SCE Japan Studios try again! After a disappointing, for criticism, crack, released at the launch of the current Sony home console, the second chapter arrives, without a great wait, if not by those who managed to appreciate the immense potential that that Platform had. And so here we are to get our hands on this very interesting product, which has managed against all odds to greatly evolve what it was previously, improving both the negative aspects, and above all those already positive at the time, with a protagonist always beautiful to see and definitely particular.
That said, here's what we think of the new Knack 2, enjoy the reading!
A new adventure
It's been years since Knack and his friend Lucas destroyed the Goblins led by the evil Gundahar, when a new threat looms over Newhaven. Right from the start we find ourselves in a siege by ancient robots intent on destroying the city, in the role of the usual Knack to try to resolve the situation and Lucas to affirm that the fault of all this is solely his. At the end of the first chapter we will be catapulted six months earlier, to understand what really happened and the reason for the young boy's words, ending up on the remains of the battlefield of the war of crystals, fought over two hundred years earlier among the High Goblins, civilization at the forefront of the Goblins and humans led by Marius, a legendary figure of the time. This is where our adventure begins, to try to save the city and the world from a new terrible threat again.
Two is always better than one!
As in the previous Knack we have three modes: the Story (also replayable in the plus version to keep objects and skills at the expense of an increased difficulty), Time Challenge and Colosseum; the real novelty is the possibility of playing them in cooperative with another player, unfortunately only locally, a great pity, since in our opinion it would have represented a source of longevity and enormous fun, given the simplicity and convenience of the network.
Speaking of the plot in general, we can say that it has significantly improved compared to the past, learning from mistakes and enriching it with details, twists and interesting characters, together with decidedly beautiful locations to see. Even if at the end of the fair it fails to shine for originality even this time, ending up falling into the usual clichés and an "epic" missing in the moments when it was most needed, even if some small interesting ideas are present, hoping that in the future these may have an ever greater importance and importance. Also to be added is a considerably longer duration, which stands at Normal difficulty around 12-13 hours without the complete search for the many treasures present in the areas, divided into fifteen chapters that are decidedly compelling and fun to play, even if some sections tend to repeat themselves until too often, feeding a slight feeling of monotony and repetitiveness.
In search of treasures
Completeness is the soul of this kind of titles and Knack 2 is no exception, decreasing the number of objects found around the map in favor of utility and variety, removing the mandatory use of a Smartphone application in in order to increase the drop of certain gems, as it happened in the past. The positive side of this is also given by the usefulness of these objects which, once completed and equipped (there is no maximum limit), are able to help us enormously, from finding other treasures, to increasing experience points through the destruction of solar crystals, up to the stun area when these are broken in the vicinity of enemies and much more.
In addition to these very useful tools, there are always versions of Knack altered by the elements, to have boost and malus depending on the ones used, from Ruby to Topaz and so on; a way like any other to increase the longevity of the title to obtain the necessary number to unlock these particular versions, usually equal to fifteen minerals.
A completely revised gameplay
A decidedly critical aspect of the first chapter was undoubtedly the gameplay, terribly repetitive and lacking in depth. This time the developers have seriously worked on it, creating something complex and rich, able to really satisfy the gamer during his sessions. Specifically, unlike the past pad in hand, it is possible to parry and carry out "parry" towards the incoming bullets to send them back to the sender, kicking to alternate with the usual punches, as well as a series of unlockable skills during the course of the adventure to help us against the toughest enemies.
But there are also other aspects that have definitely changed, both for good and for bad; for the first case we have the removal of the devastating special moves when spheres were loaded by collecting solar crystals, they were far too strong to facilitate any battle, being replaced by a single bar that will act as a shield to absorb the hits of the enemies , a sensible and useful transformation, but definitely not unbalanced. This has been partially replaced, however, by the orange crystal, able to guarantee us for a short period of time and in specific areas, invincibility and extra damage, to vanquish the most complex sections. On the other hand, the general difficulty has been negatively affected, in this case regarding Knack's life, in fact now when we suffer the blows we will shrink, decreasing both the defense and the attack, but after a certain number of seconds we will recover the lost finds to return immediately with life to the fullest; this is undoubtedly a way to facilitate the game, too much in our opinion.
Overall, however, the depth has significantly increased, also and above all thanks to the acquisition of skill points that allow us to acquire, through a very simplified tree diagram, skills and upgrades, ranging from decidedly powerful moves, to simple increases to damage and speed. In short, it is possible to follow an almost completely customized scheme, this limitation is given by unlocking the power wings one at a time, starting with the softer ones, up to the combos in the "Maestro" area.
Finally, it is also right to talk about the platforming sections of the title, considerably more varied and fun, above all guaranteed by the possibility of altering the dimensions of Knack to our liking and need with the R1 key, removing and reabsorbing all the debris taken up to that moment, in in such a way as to increase the puzzles and their "difficulty", we use this term because even these are not particularly complex, just to surround the films and the fights that follow one another.
Graphically beautiful to see
As already happened with the predecessor, the graphic level is really of excellent quality, with well-defined textures and an overall design that is very pleasant to look at, thanks also to vivid and bright colors. Nothing out of place, the characters are perfectly detailed and Knack is, which we did not expect, almost improved in its details, especially as regards the extra armor given by the special finds, such as Iron, Ice, Diamond and so on, having a much better contrast, such as to be able to recognize them perfectly in every moment of the fight or exploration. To all this we also add a granite frame rate, able to never have uncertainties even in the most animated actions with so many people on the screen, which is a huge plus for the work in question.
As for the audio, we can break a lance in favor of the dubbing in Italian, really well done, especially for the depth and expressiveness of the tone of the two protagonists, Lucas and Knack, but also the others manage to have their say; on the contrary, the rumors given to the Goblins do not always turn out to be up to par, partly detracting from their figure as antagonists for most of the story. The OST stands at good levels, being pleasant to listen to and apt for the action we are experiencing at that moment, creating an ideal combination, but with the absence of tracks able to remain etched in our mind.
Knack 2 succeeds in its intent to take what was good the predecessor had and raise it to the nth degree, bringing us a complete and well-made product in all its parts, certainly not free from defects, such as a certain repetitiveness, the absence of the online cooperative and a plot that does not stand out for fantasy, but manages to do what it was created for: amuse. This is thanks to nice comic curtains to follow and above all a game system that has been completely revised, to guarantee us a greater variety of action, even if as we said not entirely sufficient, as well as a completely different level of entertainment compared to the chapter. previous one. So, if you are a lover of Platforms, Knack 2 is a title that we recommend hands down, even given the budget price at which it is proposed, but the absence of that multiplayer coop component that would have been so good for longevity can weigh on the 'immediate purchase. In any case, it is a title that sooner or later you absolutely must have in your collection!