Black Knight Sword is a brutal platformer with old-school sensibilities that challenge your patience and capacity for the macabre.
Though he wears heavy armor, the Black Knight is surprisingly nimble, capable of sprinting, double jumping, and backflipping when necessary. You spend a lot of time fighting enemies, but some of the game’s most challenging segments involve navigating lofty platforms, all the while avoiding spikes, pitfalls, and stacks of flame spewing heads. The mix of demanding platforming and tricky enemy patterns makes timing your jumps and strikes a delicate procedure. It’s almost too easy to take damage and jeopardize your progress unless you consistently play your hand just right. Mastering the required timing takes a lot of practice, but its incredibly motivating when you finally figure out how to tackle a particular stage without losing lives. In most platformers, it doesn't mean a whole lot to have to restart a level, but in Black Knight Sword, stages can last upwards of thirty minutes.
You can save your game at anytime during a stage to preserve your progress and accumulated items at the the most recent checkpoint, but choosing when and where to save can be tricky at first. You have two options when choosing to continue: you can load your last save and give it another go or restart the level with a fresh stock of lives. Save at the wrong time, and you may find yourself stuck in an impossible situation without enough health to finish the level.The second options sounds reasonable enough then, but it comes at the cost of your health and equipment upgrades, the former being a crucial element to your survival in the long run. Enemies drop currency in the form of beating hearts that you can spend on said enhancements and it can take the better part of five stages to realize your full potential. So what then do you do when confronted with the roadblock outlined above? At some point, you wouldn't be crazy for thinking a complete restart is in order. You may even feel the need to set the difficulty to easy.
There’s so much more to Black Knight Sword than completing the Story mode a single time that you shouldn't concern yourself with proving your worth right away. Plus, when you ultimately reach the end of the final stage for the first time, you’re unceremoniously thrust back to the start of the game after a meager, unfulfilling ending. Not unlike the classic, Ghouls’n Ghosts, this is the game’s way of telling you that you need to do it all over again if you want to see the true ending. Thankfully, it opens up the New Game + option that allows you retain your armor and health upgrades. Only when you can play with a fully-realized Black Knight from the start does the Normal difficulty begin to feel like a reasonably accomplishable task.
After completing the Story Mode a second time, you may be tempted to explore the additional content in the Arcade and Challenge modes, but it’s unfortunately more of the same. Arcade mode remixes enemy layouts and removes the ability to continue after losing all of your lives. It’s the most difficult rendition of Black Knight Sword’s five stages, which is saying a lot, but it’s not exactly new content. Challenge mode consists of twenty-five brief levels that are essentially glorified time trials, but Black Knight Sword’s gameplay doesn’t fit within that mold very well. Frustratingly, most challenges start you off with a single unit of life and your attempt ends the moment you even touch an enemy. Add that to the lengthy process required to restart a challenge and any remaining motivation to press on quickly disappears.
It takes time to master Black Knight Sword's strict mechanics, so expect to expend some effort conquering each stage without losing a life or two. People with the perseverance to do so will discover that it’s actually fair and balanced in all but a few minor instances. Challenging games aren't inherently bad unless the gameplay is somehow broken, but Black Knight Sword’s adherence to a high-standard of difficulty will ultimately turn a lot of people off. If you prefer your platformers charming and whimsical, this game is best avoided. If, however, you’re looking for a challenging, action heavy platformer that’s reminiscent of old-school behemoths, waste no time picking up Black Knight Sword on either PSN or XBLA.
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.