Sunday, 1 January 2012

Knights in the nightmare

Gamespot score:n/a

my score:8.0

(+)Pros:-Deep and engrossing story that revolves around past and present events,-incredibly unique gameplay that combines bullet hell and strategy,-great character and item variety,-character system is super in depth and prompts you to make some important descisions,-lenghty main story.

(-)Cons:-Learning curve is stupidly hard and the tutorial is long as hell,-sometimes get a little draggy.

gameplay time:20-30 hours

Happy new year to everyone! I hope 2011 was a good year for you guys and lets all wish 2012 will be just as awesome or even better. Today's game is knights in the nightmare, and if you guys remember, a while back I did a greatest game character post on Maria, one of the main characters of this game. Knights in the nightmare is so unique, you have never seen gameplay like it. Its a port of the DS original, and has some additions to make it stand out a little. The original DS version got a 8.0, and while the PSP one didnt have a review, I would say this one very well deserves it too. I never played the DS version, and playing the PSP one really left quite an impression on me. And needless to say, the impression that it left on me was a pretty damn awesome one.

The story in knights in the nightmare is hard as hell to follow at first, but once you grasp the roots of the story, it quickly becomes badass. And the way the story is told is so awesome, as it weaves back and forth in time, telling past events and showing the lives of previous knights that soon lost thier lives in battle. Knights in the nightmare is actually part of a series of games, and while the story is not directly connected to them, there have some sort of relevance (yggdra union, riveria, gugnir). Anyway, the story stars a wisp of the main character, and as the wisp, you no freaking idea who you are. All you know is that you can revive the soul of dead knights of the royal guard of Aventhiem, and have them fight for you against monsters and demons. The kingdom of Aventihem is in turmoil, and monsters now roam the land, its no longer a safe place, and as a random wisp with such great power, you do not know your purpose or identity, but all you know is to head toward the Aventhiem castle. And so you press on..lonely wisp, as you encounter souls of knights, heed their assistance, make them part of you army and try to search for the purpose and truth of your existence.

Each item is superbly in depth, and there are huge varieties of them.
 KITN has some of the most unique gameplay I have ever seen. KITN is a mix of strategy RPG elements, and bullet hell gameplay. Bullet hell games arent so common outside of japan, but if you go see shit like touhou, you should understand what I mean. This game is so hectic, it has you doing so many things at once. The regular game phase has you going through stages of battles, each filled with its own share of monsters. Each of these stages has a knight or two that you are able to recruit (more on this later), and maybe a few empty slots for you to place knights of your own. Other than that there will also be crates and other destroyable items (also, more on this later). A stage is split into turns, and you have to clear a stage within a set amount of turns, if not, you lose.

Before each turn, you equip up to 4 weapons into your 4 item slots, and during battle, you use your wisp and grab those weapons, located at the 4 ends of the screen, drag them to a knight who can use that weapon (only some classes of knights can use some weapons), and have that knight charge up energy, then let go to have that knight dish out some hurt to the attack area he/she can intiate. Sounds complicated, yes it is, but its not that complicated if you do it on screen. So the basis of combat is that try to defeat enemies that keep getting caught in the attacks of your knights. Note that your knights CANNOT MOVE (unless they use a moving attack skill), and enemies can move, so you have to wait for the monsters to move into your knight's attack zone before you unleash your fury.

Control the tides of battles using your wisp, dodging bullets
and unleashing attacks from your knights.

Of course, this just means that enemies can attack too. But enemies do not attack your knights (there are some who do so, but these are super late into the game), they attack you. As the wisp, you must dodge enemey attacks, while deliveing your own. Note that doing attacks from draggable weapons require MP, and to get that, you have to normal attack enemies with your knights, in either chaos or law state, to get MP gems. Note that in chaos or law forms your attacks and skills get different variations, and note that some skills can only be used in either law OR chaos, not both. Complicated right? Getting hit by enemies will reduce your timer for that turn, and if your timer reaches 0, its turn end. After you defeat enemies in a turn, you will be sent to the enemy roulette screen, where you have to select more enemies to retake the ones that just died. This sounds endless, but usually defeating one roulette row of enemies will already cause you to win, so the roulette is another thing you have to take careful note of.

Now onto the character and item system. Items come in many shape and sizes, and there are even key items that let your recruit knights in later stages. Weapons have durability, and using them in battle will only wear them down, and later get destroyed. You will receive weapons from destroying crates and other objects in stages. For your knights though, its a different case, if your knights keep attacking, they will lose VIT, and if they have 0 VIT, they die permanantly. Knights will not restore VIT even at the end of battle (except for maria, whom I shall not spoil), this forces you to switch up your formations in battle. And if a knight you really like is going to die, you can sacrifice other knights to give VIT to that one, and even make them stronger, gaining abilities of the scarificed knight.

Sacrifice knights permanantly to preserve others.

There is only a few notable flaws in KITN, and one of them is the ridiculously long tutorial. There are over 40 friggin tutorial stages! And the thing is, you can't fking skip them! Its not compulsary, but still, if you want to play the game without the tutorials, you won't know shit. When scene 1 fires up, you will stare at the screen, clueless. The tutorials are pretty much required, and the fact that it needs about an hour to read it all kind of a pain. The scenes also drag quite abit. While the story heats up and all the different shit going on is so damn cool, you are stuck killing monsters for another 3 or 4 scenes before you get to face off against an epic boss. The dragging pretty much sucks, and while sometimes killing monsters can be pretty cool, its painful when you want a piece of the action of the story, but cant. 

KITN is a gem of a title. Its a unique game that blends two genres that others thought would not be possible. The deep and engrossing story combined with brilliant gameplay mechanics make it both fun and refreshing to play. To top it off, the main game is packed with over 40 scenes, meaning that you will be occupied for quite a long time. If you missed the DS original, all the more reason to pick this up. With additional content to play as yggdra (I don't see the point in this, but I guess it adds a new perspective), DS players can have a little something extra too. Knights of the nightmare a great addition to the dept heaven series.

Happy gaming!