Why you gotta be like that ,Game Republic?
Posted 2 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
It seems like every now and then, independent developer Game Republic gets a kick out sending me to the highest cloud in the sky, only to later push me and watch me fall to the land of wind and ghosts. 2010 was the Year of Game Republic on GameFocus with the abysmal Clash of the Titans followed by the surprising and charming Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom. Basically, they managed to cover pretty much both ends of the spectrum. I remember when Namco Bandai first announced Knights Contract but in all honesty, I completely forgot about it afterwards. Even more, I didn’t even pay any attention to who was the developer behind it
Well, here I am, less than a year later writing about this brand new action-adventure game which - aside from an interesting premise - brings very few reasons to get excited. Actually, there might be some...but only if you’re a masochist.
You play as Heinrich, an executioner cursed with an immortality spell. You see, our hero used to kill innocent witches under the command of Faust, a corrupted political leader looking for absolute power. Blamed to be responsible for the Black Plague, these witches - who had nothing but good intentions at first - have returned a few hundred years later to take revenge on humanity by laying a deadly black plague upon them.
As Heinrich wanders around the decimated world, searching for a way to be freed of his curse, he meets up with Gretchen - one of the dead witches - who has returned in a brand new body to stop her sisters from exacting their revenge. Why? Well, she basically decided to continue her good deeds after being killed by Heinrich. Obviously, this going this route in lieu of the jaded angst-ridden route did not please Team Witch. Now a traitor among her peers, Gretchen tells Heinrich that she can break the curse, but only if Faust (who has obviously become a powerful dude since then) and the resurrected witches are killed. A contract bound with blood is signed and from there, the duo make their way through uninspired, linear levels intertwined by terrible dialogue, interminable cut-scenes and several loading screens.
When I say “the duo makes their way”, I mean “he makes his way through the world while she tags along and lends a hand when needed”. In fact, Gretchen is more of a dim-witted whiny companion that keeps dying every five seconds. She would be completely useless if it wasn’t for her upgradable magical spells and questionable special attack. Whenever Heinrich’s scythe isn’t enough, Gretchen’s powers can be hailed upon to inflict additional damage. Still, what seems to be an enjoyable combat system gets old rather quick after the first three chapters.
Boss fights (the pissed-off witches that transform into huge monsters) are somewhat impressive. Sadly, they become an unhealthy source of frustration. When Gretchen isn’t dying, Heinrich needs to empty several life-bars before having access to the final blow via a quick-time event. The latter is the main reason behind why these bosses are a pain in the neck. Miss one QTE and you’re sent back into combat while the boss retrieves a significant chunk of its life-bar.
Hack n’ Slash games are abundant and I wouldn’t have any problems with Knights Contract if Game Republic took the time to design something clever and entertaining. As pointed out earlier, the story is quite interesting, but the rest of the package makes it a hard one to enjoy and/or recommend. Not as terrible as Clash of the Titans (thanks?) but certainly one of those Game Republic titles destined to sport a red clearance price tag and a longtime membership to your local store’s bargain bin.
Oh by the way...is it Namco? Namco Bandai? Bandai? Changing publishing names confuses the hell outta me. Make up your mind...unless you want to use this strategy to differentiate the good games from the bad ones. If that’s the case, check the box art before renting or purchasing.
- Frustrating boss battles caused by dumb QTE’s
- Countless loading screens
- Wonky camera
- Did I mentioned it had an interesting story?
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Release Date : 2011/02/22
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : Namco Bandai
Developer : Game Republic
Category : Action-Adventure
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10