one long repetitive escort mission? Welcome to the world of Knights Contract, one of the least pleasurable experience I have had with my 360 (this includes the time I caught my tongue in the disc drive).

In recent years the hack ‘n’ slash genre has moved on from the glorious three button mashing of Goldenaxe, and entered the realms of ballet with blades. The later Devil May Cries and Bayonetta allow for beginners to pull off some good looking moves, whilst those that choose to master the controls can pull off some awesome combos. In comparison, Knights Contract looks and feels like it has been taken from the early Playstation 2 era and given a quick High Definition shine. I’m happy with flat textures from updated games such as Beyond Good and Evil, but in a full price game this is unacceptable. Although the main models of Heinrich and Gretchen look decent, the enemies look so ugly that if they fell out of the ugly tree even the branches would refuse to touch them.

Graphical prowess has never been the be all and end all of a game, so Knights Contract may prosper elsewhere. When I say that the graphics are probably one of the better elements, alarm bells should ring. The gameplay is too simplified to be fun for more than 30 minutes, and the game seems to last a lot longer than that as you wade through yet-another-set-of-enemies. The level design is confused with maps that appear expansive at first, but are dominated by invisible walls or suspiciously placed piles of rubble. When you do inevitably find a dead end you can easily become disorientated; on more than one occasion I managed to backtrack to the very start of a level by accident.

To top off what is already a distinctly average-at-best experience, the game has some borderline broken bosses. When the bosses actually work, they are of a scale that is impressive and feature amongst the highlights of the game. However, at least one boss is in possession of what I like to call, “Cheapy McCheapies’ Cheap Move.” This is the classic 1990s boss tactic of having one move that kills a player with a single blow. If you are a person that likes a slightly unfair challenge or who wishes to experience the feel of gaming in yesteryear, this may be acceptable. However, I believe in a bit of fair play, and some of these bosses are just not playing cricket!

With the likes of Castlevania, Enslaved and Assassins Creed: Brotherhood, all available cheaper, there are so many other games out there that you should consider before scraping the very bottom of the gaming barrel with Knights Contract.


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