When it was released alongside the Playstation 4 in 2013, Knack wasn’t well received. There were some good ideas in the game design, but they were badly letdown by uninspired, unengaging gameplay and a thoroughly underwhelming story.
So it was a surprise that Knack 2 was announced at PSX last year. It seems that Sony Japan want to take another swing at convincing us that Knack can be a good time. Judging from the gameplay that is coming from E3, it seems like they might be onto something.
One of the first things that we learned about Knack 2 was that it would be built from the ground up with co-operative multiplayer in mind. From the demo below, this is most obvious during combat. Knack has a limited series of moves to fight off enemies, but these are all enhanced when playing with a friend.
Punching your co-op buddy will fire pieces like a machine gun across levels. Body slamming enemies will stun them, but body slamming your friend will cause a powerful AOE attack that can knock back or even defeat bad guys. Unlocking a heavy punch attack and hitting your friend with it will launch them like a missile across the screen.
It all seems to be designed around having fun.
Sony Japan also seem to be addressing the concerns surrounding unengaging gameplay. There are platforming sections that weren’t really seen in the original, which add an element of achievement to progressing through levels. Fans of the original Knack (of whom there are more than its Metacritic score would suggest) can use Easy mode to bypass these sections if they don’t want to do them.
Whether Knack 2 can be the huge step up from its predecessor we want it to be remains to be seen. Combat still seems really basic, although there appear to be unlockable moves. Platforming is a welcome addition to break up the rest of the game. The story, as presented in the E3 trailer, could go either way.
We’ll have to wait and see if Knack 2 improves upon the original. The early signs, however, are promising.
Knack 2 launches exclusively on Playstation 4 on September 5, 2017.