Knights Contract First Look

Namco Bandai unleashes another gore-filled third-person adventure, this time set in the Middle Ages.

In the world of video games, there's no shortage of third-person action adventures which mix hack-and-slash combat with extreme levels of bloody violence. However, Namco Bandai feels it has something unique to bring to the table with its new title, Knights Contract. The brutal combat may seem familiar, but a medieval setting and visual design that mixes thatched roofs with the beauty of nature brings a touch of originality.

Knights Contract is set in Germany in the Middle Ages and follows the story of Heinrich, an executioner of witches. He executes a witch called Gretchen, who possesses the body of a young girl and curses him for all eternity. Having already had her life cut short once, Gretchen is upset to learn that a new evil has descended upon Earth, threatening to end her life once more. That evil takes the form of the Harmonculous, vile monsters created by chief villain Dr. Falust. She decides to enlist the help of Heinrich and his strong physical abilities to tackle the threat head-on. This, of course, requires spilling lots of blood and chopping up some demons.

You take control of Heinrich, with Gretchen working alongside you with her magic powers. The gameplay is standard hack-and-slash action. You work your way through the world, destroying the Harmonculous by chopping them into a bloody mess with your scythe. You have several different attacks at your disposal, such as heavy, light, and special, which you can chain together to form combos. Attacks are extremely gory, with heads, limbs, and masses of blood flying around the screen. This is accompanied by over-the-top visual effects, with bright flashes of light and explosions accompanying the sweeps of your scythe.

Though Gretchen is largely controlled by AI, you can issue commands to her during battle. She is able to launch magic attacks against enemies, as well as protect you with spells while fighting. One of the spells we were shown surrounded Heinrich with large spikes, which drove their way through all the enemies near him, leaving them in two halves in the floor. You can also execute combos with Gretchen's powers. Up to four powers can be equipped at any time, and you gain new powers over the course of the game. Despite her abilities, Gretchen is vulnerable to physical attacks, and there are times when you have to protect her from enemies.

As well as combat, there are platforming sections and puzzles to solve. One section we were shown saw Heinrich being chased by a large demon. He had to jump over obstacles while avoiding attacks from it. Large demons also form the basis of boss battles. They require you to follow sets of quick-time commands, which cause Heinrich to launch a range of visceral attacks. Visually, Knights Contract is a mix of medieval castles, houses, and knights amidst majestic mountains and vivid scenery. The cobbled streets and thatched roofs of villages look detailed, while the bright visual effects of Gretchen's magic attacks make them look much more brutal. The Harmonculous also have an interesting look, taking on many different forms. Some are grotesque monsters with oversized arms and visible spines, while others are heavily armed knights equipped with steel armour and axes.

At this stage, it seems that much of the game's focus is on combat; we've yet to see much of how the story and the relationship between the two protagonists develop. However, Namco Bandai has promised that more of the game will be shown off at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, so keep an eye on GameSpot for more on the game in June. Knights Contract is due out in 2011 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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Discussion

40 comments
dahaoleboy69
dahaoleboy69

Looks pretty cool but I think the main reason why this game got my attention was the hot girl on the Gamespot home page....

Top_dawg35
Top_dawg35

i'm putting this one on the list, but i know when I play it the only thing thats gonna get old is carrying the girl around. I hope she is even half as independent as elika from prince of persia, but it doesn't look to be going in that direction

kanada514
kanada514

@Aegyss When did the Hack & Slash genre become stigmatized exactly? Why are people saying "just another hack & slash" when they see a game of that genre? Because they see too many of them? Just... No Read the comments below. The term "Hack and Slash" is used in a pejorative way in almost every case. "It's just another Hacky Slashy" for instance. Are they the kind of person that watch every football superbowl with the "It's just another supy bowly game" mentality? Soccer is monotonous, you just kick a ball. FPS's are monotonous, you just shoot at stuff. Racing games are monotonous, you just drive in circles. I heard Modern Warfare 2 is played a lot and considered good. Yet, it is the most monotonous of games. You just shoot stuff, that's all you do. What exactly did the game come up with? Anything new or unique, new features and design qualities, new gameplay mechanics? No, just shoot and throw grenades. They have the same gameplay as Ikari Warriors or Contra for the NES. Shoot at stuff with guns in order to kill it. 24 years later, with not a single innovation. Yet people love it and they sell millions of copies, and people are not negatively biased against the genre even though the market is over-saturated with FPS games, yet, for some unexplainable reason, when a new FPS come out, people don't say "Just another Shooty". When on the other hand a Hack and Slash comes out once every 4 years, people say it is too much and that it is only a "Hacky Slashy".

Aegyss
Aegyss

@kanada514 I don't think the issue is the shortage of any genre or the abundance of another. From what I've read of this game, the only thing that separates it from other games of the same genre is the story and aesthetics. It doesn't really bring anything new to the genre in terms of game mechanics, I think that's the issue. Now, that doesn't mean that this won't be a fun game, and I'm sure there will be variety and in the game design. I also understand that it's hard to come up with unique game mechanics or ideas and that it's easier to take an existing frame work that's guaranteed to sell and dress it up differently. I just think that the aspect that separates games from every other medium, gameplay, should be given more effort to innovate.

kanada514
kanada514

What do you all mean another hack and slash? Count the First Person Shooters on any console and then count the hack and slash games. You'll get a result of 20 to 1. What does this biased writer say? "No shortage of hack and slash"? Yeah actually, there is a shortage, and no, hack and slashes are no more monotonous than any other genre. Take a FPS for instance, shoot shoot shoot, throw grenade. How is that less monotonous mr. Joo_Phish? Seriously, it does sound like here in north America, people all want to play a single genre and are closed to anything else. I have played ALL of the non-FPS games and non-sports games available at the store. There is a shortage of non-FPS games.

SuperMegaMaster
SuperMegaMaster

I'll keep an eye on it! vamo ve se esse game chega perto do God of War pois duvido que venha a ser melhor!

Joo_Phish
Joo_Phish

hack in slash is the f^&*in most monotonous category of gaming, once you've played for an hour, u know what ur going to do for the rest of the game. u'll pick up a few new moves but what u end up doing will be the same, lame

halocaustfire
halocaustfire

Bayonetta for me I thinks and anyway whats wrong with her boobs not flopping around RE: amillionhp firm is best dude.Besides what a walk with such long legs & great sense of humor Bayonetta is the babe. Gretchan bah! Lets see how well they get the storyline happening,

Un4givingAsault
Un4givingAsault

Another hack and slash but the combat looked fluid in the video, seemed very natural.

tobelight
tobelight

Sounded good until I saw the gameplay and its just another hacky slashy. not my taste ill pass

Xx_Hopeless_xX
Xx_Hopeless_xX

I'm hoping this turns out great..with a well fleshed out story..great action...stunning visuals and weapons...i don't want to be disappointed..damn it..now i'm all hyped :(..

strayfies
strayfies

I'm with Noigel and GamePirateZorro - I think by now I sorta want "more", and this game just looks like a skin of something already worked to the fullest of its popularity. Since it's not out til 2011, I can't give any real solid judgments just now but I'm hoping to see both a gameplay vignette and get some actual info about what other aspects are in the game, if any.

GamePirateZorro
GamePirateZorro

looks to simllar to dante's inferno in gameplay. nothing wrong with that. just not "original"

G7i9a1
G7i9a1

esse game ta da hora,vai se bom !

gameniko
gameniko

Xbox 360 needs a good hack-and-slash action game like GOD OF WAR for PS3. I've played bayonetta which i though would be good but its nothing compared to GOW. I hope a game can come out which can be as good as god of war otherwise I swear Im getting a PS3!!! Lets hope this game is up to the task (I wouldnt bet on it tho)

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

this game would've been ground-breaking....if it came out 10yrs ago.

metaltorn
metaltorn

this game sucks......not it looks pretty cool and the graphics look pretty clean i'll keep my eye on this game for more info.

magicalclick
magicalclick

Why all the negative feedback? I thought it is pretty cool and it is not just another shooter.

Aurey
Aurey

No thanks, I've had my action game fix with Ninja Gaiden II and Bayonetta. And Namco really need to do something about animation in this game, characters move in a horribly stiff way and there are no transitions between some stances.

noigel
noigel

Totally agree... gamers are growing up and companies keep doing the same old thing over and over again... shouldn't they move forward evolving game experience? (and I'm not talking about Natal or PS3Move...)

Zerot
Zerot

MORE GRAPHICS MORE HDR LIGHTING MORE GLAM... what about game play? ahhhhh spam the xbutton and we will make it look cool! 5 million dollars later = pos

amillionhp
amillionhp

@ zvaraly Bayonetta doesn't even have a chest large enough to "flop around" as you put it. Almost every other female lead in any other game i can possibly think of trump her in the chest department. I'll also have you know that game incorporated so many unique and fun features that honestly put most others in it's genre to shame.

Biorges
Biorges

This makes me yawn, we ll probably be pushing x-y buttons endlessly while wondering how many generic enemies must we kill before the giant boss at the midway-end level. What a bore

zvaraly
zvaraly

Looks pretty standard for the genre. Hopefully there's some sort of clever twist other than an AI driven witch casting offense/defense buffers. At least the main character isn't some lame bop with her boobs floppin' around like dumb-ass bayonetta.

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

@ Swindells - I agree to a certain point, in fact the physics used in Ninja Gaiden was quite impressive. Just depends how they are trying to make the game look and feel. I dont mind games that have "arcadish" physics and collision system IF that's what the game is meant to be. Titles like this or Ninety Nine Nights and some others will rub people the wrong way since it looks "dated" or something you would see in games ten or more years ago.

MrPush
MrPush

man whats with people these days, thats sad the three post below me basically say the same thing ..dont people just play the game anymore JUST to play that game.. it kinda gets annoying you cant play a game these days without someone trying to say its a knock off of another game.... OMG good thing I got call of duty so I dont need medal of honor... good thing I play street fighter I dont need tekken haha

darkash22
darkash22

I want The Witcher 2 on xbox 360..............it's awesome..everything i need in an RPG game.

RitsukoEX
RitsukoEX

@Egg99 yeah! its a good thing I got Bayonetta!...but if this game gets better by its release date. I may get it. ain't like its coming out this year.

Egg99
Egg99

good thing I have God of War and Devil May Cry already so I don't have to play any of their knockoffs...

Swindells
Swindells

Maybe its just me but i'm not a fan of games that are unrealistic, i like zombie games, magic games etc, thats all good but i mean unrealistic animations like when the character hits the ground, or gets hit with a weapon, that sequence should look realistic. actual environmental physics shouldn't change. This guy hits the ground hard and it looks like he's skimming across a brown dusty lake.

ThePurpleBubble
ThePurpleBubble

Hmm... Dr. Falust = Dr. Faust/Faustus? Or is it just a neat little coincidence that the demon-allied antagonist of a story/game set in Germany just happens to share a similiar name with a character in German folklore who also sells his soul to demons? ;) Sorry, nerd moment over... had to get that rant out... Anyways, it looks like just another hack-and-slash to me... Maybe they'll pull out something really clever, but as it stands, it looks too generic, and the visuals are disappointing to say the least.

Barighm
Barighm

Stylish action games...they were cool when they first appeared in DMC, but play one and you've played all of them.

NicoLikesSoda
NicoLikesSoda

looks like another God of War/ Devil may cry action game...