I knew what to anticipate when I went to watch Black Knight Sword: the crazy notions and abstraction for which Suda51, the leader of Grasshopper Manufacture, is famous. I discovered all of this, but the outcome of the collaboration between the Japanese and the Hungarian Digital Reality is both sweet and unpleasant. The gameplay is repetitive, and some answers are perplexing.
In a faraway world, all is not well. A princess has been abducted and, STOP! It’s not about that this time. The princess is the personification of evil, and she must be dealt with. The titular Black Knight draws his sword and embarks on a perilous voyage to the right side of the screen, which we see from a 2D viewpoint. There will be a lot of leaping and chopping up adversaries. A tiny theater is used to tell the narrative. The stage and curtain are always visible on the screen, and shadows of the crowd show during loading screens. The most obvious feature of Black Knight Sword is its excellent graphic design. The water waves are impaled on rods, and you can tell that they were moved; the actors appear to be puppets, and the set pieces alter and flow so magnificently that you want to watch. There is also a narrator who is separated from his Bastion comrade. But he tries his hardest to be a good replacement and provide some fairy tale flavor to the game. However, don’t expect him to ramble on and on – he mostly talks at the opening and close of each chapter. An intriguing soundtrack distinguishes the title. It wonderfully underlines the game’s setting, but don’t anticipate anything spectacular.
Suda51’s contribution to the production would not be a Suda51 contribution if not for the completely surreal and wild universe. A large eye sells items at the store. Nobody is astonished to see cat heads sprouting from flower pots. The environment is more grim than comical, however features such as a ride on a big hen will be included. The charging, ghostly, spiked wheelchair is my particular favourite. Unfortunately, Black Knight Sword is more beautiful to look at than to play. The opponents are a wacky lot, but the game, to put it kindly, does not support fighting. The knight can swing his sword and use magic to fight, but his offensive repertoire is restricted. We obtain new talents as we grow, but just a few. As a result, it’s a little boring. The problem worsens with boss fights, which usually consist of repeating the same move for a billion years. There are no better-designed conflicts. Furthermore, the controls are a little sloppy, so what happens isn’t always what we expect. Accidentally dying every now and again isn’t typically a huge concern, but someone with an undeniably brilliant idea devised a rather irritating way to save the game. Checkpoints are sporadically located, and if you die three times on a map, you must replay the whole game. Perhaps the intention was for the production to be challenging rather than self-serving – very excellent, commendable – but the result is that we slide down the abyss owing to a flaw in the controls and must replay the previous 15 minutes. The oddest thing is that the game does not save automatically. It’s not a problem to click “Save” on the menu at the end of each session, but there’s no logical need to do it manually.
Platforming and exploring features are more effective. The traps are ingenious, and the boards are various – sometimes we have to sprint at breakneck speed to escape the water flooding the board, while other times we have to take delicate steps to avoid being smashed by the pistons. Unfortunately, in Black Knight Sword, we battle considerably more than we leap. The stage’s resemblance to a shmup – one ship versus dozens of opponents – is an intriguing fact. The authors appear to like the genre, since the screen is frequently filled with bullets and little adversaries even during typical gameplay. To summarize, Digital Reality and Grasshopper have already collaborated on a traditional shmup – Sine Mora. It is only worth mentioning that Sine Mora was preferable to them. The above-mentioned inconvenient controls impede the avoidance and workout on the pad.
The minimal time required to complete the game is a letdown. Five levels may be completed in 3-4 hours. If you want to discover the true ending, you must replay everything – in New Game Plus, where the opponents get tougher, but otherwise it’s difficult to discern the difference. Arcade and Challenge modes aren’t really innovative. The first is dealing with waves of foes, while the second is grinding through similar campaign segments again, but with added hurdles, such as not losing even a crumb of life. When it comes to weird concepts, Black Kinght Sword does not disappoint, but the gameplay is uninteresting. The unusual mechanism of storing progress in the game is a significant downside, and the senseless repetition of some levels a dozen times destroys the pleasure of viewing the built landscapes.