"Repetitive but Hopeful"
Knights Contract has mostly been torn apart by the games media. I’m not all that surprised to find it so, but I am certainly surprised that I liked this game much more than I expected. Fans of the action hack-n-slash gameplay in God of War, Darksiders, and Devil May Cry should feel at home with this Game Republic-developed title.
At its core, Knights Contract is just like the aforementioned games. It doesn’t necessarily add anything new to the formula, but it does have an enticing story. Full of gore, eerie nudity (some bosses just look weird), and intense violence, this is obviously made to appeal to a mature audience. You won’t really feel attachment to characters Heinrich and Gretchen, but you don’t have to, as over-the-top action sequences will populate much of the gameplay experience.
- Gretchen definitely weighs as much as a duck! -
The story in Knights Contract is actually interesting. Witches resurrected themselves to enact revenge on the humans who had wrongfully accused and executed them for spreading the Black Plague. Gretchen, a witch herself, looks to save humanity and, ironically, enlists the aid of the knight who had performed her execution long ago. Obviously enough, that knight is Heinrich. Heinrich has been doomed to a life of immortality – a resulting curse and consequence of Gretchen’s execution. Gretchen asks for his aid in vanquishing the vengeful witches, and in return she pledges to undo his curse (or gift to some, I suppose) of immortality. Heinrich agrees and is then bound to a contract with the witch – hence the name Knights Contract.
In truth, Knights Contract reminded me of Enslaved from the get-go – although it lacked a similar charm. Gretchen’s well-being is solely dependent on you, Heinrich. If you fall during battle, maniacally mashing the A button will resurrect you and allow you to protect Gretchen, who is clearly terrible at protecting herself. For the most part, combat is composed of as much button-mashing as in any other action game, but you’ve also got Gretchen’s spells to help you. Those spells are activated by holding down the right trigger and pressing the appropriate spell-mapped face button. At first, it may seem as if spells are simply there to give you something besides your regular combos to work with. But, that’s a deceptive way of looking at the combat system, which actually fares pretty well against enemies when you’ve figured out which spell is best suited for a particular enemy type. You can also go into a mode much like Dante's Inferno’s Sparda mode, where Heinrich will turn into a demonic character possessing extraordinary power. Yet again, this is a convention that feels borrowed from another game. Boss battles also make room for contention: some are too easy and some ridiculously tough. Most boss battles will require you to recognize a pattern and participate in some good old-fashioned quick-time presses.
- Heinrich and Gretchen are used in concert to deal with the waves of monsters -
What is so unfortunate about Knights Contract is that it seems promising but delivers minimally. Combat will become excruciatingly repetitive throughout the 20 episodes unless you are a huge fan of button-mashing. There isn’t much else to hold your attention; you can collect “Lost Pages” and work on upgrading your spells, but Knights Contract is mostly a stage-by-stage game.
I will praise its music and art design, however. Though it may not have incredible graphics, Knights Contract by no means looks bad; it just becomes devastatingly frustrating at times as the camera is clearly not your friend.
So, essentially, Knights Contract compiles borrowed themes and relatively plain mechanics with a story that had the potential to be much, much more. It’s certainly not a bad game, but it has come out at a time where competition is fierce and there are far better games of its kind.
GameDynamo's Score for Knights Contract (PS3)
[View Knights Contract images / screenshots +]
[Watch Knights Contract videos / trailers +]
[View more Knights Contract articles (news, previews, reviews) +]
[View Knights Contract cheats / guides +]
More from GameDynamo