неделя, 7 май 2017 г.

Hollow Knight - Is everything but hollow

I cannot say I am platformer fan. I have not played many emblematic titles from the genre and in general I have not played that many platformers. That said the genre have its place in my heart and after Ori and Blind Forest this place has become even bigger. But why I am babbling about all this? Well, so you can have an idea how much value this article will have for you. Now that we are done with the clarifications, come; let us decent into Hollow Knight.

Descend below Dirthmouth 

You are the enigmatic Hollow Knight. Your past is unknown, your future neither. Your travels...they have led you to Dirthmouth, silent, deserted place, the last stop before the road to the Forgotten Kingdom lying below. In its nature as I mentioned Hollow Knight is 2D action platformer concentrated on the exploration of a gloomy, but vivid and beautiful underground world. But your wandering is not pointless; it is not just a walk in the park. You are here to discover an ancient mystery and there are forces which does not want that. 

When I recently talked about Hollow Knight on another place I compared it to Dark Souls and because I am kind of proud with this comparison (which sadly turned out not to be unique to me :( ) so I plan to use it here too. 

So, what is typical for Dark Souls? Its hard, right? It has an interesting, but vague and far from necessary to follow story. What else? You collect souls, saves are done on checkpoints where you revive when you die and there are epic bossfights. Now let's look at Hollow Knight and compare it on those few points. 


Hollow Knight is far from Darks Soul's difficulty, but here as well as in DS you will easily die if you are not careful even against small enemies which you will meet everywhere. And while we are on the topic of enemies I want to express how impressed I am with the great variety of bad bugs. Variety which does not stop at different models. They have different moving patterns, attacks, behaviour and there are even such which will move randomly and bump into you if you are in the way. The best part may be is that in each area you will meet new unique bugs which you will have no idea what to expect from and how to approach which again brings me back to Dark Souls where I had the same experience with new enemies.

To fight all those you will have at your disposal only one weapon, but you will learn a good amount of skills and will find equipable charms which will give you even more abilities. 


The story in Hollow Knight is told in fragments and a lot of it is left for the players to decipher and piece together while progressing through the world. And this story is vast and intriguing, but it does not limit your progress in any way if you have no wish to follow it. But if you like this kind of storytelling I suggest you to try keeping up with it as its worth it. Because the nature of the storytelling you will have to walk around a lot and not only because of the story, exploration will bring you many benefits. You will find vendors which will then move to Dirthmouth, items, the cartographer(probably the most important) hidden areas and not to forget the only way to quick travel between areas the kind of which I leave to you to find. 

But what makes the exploration in Hollow Knight unique is that you do not have a map when you enter new area. You need to find the Cartographer and he will sell you map of the starting part of the area, but then you will have to buy a quill if you want to be able to update your map with the new areas you find. Also unless you are really good you will need a compass otherwise you will not see your position on the map. I was really tempted to try playing without compass for additional immersion, but the areas turned out to be too big and me being too bad to play effectively this way, but if you want you can try.


 Aside from the exploration and the struggle to piece together who you are and what has happened to the once great underground kingdom the other really exciting part of Hollow Knight are the bossfights. Together with the gloomy, melancholic atmosphere these fights are the other main reason for me to compare Hollow Knight to Dark Souls.
The bossfights in Hollow Knight are against massive creatures which while not looking as menacing as the ones in DS are as deadly and dangerous if you are not careful. The massive monsters you will face in Hollow Knight will always be stronger than you and only quick wit, reflexes and skill will help you be the one standing in the end.

Some concerns

Before going to the Conclusion I want to speak about some concerns you might have. You might skip this part if nothing worries you. 
Hollow Knight is very action oriented platformer therefor is important how controls behave. Fear not! The game's controls are perfectly responsive and tight I have never died because of slow response of my character (because of rushing and stupidity...many times). 
Another thing which people might find annoying is the fact you might need to farm money if you want to quickly buy everything offered in the shop. You will not need all of it immediately, but there are all kind of people out there. The farming is not hard and there are big minions, something like mini bosses, which will drop a lot of money when killed and will respawn every time you leave the area where they stand. Bosses will not respawn although they also give good amount of money. But again farming will be hardly needed and when time comes you will probably have most of the money you need at this moment. 

"It's a platformer, how much variety it can have?" A lot! I spoke about this already, but each area is different with different, thematic design, bosses and enemies.
Is it metroidvania? It is. For good or for bad there are segments where you will have to come back later when you have the appropriate skills necessary to traverse the area. Those are usually bonus areas which will contain money, items or story and will not be necessary for your progress, but might make it easier. 

Hollow Knight is an epic 2D action-adventure. You’ll explore twisting caverns, battle tainted creatures and escape intricate traps, all to solve an ancient long-hidden mystery. In this review I have compared it to Dark Souls and I know a lot of you are thinking about Salt & Sanctuary, but this is a totally different game. Salt was an action platformer, but it was still centred around the hard fights and there was very little platforming or exploration. In Hollow Knight you will have your share of jumping puzzles and great amount of exploring the unique world in which you have descended.  It's a healthy mix of Ori's jumping puzzles and Salt & Sanctuary's fight without taking any of those two to the extreme.
A must play for the fans of the genre.

Where to find:

Team Cherry Official site
Hollow Knight Official site
Humble Bundle

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