This is how modern gaming shouldn’t be done
Format: PS3, Xbox 360 (version played) Dev: Game Republic Pub: Namco Bandai
Out: 25/02/11 Players: 1
I’ve never been one for fantasy thriller-type games. The ones where you use magical powers and witchcraft to beat baddies you would only expect to see in the farthest reaches of made-up lands. You know, the types of games where a sword powered with lightning bolts takes the place of a good old-fashioned drop kick. They just aren’t my type of thing.
However, at first glance, Knights Contract seemed as a possible game changer for me. I thought that, possibly, this could be a fantasy game I might actually like.
The game in action looks graphically as good as the cover. There is something about the fantasy genre that comes alive in HD and this is no exception. The colours are vivid and the scenery, a fictional Europe from the Middle Ages, is detailed and interesting, even if the camera work is a little lacking.
The story fairs well, as Gretchen and Heinrich are characters that genuinely grip you, and you start to feel for them at times. The object of the game to work through the many stages of the game, defeating enemies on the way to battling the big bad guy at the end. Knights Contract is a tale of revenge and retribution and the premise of the story is a good one, as the characters’ stories blend together well and they are genuinely likeable. It’s a story that you actually feel part of, or would feel part of, if the dynamics of the game would allow you too.
Yet, after gazing at the screen for a while, taking it all in, you realise that the piece of plastic in your hand, which is supposed to allow you to play the game the way you want, is deemed useless. Your controller might as well not exist. The gameplay within this game is awful. It’s one of the worst games that I’ve experienced in a long while. There is a better element of control on an original Game Boy.
You play Heinrich, who is immortal, and it is your role to protect Gretchen as you both journey across the land. But this is near on impossible to do. The AI is so bad and poorly thought out that gameplay becomes such an unintelligible grind you will never complete the game. As soon as you save Gretchen, she runs straight back into the sword of a baddie, meaning you have to start over and over again. This doesn’t happen occasionally either, it happens almost every time you are in battle and you cannot stop her from doing it. In the end, you will give up, like I did.
Game Republic really did have the base for a great game here, with great characters and potentially a great storyline. However, if buyers are going to be paying £40 for a title that they simply can’t play and complete, then they are being ripped off. It isn’t too much to ask to be allowed to play the game the way you want to and not have to battle an incredibly poorly thought out AI. It seems I will have to keep looking for a fantasy game I actually like; I definitely didn’t find it here.