Knack II is a beat 'em up game developed by SIE Japan Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4. Announced at Sony's PlayStation Experience 2016, it was released worldwide on the September 5th 2017, and is the sequel to the 2013 PS4 launch title, Knack.
Why It Rocks
- Becoming bigger is no longer a pointless mechanic. You now have actual control over Knack's size by switching between small and giant Knack, and Knack's size does affect gameplay.
- Knack has a greatly expanded moveset; instead of having just the most basic 3-punch combo, he now has heavy attacks, can block attacks, kick, guard break parry projectiles, use Sun Crystals, and use relics from his body as ranged weapons.
- One such move allows Knack to grab enemies from afar (similar to Skorpion in Mortal Kombat), and bring them in close for a thorough beating.
- Good controls.
- Knack no longer dies in two or three hits and will recover health after a few seconds to make combat less frustrating.
- Bosses now have a health bar.
- Impressive bosses.
- Improved level design, with more platforming and puzzles.
- Gorgeous visuals that pack in plenty of detail, while still retaining the first game's art style.
- The return of couch co-op mode, the feature actually being shown off in the announcement trailer.
- Great soundtrack.
- Power-ups now actually do something. These serve to give Knack some extra defense as well as different offensive properties:
- Ice Knack can freeze enemies with ice breath.
- Iron Knack's multi-punch attack has a bigger range, and his punches do increase damage.
- The game adds an upgrade skill tree, allowing Knack to learn new moves and abilities at a reasonable pace. Existing moves can also be upgraded. Unlike other games with a Skill Tree, skills are not tied to each other (save for the final upgrades of each discipline), so you can pick any upgrade in any order you wish.
- Vehicles can be commandeered, and these are quite fun to play with. Knack can pilot a tank, use a turret, and a giant robot at certain intervals.
- Gadgets and Crystal Relics return, and thankfully, obtaining them is far more streamlined than before; if you miss any of them, you can go back and find them through the World Map feature. The Crystal Knack characters can now be switched during gameplay via the D-pad once unlocked.
- Time Attack and Colosseum modes return to add replay value, as do the newly added Knack medals, which require the completion of challenges to obtain. Challenges include beating a boss on a certain difficulty, beating a stage within a time limit, beating a boss without taking damage, and so on and so forth.
- The plot (while much better then previously) is still generic and forgettable, with Knack's personality being toned down and still having no focus in the story.
- Gameplay is still rather repetitive, even with the expanded combat options.
- While the difficulty is much more balance compare to the previous game, Knack II does have its fair share of difficulty spikes.
- Somewhat cheap enemy placement.
- While the upgrade skill tree is a great addition to the game, it is somewhat limited as you're stuck on each branch until that branch is fully upgraded.
- There's a minor delay in guarding and dodging.
- Like its predecessor, Knack II overstays its welcome by 3-4 hours.
- Much like the first game, Knack II has somewhat of a Big-Lip-Alligator Moment were a random monster appears out of-no-were as the final boss.
- To compensate for Knack's larger skills set, some encounters will have swarms of enemies try to overwhelm the player by attacking all at once; which can get very crowded.
- It is very easy to get beaten to death in a combo, since Knack has no recovery frames.
Knack II received mixed to positive reception. It currently holds a 69/100 on Metacritic. It was largely praised for solving many of the problems that the original Knack had making it less monotonous to play. Despite the improvements, the game was still criticized for its uninteresting plot, repetitive gameplay, and sluggish controls. In general Knack is still considered inferior to other classic PlayStation mascots like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, or Ratchet & Clank.