Black Knight Sword is a brutal platformer with old-school sensibilities that challenge your patience and capacity for the macabre.
- Bizarrely attractive presentation
- Challenging level design.
- Poor introduction to the story
- Small selection of useful abilities.
There's no shame in taking the easy way out, especially when playing a gruesome platformer like Black Knight Sword. Its five stages don't appear insurmountable at first, but it doesn’t take long for merciless traps to pick away at your confidence and measly stock of extra lives. The chilling presentation and strict mechanics may lose you at first, but digging deeper into Black Knight Sword heightens your appreciation for its intricate web of creative misdirection. Expect the worst when venturing into this world, and you'll be rewarded with stylish and satisfying action.
It starts innocently enough: the game is presented as a staged performance, and as the main menu loads, the orchestra warms up while a lively audience chatters away. Once you begin the Story Mode, a narrator with a chilling timbre gloomily introduces the scene. He presents it in the typical “dark and stormy night” manner, but there’s never any mention of the events or characters at hand. It’s a mysterious start, and the only way to get any real context for Black Knight Sword’s plot is to sit idle at the main menu. After a few moments, a semi-hidden prologue reveals that the you have been reborn as the agent of a sword spirit and sent on a mission to destroy an evil, murderous princess. The fact that these breadcrumbs of plot points aren’t readily communicated is odd, but in the context of the ominous performance in which the gameplay exists, the ambiguity gives your imagination plenty of room to wander.
Nearly everything in Black Knight Sword resembles papercraft. Though enemies may occasionally appear organic, they’re animated like an unsophisticated marionette puppet and movement is limited to simple joint articulation. Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame seems to have been a major influence, but with a dash of Edgar Allan Poe’s morbid sensibilities thrown in for good measure. Most of your enemies resemble mishandled biological experiments fit with miserable expressions and droopy, lifeless flesh. There are occasional deviations, such as ravenous wolves and brightly colored sewer slimes, but you’ll spend the majority of your time fending off decapitated heads of various shapes and sizes. The motif does wear a bit thin, but variations in enemy design and mannerisms prevent its use from growing completely stale.
The soundtrack is in many ways the most absurd element of Black Knight Sword, and there’s nothing quite like battling waves of sorrowful foes and bravely leaping for perilous ledges while a demented cacophony of atonal string instruments and hauntingly repetitive vocals attacks your senses, and perhaps your sanity, too. The entire aural and visual presentation is a stressful combination of ungodly sights and sounds that are anything but pleasant or endearing, but they ultimately work in the context of the game’s nightmarish setting.
As the Black Knight, your sword is your primary survival tool. You are limited to thrusting attacks in the early going, other offensive moves must be unlocked later. Your thrust is a quick motion that can be repeated in rapid succession to quickly deliver multiple strikes, but you are unable to do so while in motion. Thrusting in mid-air allows the Black Knight to hover in place, and you can also use it like a pointy pogo-stick, repeatedly stabbing enemies below.
New sword abilities become available as you progress through the game, including an upward swing and the ability to fire projectiles, but the basic thrusting action remains the best tool for the job in most scenarios. Your new, flashy abilities are never truly required though and are only useful on rare occasions. When you need to hit an object or enemy at a distance, you do have the option of projecting your sword’s spirit, but it’s a slow process that hampers your ability to attack or double jump until she returns to her sword form.
I'm just gonna give a word of warning - I really didn't like this game. I felt the narratino was uninteresting and overbearing, the gameplay was overly simplistic, and the visual style, while certainly evocative, evoked nothing good in me.
In the video avatar blends too much with the background, making it unpleasant and difficult to watch.
I'm confused, but isn't the Black Knight the bad @$$ from Fire Emblem? No, wait, I'm thinking Dark Souls.
I feel that this game deserves a lot more appreciation than what the other critics are giving it. Its really fun & its one of the few M rated platformers out there. Try out this game people, its really difficult. I think the difficulty is why critics didn't appreciate it. I hope this game also comes to PC & eShop (own a PS3 & 360 but I just want it on there).
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@innocent69 Really dude? You're mad about a 1 point difference?
Well of course it's not enough just to have a platformer, they 'have' to amp up the gore to give an M-rating so as not to lose all the potential players when their ADHD from chemicals, including but not limited to trademark scores of energy drinks, and exacerbated BY ALL THE OTHER brain-damaging and delusion-inducing M-games makes them throw their controller at the screen, spit profanity and go back to Call of Duty or worse. Meanwhile sane people like me see another ridiculously-filthy game that isn't worth playing and stand while being passed by throngs of THE OTHER type of gamer shambling toward their next fix, eyes glazed and empty.
@tgwolf So what are you waiting for? The next My Little Pony game, or Jeopardy? Why even play games as the majority of them have fighting of some sort, so even if the violence isn't grotesque it's still there. Oh wait you won't be able to even play MLP because that has violence too now. http://www.gamespot.com/features/the-most-unlikely-fighter-youve-never-heard-of-6402004/
This is seeming like a great game; the side modes really give the game a super amount of replay value.
what if gamespot gives 9 to re6....would you enjoy more ? ....or you find yourself that game sucks and dont deserve 9 ....
being a mediocre-skilled gamer, I have some fears before getting this game because I'm terrible at bullet hell and platforming games (yes, there is a shoot 'em up bullet hell section in one stage), but the gorgeous art design, twisted fairy tale-like presentation and excellent soundtrack drew me in, and I ended up loving this game much more than I thought I would. I just unlocked the true ending last night, and I must say it was worth it. It's difficult, yes, but not impossible. Think of this as a side-scrolling Demon's/Dark Souls; you just need to learn the game and keep an open mind.
Seems good, and very similar to the castlevania 2D games. Ill get it after paying my current credit card's bill.
Very fair review, but I'm a bit confused with the game getting the "Steep Learning Curve" demerit. Regardless of the difficulty, BKS is one of the most simple and straight forward games I've played in recent memory.