“This is for the players”; the phrase used to establish the path that Sony have taken to launch the PS4, claiming it to be a console purely for gamers as opposed to the XBOX One which is seen as an all-in-one entertainment system. It is safe to say that this marketing campaign for the PS4 has been a massive hit with almost everywhere sold out of stock and people on waiting lists for the consoles with ETA’s of consoles that stretch back as far as Easter. So from that you’d expect the launch titles to be as great as all the hype has been for the PS4, especially the exclusive titles which you’d expect to make full use of all the PS4’s new features. Unfortunately though some of the exclusive launch titles have fallen way short of the huge expectations that surrounded them, making the image Sony portrays to be more of dream than a reality of a gamers heaven. So will Knack be one of these exclusive titles that have fallen short of the hype, or have Japan Studios done just what the PS4 needs to help prove the PS4 really is all about the gamer?
So what can we expect from Knack? Well go back to the games of old that you’d have played on the original PlayStation and it is the kind of family-friendly action platformer that we saw with the likes of Croc and Spyro the Dragon that everyone could enjoy. This time however it isn’t a brave little crocodile or a fiery purple dragon that saves the day, it’s a hard to describe 3ft creation powered by ancient relics whose mission it is to help save the world. From what I hear you ask? Well, there is a war being waged between the human and goblin populations, a war that has gone on for far too long, with the lives of innocent people needlessly being taken. During a meeting a professor urges the war council to try a new tactic to turn the tides of war which comes in the form of Knack, who with the power of ancient relics can become a war machine capable of unimaginable strength, but which with it’s unknown powers could also risk the fate of world.
So far so good right? Well I bet you’re wondering what amazing new features of the PS4 this game utilizes. Well only the one really, improved graphics. I mean we all knew this would be coming as graphics improve with each new generation of console but in all fairness it’s not that much of an improvement when it comes to animated games, only for games that aim to feel more realistic like Killzone where the detail becomes so intense you’d believe you were there. I mean don’t get me wrong Knack does look fantastic, the characters and environments are very detailed but it’s a cartoony game so it doesn’t make full use of the new powerful graphics available. Cut scenes do look good to, almost as if you were watching a kids TV show or film but would this alone make the game worthwhile buying? No it wouldn’t so it’s quite disappointing when the PS4 boasts so many new features available to make it the ultimate gaming console.
One feature the game does have which is quite cool takes a leap out of games like GTA V which have mobile apps that link to the games, allowing you to complete tasks away from your console and expand your gaming experience into the wider world. Like with GTA V with the way you can unlock new things such as Dog Tricks and Collars, with the KnackQuest mobile app you will be able to unlock gadget parts and crystal relics which can be transferred into your game. You can then use these items to help enhance your gameplay experience by unlocking new powers. It’s a clever idea when you think about how many people around the world have smartphones now, as it allows people to connect to their games even when they’re away from their console whether it be on the bus from work, while walking the dog or sitting in an airport waiting for your plane to take you on your holidays.
What else is nice about the game is that unlike some of the classic family-friendly action platformer games, Knack allows for co-op gameplay. Friends can pop in or drop out at any time to allow for you play alone or cooperatively without the usual hassle that some games come with. This enhances the enjoyment from gameplay as you can play with friends but unlike some co-op games where the game gets more difficult the more people that play it, I never really felt like this when playing co-op mode on Knack, it just kind of made the game easier having two people there to smash the enemy.
However I wouldn’t say it is the greatest game in the world and definitely a let-down in terms of it being a launch title because I was expecting so much more. Maybe my expectations were just too high, but from the exclusives I have played on my XBOX ONE and PS4, the XBOX ONE games seem to be a lot better in terms of how they’re built and how they have utilized their consoles new features. But the fact Knack doesn’t fully utilize all of the PS4’s new features available to it isn’t my only negative, the story too is nothing more than ok at best, I was hoping for something more gripping and truly spectacular when you think how long developers have had to prep for this console.I do however have some positives to take from Knack, it has rekindled my love for the classic action platformer like Croc and Spyro, I have missed going around smashing enemies in such a simple manner. I also enjoyed the integrated mobile app with the game giving gamers an extended platform to continue their gaming experience on.
So overall, if you’re buying Knack for the kids while you get yourself something a little more grown up I’d say it’s something they’d really enjoy. If you buy it for yourself then it is a nice game to get which you can use to fill your spare time when you’re bored or if want to vent out some anger on goblins and robots. But Knack isn’t worth going out to buy a PS4 for.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.