Knights Contract Preview - 360/PS3

Knights Contract Preview - 360/PS3
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Medieval Hacking and Slashing - Knights Contract Preview

If there’s one thing that defines a brutal hack-and-slash game, it’s the amount of violence it offers. Blood, guts, more blood, and even broken limbs are all great attributes of the gory beat ‘em up variant. But in order for a hack-and-slash game to succeed, it needs to have substance. Aside from all the bloodshed, a brutal action game needs rewarding gameplay that keeps you coming back for more and keeps you enthralled the entire time. Namco Bandai is currently working on Knights Contract, a game that looks to provide just that.

Knights Contract Plot

Expect to see a lot of creepy monsters…

You play as a burly German warrior named Heinrich who hunts witches and gladly tears their lives away from them using his scythe. He comes across a witch named Gretchen and is cursed moments before killing her. Heinrich is now forced to roam the earth forever, living as an immortal. Gretchen’s spirit possesses the body of another girl, and she soon discovers that her fellow witches have taken on evil forms and intend to destroy the human race. In an attempt to save humanity, Gretchen makes a deal with the man who killed her. She promises to lift Heinrich’s curse if he destroys the monstrous witches and Dr. Faust, the man who has summoned evil upon the earth, and the same person who originally put the bounty on the heads of every witch.

The game’s story has a real “bigger picture” vibe, and various cutscenes reveal more of the story as Knights Contract progresses. Story is actually a big part of the game, and more cutscenes than you would probably expect from an action game are sprinkled throughout. Aside from the basic plot, further details have not been specified. It’s highly likely that Heinrich and Gretchen will form a deep bond considering the fact that the two will be journeying together.

Basic Gameplay

…and tons of blood.

Combat in Knights Contract consists of simple light, heavy, and special attacks, and you can chain together combos to really put the hurt on your foes. Like in the stellar God of War series, there’s bound to be abundant button-mashing; but if the game executes it well by throwing intelligent enemies and bosses at you, it should be very compelling. And judging by the massive bosses, which require you to successfully punch in context sensitive commands, you’re probably going to be challenged as you take on the many beasts in the game. Although the bulk of Knights Contract consists of battling, the game occasionally changes things up by throwing in some platforming and puzzle-solving sections.

Gretchen As a Partner

Heinrich and Gretchen must put their past grudge aside in order to save the world.

Gretchen accompanies Heinrich throughout the course of the adventure, and gamers will either love her or hate her. She’s controlled by the AI the entire time, but she does have offensive and defensive magic spells that you can trigger, and as you get further in the game, you unlock spells that pack a bigger punch. This makes her pretty useful, but there are also times when you have to protect her from enemies and bosses. Some players may not be too fond of these sections, especially on the game’s higher difficulty settings. Let’s just hope she’s a bit more capable than the female companion in Ico.

But as previously mentioned, Gretchen isn’t just a helpless maiden. No, this witch has useful healing powers in addition to her attacks and defensive abilities, even if she is in human form. For example, if Heinrich picks her up and carries her in his arms, the two will heal one another, and Gretchen will be protected from enemy attacks. The latter is especially important as she really can’t sustain too much damage.

Setting of the Game

Environments are haunting to say the least.

Knights Contract takes place in medieval Europe, so you can expect to see plenty of dark environments. You’ll come across dilapidated houses, old-looking villages, and vast landscapes. Dark clouds fill the sky, and there is a lingering sense of foreboding. At the same time, the hillside you see off in the backgrounds gives the game a sense of hope. It’s very interesting that a violent, bloody hack-and-slash title actually manages to evoke so much emotion through its environments.

Knights Contract Preview - Time to Kill Some Witches

Knights Contract certainly looks like an interesting new hack-and-slash title. Its storytelling elements, magnificent environments, and simple yet engaging gameplay really make it a game worth getting excited over. If Namco Bandai treats it with care and doesn’t provide a lackluster experience like the recently released Splatterhouse, then gamers will have a winner on their hands. Knights Contract is slated to launch for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on February 22.