Knack II is an Action Adventure game, developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio, that mixes brawler and platforming game play into a fantastic couch co-op experience suitable for young and old. Knack is a intelligent humanoid organism that is made up of small relics that allow him to change his size. I have not played the original Knack, so when I first heard that Knack II was in development it didn’t really interest me. I then saw game play footage and heard that it had couch co-op and I was sold on the idea of playing it. Now that I have had the chance to play I am very glad that I did. I played the whole game in Co-op mode with my son Odin.
Knack II is a direct sequel to the first installment and from what I can tell has a lot of the same cast. Having not played the first game I did not feel at a disadvantage as the story of Knack II was stand alone. However, it does add to the original world of Knack with more in depth history being added to the lore of the in game world. This is done through the sub characters explaining historical events that are long forgotten by the major populous of this world. Part one of the series was referred to but I felt it was done well, for example in one of the chapters Knack has to break into a museum. Upon successfully navigating the security systems we find an exhibit in commemoration for the accomplishments achieved in the first game. I like this call back as it makes sense in the world we are playing in and adds more contexts for new players (such as myself) and a nice reminder of the adventures of the first game for those who have played it.
The story was cliché and predictable but was still fun and exciting all the same. Even though it is Knack who is the player Character, it is his friend Lucas who is the protagonist of this story. Things kick off with a large battle taking place in Newhaven, the capital of this world. While watching Knack fight large robot enemies, Lucas states he is to blame for this attack. The game then switches to 6 months in the past where the Journey began and we learn why Newhaven is under attack and who is behind it all. Again the story is simple but it was clear and had enough twists and turns to it to keep things interesting. Although, we did pick the bad guy pretty early on. The voice acting is very well done and is up there with some the best voice acting I have seen in gaming.
Although the story was passable and enjoyable, it is the gameplay that was the main drive for me and at its core, Knack II is a brawler. In between the combat sections, the platforming and the environments were just as fun. One of Knack II’s strong points is how the levels played with Knacks size as part of the puzzle and level design in each chapter. It never got old going from a 30 foot tall king kong Knack, down to a tiny 2 foot Knack to slip through a small gap in a wall. The knack particle effect was very cool. Leaving knack’s relic mass behind was always visually fun, although it sometimes made it hard to see where little knack was. I felt this helped with the pacing of the game as things were always changing. One minute, we were stomping through streets blasting enemies aside with ease, then the balance of power would shift by losing Knacks mass thus making combat harder and forcing us to play smarter to get through difficult combat situations.
The combat was also enhanced with the addition of elemental Knack. At different points of the game and as suited to the level, the player is given ice, metal or crystal parts additional to the standard relics. These sections of the game where great, but I would of liked to of seen more done with the elements and even a few more Knack types in the game.
The game looks and plays out like a mix between between Uncharted and a Lego game, with a dash of God of War combat. Co-op mini game with the quick time events was a nice touch and added to the fun Odin and I had with the game.
Overall I really enjoyed my time with Knack II and I think it is one of the best co-op experiences I have had in a while. I can safely recommend this game to any parents who are looking for a game to play with their kids. That said I also think its worth playing for any game enthusiast. Although many, including myself, thought Knack II was a sequel that didn't need to be made. I am very glad that Japan Studio saw potential and made the game they wanted to make. Now, I am keen to see what they do next with Knack. Enough from me, I am sure you are more interested to read what Odin thinks of the game.
The game is great!
I like that you can turn into a tiny Knack. He is very cute when he is small and a little scary when Knack is big. I disliked the end boss, because its' attacks were hard to dodge and did lots of damage, so I died a lot. My favorite enemy are robots with blades, because they will slice and dice you, with their spin attack. Also, their blue armor is awesome. I want one to guard my room. The best part of the game was when we got to pilot the Titan.
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