Knack 2 is a mixed bag to say the least. The combat has never been better with a robust moveset and an upgrade system that matters. The platforming achievements have a lot of variety as well. But even with the improvements made from the predecessor, Knack, Knack 2 could still be better. 

Knack 2 begins with the distraught city of Newhaven — robots and goblins have littered the streets with no real explanation as to why. It’s up to the player to figure out what led to this moment. It feels like the suspense built up from the beginning is brought down to a low simmer compared to the rest of what the game has to offer because it takes so long to find out the answer. The characters don’t help the story either. Knack has no personality. Lucas, Knack’s companion, has dialogue that doesn’t push the story at all. For example, when a bridge has been cut down he’ll say, “The bridge has been destroyed.” Knack doesn’t say much of anything. His motivations have no backbone to them which makes the player feel like they aren’t connected to the character. The few instances the game tries to become sincere and have emotion it falls flat because of the track record before it. There could be a great story if there was consistency with the characters from beginning to end of all of the titles. 

Knack 2 makes up it’s boring story with its immersive gameplay and platforming. Knack’s abilities have been drastically changed. Instead of just the basic punch, kick and ground pounding, Knack can do much more and the player can unlock his abilities by playing through the story. He faces new enemies which have to be defeated by his new attacks. This expansion of moves means the flow of combat is drastically important to how the player defeats enemies — they must switch up their style to conquer the wide array of foes.

The game platforming has been drastically improved by having new additions not seen in the previous installment. The smartest addition was using Knack’s changing-size ability to influence the gameplay. There are times that the player has to shrink Knack to get through a tight area and vice versa. It shapes the platforming in ways not seen in traditional 3D platformers. Instead of just jumping from one platforming to the next, the player must be constantly engaged.

Knack 2 is a testament of the problems surrounding 3D platformers of today's age — the struggle of developers to create a meaningful storyline while having immersive combat and platforming. It’s difficult to find the right balance, which leads to the mess that is Knack 2’s story. If only the story wasn’t an eye sore, this would have been a great game for the genre. It has made improvements from the original, but there are still areas to be worked out in the possible future installments.  

SCORE: 3.5/5

@ritchey_grant  

gr619615@ohio.edu 

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