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Knack 2 PlayStation 4 Review

The first Knack never grabbed me, honestly. You know those games where everything is fine, nothing is particularly wrong with it, yet it never quite grabs you? For me, that was Knack. Now, Knack 2 has come along and from the moment it opens, to my second play through, this time cooperatively, I’m captivated with this game in a way I never was with part one. Knack 2, is just so much fun it’s ridiculous?

From the outset you’d be forgiven thinking Knack 2 was a weird, kids superhero game, and quite frankly it kind of is. From the introduction where you smash through a city, fighting and bashing the robot hordes in single or double player in a linear fashion, to Island Jungles where you’ll torment and trash goblin warriors, to Asian temples where you’ll beat and bash Kung Fu warriors, Knack 2 is a roller coaster ride of fun that only gets better if you’ve got a friend to revel in the joy. It’s not the most original game, in fact in most places it’s downright derivative, yet like a good cook, it takes ingredients used in a thousand recipes beforehand and whips up something unoriginal yet wholly satisfying, that manages to tickle that sweet spot of adventure, action and family based fun.

Controls:

Knacks controls are easily one of the smoothest I’ve played in a long time. Everything is responsive, nothing is overly complex, everything feels intuitive. Left stick to move, right stick to dodge, L1 to block, various buttons to punch, kick/heavy punch, jump, throw and whatnot. Knacks camera is fixed, resulting in a great feel as the camera swoops, twists and changes while you run through each location fighting enemies. Sometimes the camera can get a bit irritating, not giving you the angle you want or need, but by and large the preset angles are smartly placed, allowing you the wider view of your area required for your progress.

When push comes to shove, Knack 2 delivers in its controls, with everything running smoothly, combat feeling fluid, motion feeling appropriate whether playing as behemoth Knack or tiny Knack (yes, you can change sizes!) I guess the only downside to the game at this point may be that occasionally, it may feel some deaths are a little cheap, occurring at points in the game that feel

Gameplay:

Gameplay is quite fun in single player, a solid beat-em up, Knack 2 delivers a linear experience with some smatterings of puzzles dipped in here and there, but never anything that will overly perplex you and stop you progressing more than say, five minutes even for the hardest of puzzles.

Throw in the ability to play two player, with the best kind of two player, drop-in-drop-out co-op, and you have a game with real lasting appeal. Knack 2 really is a vast improvement over the first game, which while it still had this option, given its more fluid combat, less reliance on obscure puzzles and far superior level layout, enhances the gameplay experience for the player across the board.

The feeling of progression in Knack 2 is great, as you watch your ‘Knack’ physically grow through the levels, keeping track of its size via a height meter. Collect shards to increase its mass, it grows in height and power. Get armour? You get new functions such as the ‘whip punch’ for example. Can’t get in somewhere? Shed your armour and size to become tiny-Knack and run through areas you couldn’t get to before. Have to fight a giant boss and want to be fancy? Duck his punch by becoming tiny-Knack, switch back to big-Knack and smack the hell out of him in a split second. It’s visually pretty damn impressive.

Now the best part, I mentioned before it’s family friendly, it definitely is. All violence is done in a cute, appealing manner. No blood, no ‘death’, just bad guys falling over and disappearing. Knack 2 plays out like a Saturday morning cartoon and the kids will love it. Hell, the adults will love it. Boot it up, play it with the kids and I swear, you’ll all have fun.

Graphics:

Knack doesn’t have the highest quality of textures, I know I critiqued games in prior reviews for this, but take into account stylization and consistency and Knack 2 pretty much nails its visual style. It’s not the most visually stunning game, but it wants to look like a live action comic book, in this area, it mostly succeeds, however there are certain areas where textures do look a little unfinished, however these areas are minor, infrequent and do not affect the final product wholly. The humans cartoon design, Knacks simple, geometrical appearance, the enemies varied styles, it all comes together in a mish mash of primary, bright colours. This game never strives for an air of verisimilitude with its graphics, it never tries to appear real, it never aims above its weight. This is a case of Knack knowing its target audience wants an easy, colourful, attractive visual style. In this area, Knack 2 succeeds and then some. The framerate is generally consistent, with an option to select 30fps or uncapped, the action does slow slightly on uncapped time to time, but

Sound:

I quite liked Knacks sound to be honest. The voice acting won’t win any awards, being on par with your average Saturday morning cartoon (do they still have those???) However Knack himself doesn’t talk a lot. When Knack does, it feels unusual and jarring, as Knack speaks with a ‘normal’ human voice instead of a slightly modified one, that one might expect from a monstrous looking figure. I can’t help but feeling, personally, Knack would’ve worked better as a voiceless hero in this game, that’s just my opinion. General sounds in the game are impressive, with thuds when punching, explosions aplenty around you, each individual character type having their own attack sounds, Knack 2 revels in a variety of

The music is very well done, with an orchestral score playing over segments, especially the beginning when Knack attempts to save a city from a mysterious invading robot horde. Later, the music changes to give a slightly calmer feel when in the jungle, ratcheting up when action occurs. This is a repeated pattern, with the music being a rather generic ‘action score’, yet still fitting the game nicely. Overall, the music in Knack 2 is one of its stronger aspects, which while a tad generic, is still very impressive.

Value:

Single and multiplayer options, secrets galore, quite a lengthy story campaign to get through, multiple difficulty levels and achievements, Knack 2 is good value. Plus, keeping in line with a lot of recent releases, it comes in at the gorgeous price of $54.95 brand new RRP. There’s a lot of value to be had here, especially for this price.

Conclusion:

You won’t go wrong picking up Knack 2, a family friendly brawler you can play with kids or adults, this game has a lot to offer. Great graphics, excellent sound, lots of replay value, I can think of far worse game purchases. Always remember, just because it isn’t part of a AAA franchise doesn’t mean it isn’t worth checking out, give it a try and I promise, you’ll have a cracker of a time.

Pro’s:

  • Good graphics
  • Excellent use of sound
  • Great controls
  • Fun feel to the game
  • Intuitive controls
  • Multiplayer is a blast
  • Good family game for all ages

Cons:

  • Some deaths can feel a little cheap
  • Some textures look a little unfinished at times

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