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    jp's Knack (PS4)

    [March 15, 2017 02:09:31 PM]
    Finally finished it! I say finally because the end did feel like a bit of a slog - we were playing on hard which meant that Knack was pretty much one-shotted by all the enemies (not fun) so it was taking longer and longer to make progress. That being said, once we finished we unlocked an arena mode where you fight off waves of attackers and I was surprised by how good we had gotten at the game because were were able to easily clear the first two arenas. However, HD space and a pile of other games waiting to be played meant that we uninstalled pretty much as we finished it. A few things of note to me:

    a. I hadn't realized the game was made by, essentially, a Japanese studio. I knew that Mark Cerny was involved but I had forgotten who else. A little searching tells me it was SCE Japan Studio. Duh! The game has a lot of polish in the visuals, animations, character design, cut scenes and more. I'm still impressed - the gameplay not so much (controls always felt a bit fiddly). I wonder if that's a SCE Japan studio thing?

    b. Katamari Damacy always did an interesting job with scale as you got larger making you feel powerful and big. Knack does the same, obviously at a smaller scale, but it works surprisingly well - enemies that used to be really dangerous become less so as you see them all tiny and such. The downside is that Knack becomes a lot slower and harder to control which I felt as a real draw was almost too slow/cumbersome. I'm surprised by how few games play with this idea? Mostly they seem to come from Japan... (Loco Roco, Katamari, Knack...) I wonder why?

    c. I had installed the companion match-3 game app because you can unlock items for the game. We were really lucky in that the last item we unlocked was the last crystal we needed to unlock one of the special Knacks. Throughout the game you can find hidden crates with parts of items or crystals. The items give you different buffs/boosts while the crystals net you special Knacks that different scores on the abilities (e.g. more damage but more vulnerable to damage). The items all have 3-7 parts or so, while the new Knacks required 15-20 or so. AND, the crystals are a lot harder/rarer to find.

    I found it unusual that the loot drops would be randomized - especially because there aren't THAT many of them in the entire game. I was worried in fact that we would not be able to get a single item or new Knack before the end. We barely made it, which was weird. There is a cool feature though that lets you pick a different item when you open a chest - you have the option of the one you found OR pick one from among the ones your friends found. This meant that, at best, in the beginning of the game, we could choose from three options. Still. We barely made it in the end and only thanks to the fact that we got a lucky break on the companion app that netted us the last crystal we needed to unlock Brittle Knack.

    d. The asymmetrical co-op was fun and refreshing. I hope Knack 2 has it as well - it led to us experimenting with different strategies. I would often stay back - out of harms way - while my son went in for the fight. Why? Well, I was getting one-shotted a lot and when Knack dies, everyone dies. Also, when the other Knack kills an enemy it gets a shield boost - so it can takes hits without dying immediately. However, the 2nd Knack needs to be the one that does the kill! So, it made sense for us to work on getting the shield built up before, say, a boss battle.

    Overall, a great surprised, glad I played it, and actually looking forward to Knack 2.
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    [March 5, 2017 07:40:49 PM]
    Played another 2 episodes the other weekend. I'm starting to get a little bit tired, and wishing the episodes were shorter. The environments are still as pretty as ever, but the gameplay is starting to feel a bit stale. At this point my goal is to get through it ASAP (with my son) because he's excited that a sequel has just been announced...
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    [August 12, 2016 12:15:14 PM]
    Just cleared the 4th stage (these take longer than you'd imagine, but we're playing on hard) and I have to say that while the game is quite endearing, some cracks are starting to show. I think this is mostly in the couch-co-op that my son and I have been playing. There are moments where it is clear that this was mainly a solo player game - not just because of the asymmetry between the two characters you control (regular Knack and "steel" Knack) but in how mission objectives sometimes fall apart. For example, the last time we played we had to make use of a new ability: stealth knack (who can walthrough surveillance lasers and such). It's really neat, except that the other Knack doesn't have it. So, when playing as non-stealth Knack you have to stay behind and die. Sometimes you're warped through. Othertimes...not so much. We're not sure. It's really unclear and works in odd ways.

    The camera is also odd - it essentially follows/tracks main Knack. So, 2nd Knack really is like a sidekick living in the shadow of the other Knack. It's not terrible, just a bit annoying sometimes. For instance, when normal Knack dies you reset and go back to an earlier checkpoint. This doesn't happen with other Knack.
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    [July 2, 2016 09:08:36 PM]
    I remember this game got really poor reviews when it was released but I have to say, I'm really impressed so far. The art direction/design is beautiful and the gameplay, while not spectacular or super special, works and is fun enough that my son and I have played out way through to the 3rd chapter already and have been enjoying ourselves.

    As you move along you can find secret areas some of which have special chests that let you find parts of items that give you special secret abilities. We have yet to unlock one because, we'll, too many parts and they're randomized so you don't always get the next one you need. What's interesting about it is that it also shows you what parts your friends found in that chest and, if their part is better than can pick theirs instead. I thought it was a pretty neat mechanic. Additionally there's an match-3 puzzle game app that lets you find/unlock more parts. The app is pretty clear that you can't get them all, but I'm guessing that it helps? (you have to sign in with your PSN account/id) I've unlocked one item part in the app but we haven't yet imported them into the game.

    I won't be able to play for a few weeks but I'm looking forward to playing this some more.
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    jp's Knack (PS4)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 2 July, 2016

    GameLog closed on: Wednesday 15 March, 2017

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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