Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
I can’t remember the last time I was so excited for a game that was funded via kickstarter, but here we are, and Shovel Knight is possibly the finest example of what crowd-funding can accomplish in the games industry. So without any further ado, let’s review this thing.
Shovel Knight follows the story of the titular hero, who was once a legendary adventurer along with his companion Shield Knight. After a quest to the Tower of Fate goes wrong, Shield Knight is lost, and the tower itself seals. Consumed by grief over the loss of his beloved, Shovel Knight retires to a life of quiet servitude.
However, the Tower of Fate has now opened, and the world is consumed by the evil of a mysterious Enchantress and the knights of her Order of No Quarter.
The story is nice, and it’s cool to see a couple in a game who actually seem like equals (until Shield Knight is lost to the void). On top of this, each character has their own personalities, and there is much more detail to the overarching world and histories of these characters than you would expect at first. It’s almost along the lines of Dark Souls’ storytelling style. It’s more about showing and implying than flat out telling.
The game is a pure nostalgia hit, especially in it’s visual and sound design. The visuals are clearly NES inspired, though the game shows off far more colours than were ever possible to show on that console, and it takes many visual inspirations from Megaman and Mario (to name only a couple of the obvious ones). The animations are impressive, and there’s a number of excellent effects in play.
The sound design is also excellent, with a soundtrack from Jake Kaufman and a couple of tracks by Manami Matsumae, known for her work on Megaman. Each level has it’s own excellent, atmospheric chiptune tracks, and each boss has an excellent theme as well. I can’t fault the sound design in this game; everything from Shovel Knight’s slashes to the Black Knight’s little evil laugh are perfect.
Shovel Knight is a pure platformer, much like the games that inspired it. Some of the more obvious inspirations include Super Mario Bros 3, Castlevania, Ducktales and especially Megaman. More recently, There even seems to be a Dark Souls spirit behind all the colour and cheer.
The basic platforming is nice and responsive, with similar movement and aerial control to the Megaman series. Your primary weapon, the Shovel, doesn’t have the same startup as, say, the Castlevania whip, but it does have less than ideal reach, forcing you to be uncomfortably close range with your foes.
Also pulled straight from Castlevania is the ability to smash through walls, revealing secrets and healing items to you. You also have access to a multitude of secondary magical items, equipped in a manner similar to Megaman, and used in the exact same way as Castlevania.
Your basic moves are rounded off by the downward strike, similar to Scrooge McDuck’s pogo cane in Ducktales. Where performing the move in Ducktales was rather annoying to pull off, once you press down in the air in Shovel Knight, the move begins. And it doesn’t stop until you hit solid ground or slash out of it.
While alot of what I’ve said heavily mentions Shovel Knight’s inspirations, don’t take it as criticism. All of the above is smooth as hell, and more often than not, it’s improved upon the original.
Where Shovel Knight properly separates itself from the games of old is by keeping the game from being frustrating in it’s difficulty, while still providing a significant challenge. There’s no lives system, and checkpoints are pretty frequent. Each death, however, is punished by dropping a decent amount of your treasure. Upon respawning, you’re able to recover most (if not all) of your loot in a corpse run situation, ala Dark Souls.
If you’re the type to take the greater challenge for greater rewards, you’re even able to destroy checkpoints as you activate them. This gives you greater loot with which to buy items and upgrades, but if you die, you go back much further.
Shovel Knight is a game that’s happy to wear it’s inspirations on it’s sleeve, and I’d be inclined to say that it does most of what it does better than the games that inspired it.
Shovel Knight has a pretty solid main line of levels, but there are a number of levels that aren’t necessary to complete the game. Most revolve around the use of specific magic items, but there are also challenge levels based on scrolling versions of levels you’ve already beaten.
Adding to the content are at least 4 boss fights that AREN’T part of the levels; most of them just roam the map, but there are cool little things to discover all over the place.
Shovel Knight is the best kind of nostalgia. Even if you’ve never played any of the games I’ve mentioned in this review, the aspects that come from them are nailed so well by Shovel Knight that you’ll still find some enjoyment here. The NES style graphics and chiptune soundtrack assure that it’ll be in your brain for months to come and those looking for a challenge will not be disappointed.
It’s an instant classic, and I’m so happy to have a pure game like this come out that can still do a decent story with such excellent presentation. Buy this game if you have the means to play it, and if you don’t, now would be the time to find a way!
DID YOU THINK I FORGOT ABOUT YOU? COME HERE YOU MAGNIFICENT BLUE BASTARD. EXCEPT MINE IS SILVER.
It’s been a while since the last shooter I reviewed, and that was Wolfenstein. Funny enough, this is another shooter set in World War 2. Somehow I doubt it’s going to be as interesting in the story department, but hey, Nazi hunting is Nazi hunting.
Sniper Elite 3 places you behind the scope of Sniper Karl Fairburne as he participates in the North African theatre of World War II, on the trail of a Nazi Super Weapon being developed by one of the Third Reich’s most cruel minds.
The story is forgettable, and the protagonist is really boring. He’s the most generic guy around, and if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m killing Nazis, there’d be no drive for me to continue playing. And that’s a weak reason at best. There’s only one likeable character in the entire game, and he only appears for two missions.
Sniper Elite 3 looks fairly nice, with smooth animations and particularly appealing lighting effects. Unfortunately, the character designs are all pretty bland (and most definitely not the best looking Nazis I’ve seen this year).
The game’s biggest draw is it’s brutal sniper kills, which feature a Mortal Kombat style X-Ray camera. The feature is well executed (just like the Nazis) and, surprisingly, it doesn’t get old. It’s impressive to see just how much work has gone into the visual aspect of the feature. Unfortunately, it feels like the developer didn’t go all the way with it, as shots could cause excessive internal damage, only for the character model to show NOTHING externally. Maybe I’m discounting how hard it is, but it’s weird to see a man’s skull implode, then see his model’s face 100% intact, with no markings or anything.
The game’s voice acting is so-so, to the point where even the main character sounds bored by being here. The music is generally pretty forgetful, but certain sound cues are used to great effect. For instance, when an enemy sniper has you lined up, a high pitched tone would ring out, and if they confirm your location, a chime would sound. That works really well.
Sniper Elite 3 is, surprisingly, more of a stealth game than a shooter. The game presents you with open, non-linear levels with a list of objectives to complete, and it’s in your best interest to do it as stealthily as possible. Because you can’t take a bullet for shit. Which I guess is understandable.
The game’s stealth system is actually kind of close to Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, which is great. It’s good to see a stealth game that doesn’t immediately alert everyone when one guy thinks he might have seen you. Taking that one guy out is a bit more difficult however.
Shooting in this game does not feel great. Which is weird, because if you ask people, about 80% of them would assume this is a shooter. The SMG’s and Pistols you can equip are annoying to use, and if you’re trying to discretely eliminate someone with your only silenced weapon, you’re in for a rough time.
You’re able to set a number of traps, which can help you cover your back when focusing down the scope of your sniper rifle, or even to help you get rid of any pesky vehicles that could ruin your day.
The Sniper Rifle mechanics are strangely good, considering how awful the other weapons feel. Going prone, zoning in on your target’s head and taking the shot is damn satisfying, and the game’s focus mode helps by slowing time, and giving you a marker indicating how wind and distance will affect your shot. It can be a little too easy, but it is possible to make shots without it.
While sniping is the main focus of the game, using such a loud weapon has the potential to ruin your infiltration attempts. There are a number of systems that you can take advantage of, however. Enemies will hear your shots, but they won’t be able to pinpoint your location unless you take shots in quick succession from the same location.
Alternatively, you can mask your shots using background noise, which is probably the coolest thing you can do. Aside from shooting a Nazi’s testicle off.
There are a number of collectibles hidden in each level, ranging from documents, to sniper nests. Aside from these, you’re given the opportunity to complete optional objectives or improve on your previous score.
Unfortunately, unless you’re really into collectathons, or improving your performance, there’s very little reason to return to Sniper Elite 3. Unless you want to explode eyeballs from 1km away.
Sniper Elite 3 is a surprisingly competent stealth game with decent sniping mechanics, built around a neat visual gimmick. It’s story and characters are forgettable, but the game looks decent, and it’s levels allow for a decent level of player choice.
I’d imagine this is about as accurate as Sniper games could get, and if you want some ridiculous gore, this might just be the game for you. Otherwise, if you’re only mildly interested, I’d wait for a price drop first.
Next week. I dunno. I’ll dig up something.
That game intrigues me. It seems to have a fairly decent concept. Let’s Play Blind Date is a pretty great idea.
It might work as a show, but it would take a more sociable host than I.
Page 1 of 91