Monday, July 11, 2016

Blood Knights

I knew that I would not be getting the best game experience ever from Blood Knights. Its reception is mixed at best but I bought it anyway for few reasons. I like hack & slash and vampires are always cool. The developer, Deck13 Interactive, was also already familiar from Venetica. And lastly, the game was dirt cheap on sale at Humble store.

Not worth its full price

And cheap the game should be as it is rather short. It took me just nearly 6 hours to beat it but the average completion time seems to be closer to 4. The length is definitely one of the game's negative sides. Occasionally voice-acting is rather terrible too but it is a minor gripe compared to the often almost nonsensical dialogue.

Characters repeat things multiple times in conversations and replies frequently lack logic. It is like the dialogue was written in parts without knowing the full set. And no one checked how it sounds when everything is said at once. The story also ends up suffering from oddities but it is of little importance in this genre. I did recognize some familiar elements from Venetica, though. For instance, the game takes place in an alternate Europe.

Blood Knights has a bit annoying side as well in its platforming parts. Judging distances is challenging and falling off usually means instant death. But the uncontrollable camera changing its angle mid-jump is what truly tries to bring in the irritation. It also took me awhile to learn not touch controller's right stick when platforming as Jeremy. It does not move the camera but makes him dodge (off an edge) instead.

But not all bad either

Despite its short-comings, I found Blood Knights to be quite an enjoyable experience. The combat does not have incredible depth and variation to it but for the game's length what it has was enough. Grouping enemies together to take them out with Jeremy's area of effect melee attacks did not cease to be fun.

In single-player you can switch at will between Jeremy and the other playable character, Alysa. I read some comments complaining how much more powerful Jeremy is. And for the majority of the game I kind of agree. Alysa does not really have the tools in her twin-stick playstyle to take out masses of enemies as efficiently. However, for bosses -- especially towards the end with maxed upgrades -- I found Alysa to be more effective. She took care of the final showdown with ease.

In co-op both characters are in action at once, and according to some review they work well together. There is only local co-op, however, and you will need two controllers as the game will not take input from keyboard and mouse if a controller is plugged in. The game also does not allow you to rebind controls even on keyboard.

I cannot say about the default kb/m controls but at least controller worked perfectly. The game interfaces are effortless to operate. One thing I maybe would have liked is the item comparison information showing stats that would be lost when examining a store item. In inventory you can see your currently equipped item so it is not a problem there.

Visually Blood Knights has much in common with Venetica. It is by no means the greatest looking game but it is pretty enough. Music on the other hand is actually quite good. The orchestral tracks have some great pieces among them, though they are not too memorable. Or maybe the game simply is not long enough to get the music stuck in one's head.

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