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TOPIC: Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight 16 Jul 2018 10:05 #277669

So... Hollow Knight (on every system, pretty much). I'm about 40 hours in, 97% completion. Here's my proto-final thoughts.

I think this is probably the best metroidvania type game I've ever played. But what's weird is that I do not consider it as innovative as many, many other metroidvania style games. It is quite a straight ahead affair. All the powerups you get are stock standard predictable, double jump, super dash, etc. Yet, even though the bones are the same as most other metroidvanias, it differs in that it requires you to master the systems, especially in the optional content.

That's where the Dark Souls comparisons come in. It has a souls system (geo) and a go get your body thing, just like Dark Souls. That works and everything, but I think the more relevant comparison to souls, and why I think this is the best game of its style, is because it requires you to master the systems involved. Sure, you may have gotten double jump. But did you master its use? Its combinations with other powers? This game, especially in the bonus stuff, will test you on that. The combat, also, will test your skills and your ability to put together a coherent loadout of upgrades. This is classic souls stuff---in my opinion, most souls bosses aren't ball-bustingly hard so much as they require you to observe and prepare. You can't go into a mid-game souls boss and consistently beat it on your first try by just relying on your reflexes. You actually have to watch their moves, tailor your build, and create a creature specific strategy. This game does that in spades and in a genre that generally doesn't require it. As a result, it is incredibly rewarding.

Obviously, none of this would work if the mechanics weren't top notch. And I'd say all the mechanics are a notch tighter in terms of execution and timing than the average game in the genre, even classics like symphony. You are consistently able to execute what you want to do, and if you fuck up it has that quality where you feel like you made a mistake and want to try again. I tried one of the late game optional fights in this game 25 or so times and got frustrated at times, but ultimately prevailed because I felt like when I died I had done just a little bit better than the time before.

Though that's the main thrust of my pitch, the rest of the game is great too. The visuals and animation are amazing and, more importantly, they are quite creative. Music is great. Overall, the game is bug themed and oozes style. That helps the environmental storytelling, which is also top notch in this game. Different zones each have their own story and their own flavor, and like souls most of the story is told through brief conversations and reading details of the environment and short vignettes. Later, you get a very cool item which you can hit things with that reveals a neat layer of motive. Overall, it's a much more straightforward narrative than post-dark souls 1, though, which I think on balance is a good thing. I think especially dark souls 3 is too far in the intentionally obscure plot direction.

Anyway, that's all I got. AMA. I hope you give it a shot... also, persevere through any early confusion, the game is pretty open in terms of its order and at first you don't have too many powers so it feels a bit simplistic. It will ultimately test your skills quite a bit, especially if you do any optional content---base encounters are tough but not overly so, so it is well balanced in that respect.
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Hollow Knight 16 Jul 2018 10:25 #277673

Generally, we have some of the same tastes in video games and the metroidvania style is some of my favorites. I am heading to Boulder next week to teach a week long seminar, so I might download this to play in my downtime (also thinking about taking the Nintendo Classic and actually playing Castlevania and Metroid -- been about 27 years since I beat Dracula)
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Hollow Knight 16 Jul 2018 10:34 #277675

it's the best one you've ever played? You know who got me into Symphony of the Night? Our very own Ken B. And holy christ was he ever right. I couldn't believe how amazing that game was and I don't even like that type of game very much. It was sooooo deep and I loved finding new weapons and shields and stuff.

I even got halfway though the inverted castle bonus level before finally giving up on the game (SO HARD), but i haven't played any other game in that genre which has come close. Maybe I should look up Shovel Knight at some point.
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Hollow Knight 16 Jul 2018 11:15 #277679

That's my question: how does it compare to SHOVEL KNIGHT?

ps, the best CASTLEVANIA is DAWN OF SORROW
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Hollow Knight 16 Jul 2018 11:44 #277682

I'm playing Hollow Knight right now and it's just so goddamn good I can't deal with it.
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Hollow Knight 17 Jul 2018 20:15 #277802

Just finished White Palace, which is a real motherfucker. Like a series of meat boy platforming levels.

It's a bit less mechanically complex than Symphony, fewer RPG mechanics. It's really more like super metroid in the number of moves, etc... but not quite. It has charms, which are like your bonus powers or spells. But you can only equip a limited number of them so it isn't extreme. They end up being your spec, basically, if you've played souls. Overall, it really leans on your combat and platforming skills, mostly with a basic metroidvania moveset. It's surprisingly basic even till the end

Ultimately, Jeb, I like it better than Shovel Knight but it's trying to do a different genre which I like better.

I'm at 105% completion, the DLC added 7%. I'm doing completetionist shit I only do in Dark Souls games. It never stops throwing new enemies (not just palette swaps) at you. It has 149 enemy types!
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Hollow Knight 20 Jul 2018 13:58 #277997

I'm still early on, but yeah, it's definitely good.

I'm finding myself not loving either the d-buttons or the joystick. The game demands that you be very good at slashing down and immediately moving left or right, and I find that making the transition from holding down while airborne and then quickly to left or right is really difficult for me, and I miss that move a lot.

I have this nasty feeling that I'm likely to hit a difficulty wall at some point and not be able to get around it. You know, just like always happens to me with difficult games in the souls style with no difficulty sliders. Still, I'm planning to enjoy it until I hit that wall.
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Hollow Knight 20 Jul 2018 19:28 #278019

I think if you stick with the regular storyline bosses and don't try to do the optional stuff you'll be able to do it, fwiw.
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Hollow Knight 20 Jul 2018 21:56 #278025

Hopefully, but we'll see. I mean, I've never managed to finish any Souls game, and I've put decent time into all of them except Dark Souls 2, so I don't have high hopes.
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