Reviews Adam Grochocki
Review: Knack 2 (PS4)
Knack 2 in the game database
Review: Knack 2 (PS4)

Knack, as a launch title on PS4, failed on several levels. The game neither showed the power of the console, nor was it impressive when it comes to the gameplay. It didn’t even manage to introduce the creature made out of artifacts into pop culture. Created without time pressure, Knack 2 tries to wipe off the negative first impression and show what it could be if things were different.

This time Professor Vargas is fading into the background, and the role of the main (human) character is to taken over by Lucas. The boy, with knack for exploration, happens upon the trail of Higher Goblins – a race much more civilized and technologically advanced than the ones known from the previous entry. While pretending to be Indiana Jones, something goes wrong: everlasting giant robots are waking up to life and the world is once again in great danger. The plot itself shows that the creators wanted to improve literally every element of the game. We have secrets, secret groups and, like in Disney animations, the lesson which sums up Lucas's blind aspirations to be more than a helper to the heroic Professor, and the whole thing is tied together by the mission to save the world. Such a plot is easy to like and can’t be ruined even by the not-so charismatic heroes, who came back in the sequel.

The locations have made it to the list of items to fix as well. The sad, empty corridors and monotonous sights are gone. Within fifteen chapters, Knack 2 is doing everything it can to offer us a great variety of places – from the narrow corridors of laboratories and factories, through mountain areas, to great castles. There’s always only one way from point A to point B, but now it’s much more interesting because the dexterity-testing elements are significantly expanded. Trap doors, moving floors, circular saws and invisible platform improve the platform sequences and effectively fight boredom.

From now on, Knack can strip of its relics and at any moment become less than a meter tall midget. Many simple puzzles require frequent size changes, so by pressing R1 fast you can throw away the collected parts, and by reusing the button you immediately bring Knack back to a larger size. Of course, you’ll continue to find sequences justified by the plot, where you control a 10-meter colossus and, like Godzilla, you fight with huge opponents. Various types of artifacts, both for combat and puzzles, are reappearing in the sequel. The Diamond Knack is invisible to lasers, the covered in polymers Knack conducts electricity and can switch on mechanisms with a spark, and the Massive Knack can handle heavy loads.

In one of the first chapters, the new heroine Ava says something like: How did you save this world? You know only two blows and one kick. The joke is to show that creators are aware of how poor the prototype was, and that they’ve worked on the fighting system. Along with the progression of Knack, he learns new moves to use in battle, and after activating a special crystal, he goes berzerk and in seconds can take down all the enemies. There’s even a skill tree, but it looks better than it works. Mostly you unlock various enhancements of the standard set of punches (greater strength, speed, regeneration), and truly new punches there are few. This could’ve been better.

Among the ton of patches and improvements, still there was room for something completely new. Knack 2 has a cooperation mode in which you can go through the whole game together with one partner. Just like in all the LEGO games, simply turn on the pad and press X to bring the blue creature into to the battlefield. It’s not a new character, but merely a clone formed from Knack’s relics, who has absolutely no justification in the plot. The twins share the same skills, and the experience and energy bars are refilled equally. The dexterity-based sections are more comfortable to complete for a singleplayer though, because the camera’s a bit confused when there are two characters and one of them falls to a lower level. Exploring and fighting with two players is pure pleasure, especially since there are several unique strikes in the cooperation that you can’t perform without a partner. And what if the other person gets tired of playing? He can simply turn off the pad or put it down for a while, and the game removes the clone and allows you to continue on your own. Without restarts, loading and making things unnecessarily bizarre. It's a really polished and perfected way to spend a few moments with your closest ones.

The performance problems of the first Knack have largely been resolved, but don’t count on the quality of PS4’s exclusive titles. The lands you visit are nice if you like to admire the background and don’t focus on the details. In cities, however, you see very poor building textures and backgrounds unworthy of 2017 games. Fortunately, the title throws us into more diverse locations than the original, and it’s not afraid to present monumental buildings and vast areas of land covering for the absence of “fireworks”. Unfortunately, even despite poor graphics, Knack 2 on PS4 can lose a dozen FPS in the most inconspicuous fragments. However, the good thing is that the creators decided to give us a choice by offering us the option to block the displayed frames at 30. Deciding to use such a move, the problem of the dropping framerate becomes sporadic, but still, there shouldn’t be a problem like that at all. One of the things that irritated me the most in the first part was Polish dubbing. Very badly chosen voices of characters and villains effectively made my ears hurt. And progress is here as well! Lucas sounds very natural, and Ryder isn’t so irritating anymore. Knack became a real talker and at the same time his humor sharpened, so his low voice fits perfectly.

Yes, Knack 2 made it! All the flaws from the original have been taken care of and finally we have what the first entry was supposed to be. None of the elements is above the "very good" level, but due to the varied gameplay and comfortable cooperation mode, this is a title that leaves only positive impressions. After nearly 14 hours adventure we’re facing the Coliseum mode, time trials and New Game+. As an addition there’s a great price, because even though Knack 2 is twice as good as its predecessor, it costs almost half as much on the day of the release. It’s a yes from me!

Knack 2
Out rating: 9.0/10
This time Mark Cerny has done it. The rule “bigger, better, more effective” puts Knack 2 a few levels above its prototype, and the low price makes the smaller problems unimportant.
  • Pros
  • Cooperation
  • Platform sequences
  • Plot
  • Cons
  • Framerate drops
  • Camera in co-op
knack 2 playstation 4 review sony japan studios

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