Marionette of Death
Black Knight Sword is a collaboration of two gaming companies, Hungarian studio Digital Reality and Japanese developer Grasshopper Manufacture. If you think two cultures this different will give you a very interesting game, well... you are right on with Black Knight Sword.
The game is a two-dimensional, side-scrolling drama puppet show. Yup, you play as a marionette, albeit a dark one, while you hack and slash your way through a weird world. The background slides in and out as you move across it, complete with birds on sticks and curtains on the side. Every character is a paper cutout, which gives the game a surreal quality.
This game is definitely not for kids. The "hero" of the game starts out as a hanged man who gets free, is resurrected, and once he picks up a blue glowing sword, becomes the Black Knight. As the Black Knight moves through the ever-changing scenery and comes across enemies, each strike against the enemy will splash blood everywhere. The enemies are just as weird as the scenery, with walking heads and bloated marionettes, and even one boss who appears to be another knight three times as big as the Black Knight. Once you cut away the armor, watching the blood that gushes out from the torso, you will reveal the true nature of the enemy, a giant withered head.
Some Black Knight Sword enemies will attack in unique ways. There are some that will fly into view, and fly out again if you don’t kill them, and others who attack as you attempt to jump across gaps, making you fall to the ground or your death depending on the circumstances. Defeating enemies will give you hearts, which are currency in this game. To find and enter the store, you must slash a very weird creature - a birdcage thing with legs. You can also find extra hearts in microwaves. Did I mention the game is weird?
Also, there's an odd character, who is attempting to help you through the game, narrating Black Knight Sword. With an overblown English accent, you might hear things like "And this is how you jump. Jump! Jump! Jump!". Although this may make you laugh, get nervous, and even mess up, after a while, it could become annoying. Hopefully it won't detract from the overall experience.
Black Knight Sword is a throwback to the 8-bit and 16-bit gaming days, but it looks much better. There are standard movements such as multi-directional sword slashes, jumping and double jumping, sending a spirit out to attack, and rotating boxes so you can jump onto them. These gameplay mechanics should help differenciate it from an old-school title and give it that additional edge it needs to engage modern gamers.
Releasing on February 28, 2012 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Black Knight Sword looks to be very different from other hack-and-slash games prior to it. However, only the release will tell if this Japanese and Hungarian collaboration will pay off.
I have been gaming since I was in high school, before it was acceptable for a girl to do it. I have been a writer for even longer. It's only natural the two would combine. I prefer RPGs, action/adventure, and strategy games, but I also play dancing, sports titles, and shooters.
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