Black Knight Sword Hands-on - PAX 2011

By Alexander Bevier in Hands-on, PAX 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm
Black Knight Sword
was announced at Gamescom and it's one of those odd games that plays really well, but doesn't initially look like much. That's not to say "it's more than the sum of its parts", because it's a mostly routine sidescrolling action game, but there's a certain charm to it that I'm not sure how to feel about.

The game takes place on a stage in a theater, and that's the most captivating part of the experience. The entire thing looks like a classical Chinese puppet show. Curtains go up, they go down, the background moves alongside the camera. It creates an atmosphere that looks great, but I can't help but feel that the overall aesthetics looks like something from an old Devil May Cry.

But then the game's mechanics come in and make the game a lot of fun.
Black Knight Sword plays really well. Players have an attack, jump, magic, and grab button as they roam left and right for... something. I have no idea what the Black Knight is doing in this game. It starts off with a guy (who I think tried to hang himself), who picks up a sword, and becomes the Black Knight. 

Anyway, the game feels a lot like Viewtiful Joe, but I compare everything where jumping stops to use attacks to Viewtiful Joe. The game's sidescrolling aspects feel a lot like Joe in other ways, but not in any sense of style. Joe's visuals were unique, but the mechanics are very similar.

One of the best abilities in this game was actually taken from Zelda's Link, actually. In Smash Bros, the guy had a move where he can jump over enemies, and bounce on top of them with his sword. The Black Knight does it too, and it's a really fun mechanic. More games should have this.

The aesthetics, as I said before, feel like the PS2 Devil May Cry games on a puppet theater. It's not unique, but it still certainly looks really good. The enemies are well designed, and there's enough mystery in the game to drive players forward. The level design -- which allowed free, Metroidvania-esque -- movement, was well created and I had no problem figuring out where to go.

I'm not really sure what Black Knight Sword is about, but the game certainly is fun enough to play and has enough style to get noticed when the game comes out this winter. It's definitely worth checking out if you're panging for a good action title.

Finally, coins in this game are beating, bloody hearts. You should probably know about that.

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