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Knack II

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Knack II
Knack II Boxart.jpg
Developer(s)SIE Japan Studio
Publisher(s)Sony Interactive Entertainment
Director(s)Mark Cerny
Takamitsu Iijima
Producer(s)Yusuke Watanabe
Sho Numakura
Programmer(s)Tsuyoshi Murakami
Artist(s)Yoshiaki Yamaguchi
Writer(s)Marianne Krawczyk
Mark Cerny
Composer(s)Anthony Willis
Platform(s)PlayStation 4
Release
  • NA: 5 September 2017
  • PAL: 6 September 2017
  • JP: 28 September 2017
Genre(s)Action, platformer
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Knack II is an action-platform game developed by SIE Japan Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for PlayStation 4. It is the sequel to the 2013 game Knack and was released worldwide in September 2017.

Gameplay

In Knack II, the player controls the eponymous character Knack.[1] Knack's abilities include punching, kicking, changing size, and deflecting projectiles using a shield.[1] The game features a skill tree system where players can upgrade Knack's abilities by collecting Relic Energy found in levels.[1] There are treasure chests throughout the game that dispense a Relic or a Crystal Part to further upgrade Knack.[2] The game can also be played cooperatively.[3] Knack II introduces offline multiplayer, allowing an extra player to join and leave the main story at their leisure. This accessibility of Knack II allows people of varying ages to play and has been praised due to the couch cooperative play dynamic.[4] Knack II also utilizes Quick-Time Events during cutscenes. There are puzzles that require the player to manipulate the world and Knack's abilities to progress. Knack II also introduces the teleporter, allowing players to teleport between pads within their respective levels. As the player progresses in the game, Knack acquires special abilities for Knack that also alter his appearance. These in-story abilities are Iron, Ice, and Stealth. The other special abilities that Knack can use are unlocked through the use of upgrading Knack with Knack parts, Relics, and Crystal Parts.[5]

Synopsis

Setting

Two centuries prior to the events of Knack II, The Crystal Wars when the civilization of Goblins, known once as an advanced race of High Goblins, feuded with humans and sought after energy-potent crystals, which were found only on human territory. Uric, a High Goblin leader and master engineer, created the Ancient Weapons, to eradicate the humans. The High Goblin empire expanded as they continued their onslaught. But Marius and his troops defeated the Ancient Weapons in a single day with the use of rocks and vines, propelling their continuous victories over the course of the war.

Once defeated, Urich returned to his laboratory to create more powerful weapons, most notably the Titans, for their final battle against Marius and the humans. While Marius and Urichs fought with their armies, Marius had a strike team attack the city while they were preoccupied, disabling the Ancient Weapon's control center and defeating the High Goblins.

Marius and his men's lament destroying the High-Goblins, becoming the very thing they wished to stop. He then found the order of the monks and led people to peace and wisdom.

Plot

After an unspecified number of years since the events of Knack, New Haven is under attack by four Titans. Lucas indicates that this was his undoing and Knack fights to help correct their unknown wrong-doings. Six months earlier, Lucas is flying with his uncle Ryder and Knack to an island, through a Goblin infested forest, and uncover a monument dedicated to Marius during the Crystal Wars. As they continue, they find a battlefield from the Crystal War, desecrated with the bodies of the vanguards of the Goblin Army. As they linger around, the army rises from the dead and attack the group. Knack protects them and they escape back the plane, making their way back to Doctor Vargas and Charlotte at a monastery in Norcliff to recount their experience. They all gather at the monastery and meet with two monks, Xander, their overseer, and Ava, their youth leader, and decide to seek a mountain pass in the morning to uncover Ancient Weapons in the area.

Morning arrives when the group part ways at the mountain pass and find a burned downed ruins of a village, unable to uncover the mystery. The group then returns to Doctor Vargas, Charlotte, and Xander while they attempt to reach a conclusion, Lucas and Ava decide to ask Uncle Ryder to help them reach Targun, the High Goblin City, where Urich originally created these robots. They arrive at Targun Ruins and traverse within the walls of the city to find Urich's laboratory. Once broken in, they discover part of a map to the High Goblin empire, a remote for controlling the robots, and decide to travel to a museum in Atheneum to better understand Targun's control center for their Ancient Weapons.

The group reach Antheum’s museum, finding that the city has been invaded by robots and Goblins. Knack brings an artifact to the group, taken from a commander. They suspect that that the control center may be on a map that Uncle Ryder acquired and manage to pinpoint where it may be. Xander and Doctor Vargas urge Lucas about the importance of the artifact and debate about what should be done with it.

The group reaches the area on the map and uncover the control center's whereabouts, finding a High-Goblin city. Knack then faces the commander, but Gundahar speaks through a communicator to Knack about his anger towards him and to find the control room for their confrontation. They all return to the monastery to discuss their next course of action.

Lucas deduces that the control center is across the ocean based on their encounters with the High-Goblins. They manage to find a lone island and encounter the control center, disabling the power supply. They battle their way to Gundahar and he is tossed off a cliff. Xander then makes his way to meet with Lucas and reveals his plan of using the artifact in the control center, using the Ancient Weapons for his own purposes. Lucas and Knack remain marooned on the island for five months and two weeks after losing to Xander, devising a plan to get off the island by recovering robots parts to create an aircraft. They arrive at the Doctor's Mansion and rescue Doctor Vargas, Uncle Ryder, and Charlotte. Doctor Vargas informs Lucas and Knack that Xander has been attacking the city and Ava has been leading these attacks. They invaded to Katrina's Fortress, Uncle Ryder's ex-girlfriend, who owns a security firm and a private army, to recruit her assistance in combating Xander's forces. Knack convinces Katrina to use her robot army to battle Xander's army.

Lucas and Knack sneak Beneath Norcliff to begin their infilitration against Xander with Katrina's army outside the gates. Ava then assists Knack in gaining further entrance in Xander's facility when she finds out that Xander has been using the Ancient Weapons. Knack and gang follow Xander to the Nexus, an ancient High-Goblin island. Xander uses the artifact to energize the machine on the island to make the robots and Titans stronger.

Lucas and Knack then follow Xander to New Haven to fight his army. Knack destroys the Titans that Xander commandeered, only for Xander to use the artifact, rendering Knack weak and captured. Three months later, Knack is in Xander's Prison below the monastery, and is rescued by Lucas; who recounts that Ava and Lucas had split up to find Knack and that everyone had slowly started disappearing. Xander has created The Armageddon Machine to revert humanity to a more primitive time through destruction with the use of the artifact. Lucas and Knack enter the Armageddon Machine with the help of Ava and other monks, then she goes to evacuate New Haven. Lucas upgraded his plane to withstand the Armageddon Machine's ray and to fire back stronger. Knack then takes the artifact and Xander before the Machine collapses. Xander then activates the artifact to create a massive Knack-like monster before he perishes. They fight and Knack destroys the artifact, restoring peace. The chairwomen of New Haven signs a treaty with the monks and throw a celebration in everyone's victory. Ava and Lucas reconcile, Uncle Ryder takes Lucas aside to help in rekindling his relationship with Katrina, and Knack and Lucas then leave to venture towards new adventures.

Development and release

Knack II was announced on 3 December 2016, at the PlayStation Experience event.[3] The game was developed by SIE Japan Studio.[6] Marianne Krawczyk, a writer of the God of War series of video games, joined the development team to write the story script of Knack II.[6] The game was released on 5 September 2017.[1] A free demo was released on 29 August 2017 on the PlayStation store, allowing players to try out the Monastery level either solo or cooperatively.[7]

Reception

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic69/100[8]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid5.5/10[9]
EGM8/10[10]
Game Informer8.25/10[11]
GameSpot7/10[12]
GamesRadar+3/5 stars[13]
IGN7.2/10[14]
Polygon7.5/10[15]
VideoGamer.com5/10[16]

During Sony's pre-release showcase of the game, Knack II was boasted due to its art direction, cooperative integration, and focus on platforming.[17]

Knack II received "mixed or average" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[8] The game was largely considered to be an improvement over its predecessor.[18]

In Japan, Knack II did not rank in the Media Create Top 20 or Famitsu Top 30 sales charts upon release. Dengeki reported that the title sold 2106 units to chart as the 35th best selling title in its debut.[19] Comparatively, due to being included as a pack-in game with all initial PlayStation 4 consoles sold in the country, the original game moved 316,787 units in its first week.[20]


References

  1. ^ a b c d Goldfarb, Andrew (4 December 2016). "PSX 2016: Knack 2 Tries to Fix the Shortcomings of the Original". IGN. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Knack 2 Guide: How To Upgrade Knack And Unlock New Skills". Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b Goldfarb, Andrew (3 December 2016). "PSX 2016: Knack 2 Announced". IGN. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  4. ^ Robertson, Andy. "Multiplayer Modes And Pixar Style Storytelling Make 'Knack 2' Perfect For Families". Forbes. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  5. ^ Walkthrough - Knack 2 Wiki Guide - IGN, retrieved 4 March 2019
  6. ^ a b McWhertor, Michael (5 December 2016). "Knack 2's biggest surprise: It's a lot of fun". Polygon. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  7. ^ "A Free Knack 2 Demo Is Live in the US & Europe". PlayStation LifeStyle. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Knack 2 for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  9. ^ Carter, Chris (5 September 2017). "Review: Knack II". Destructoid. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  10. ^ Carsillo, Ray (5 September 2017). "Knack II review". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  11. ^ Reiner, Andrew (5 September 2017). "Growing Into Something Substantial - Knack II - PlayStation 4". Game Informer. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  12. ^ D'Aprile, Jason (5 September 2017). "Knack 2 Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  13. ^ Cowen, Nick (5 September 2017). "Knack 2 review: 'If it ain't broke, it's Knack(ered)'". GamesRadar. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  14. ^ Shea, Cam (5 September 2017). "Knack 2 Review". IGN. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  15. ^ Campbell, Colin (5 September 2017). "Knack 2 review". Polygon. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  16. ^ Bell, Alice (5 September 2017). "Knack 2 review". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Knack 2 is more fun than it should be thanks to co-op". VentureBeat. 20 June 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Knack 2 Review Roundup". GameSpot. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  19. ^ "【週間ソフト販売ランキング TOP50】『閃の軌跡III』が9.3万本で1位(9月25日~10月1日)". Dengeki. 5 October 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  20. ^ "【週間ソフト販売ランキング TOP50】PS4本体は発売2日間で推定31.7万台を販売! 『龍が如く 維新!』は2機種で21万本強(2月17日~23日)". Dengeki. 27 February 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.