From the moment I started Hollow Knight, I realized that I just had to see the journey through to its end. The beautiful graphics, eerie soundtrack and excellent combat made for a memorable experience, and one I'm keen to experience again in my second playthrough.
The world of Hollow Knight is an interconnected masterpiece. The varied biomes transition into each other in a way that felt completely natural. Whenever I felt comfortable with moving on from one place, the game revealed to me an area I was yet to fully explore - such is the world design of Hollow Knight. Through the different locations, you will come across friendly NPCs. These characters are your insight into the lore and story of Hollow Knight. These tidbits of narrative and lore are far and few between, yet well worth the trek. The story is a depressing one, filled with fallen heroes, diseases, and tragedies; but it also takes the time to tell of hopefulness and beautiful moments.
Speaking of beautiful moments, the hand-drawn art style of Hollow Knight is superb. There is a certain flair to the dreary color pallet the artists used. Small details like how grass falls to the ground when you cut them down, or how your Knight reacts to the damage it receives.
For all its beauty, Hollow Knight is a very difficult game. Not only in the combat, but even in the exploration mechanics. For instance, before you can track your progress on your map for an area, you need to find the area's cartographer. This NPC, named Cornifer, will sell you a map of your current area. When you buy the map, you also need to equip a charm that will track your progress in real time. This took me a while to figure out and it might be enough to turn away potential players. Other than the map system, the combat is brutal but fair. Your Knight starts out with only an Old Nail (Weapon) and the ability to heal itself with Soul. As the game progresses, you gain access to different weapons, abilities, and charms. Charms enhance your Knight by either increasing their health, spawning hatchlings to help you, or reducing the time it takes to heal. As with most Metroidvania games, certain areas can only be accessed with special abilities. This, thankfully, never breaks the pacing of the game.
If you prefer not to run all the way back to a previous area (I encourage this), you can use the Stagways to fast travel. Instead of just being a fast travel system, you can speak to the Stag (the beetle that you travel on) for insight into the area and some generally awesome text.
It is possible to miss entire chunks of Hollow Knight if you opt not to explore each area. The game encourages you to explore every nook and cranny of the world. The best part about the exploration? Not one single piece of optional content feels like filler. The secret areas and optional bosses felt like they contributed to the world and rewarded my curious side with either loot or more insight into the world of the game.
This brings me to my only gripe with the game. The large scale of the world, the map system, and no clear sense of where to go can be overwhelming and, dare I say, off-putting. For the first five hours, I was merely trying to figure out the game and all its systems. Before everything clicked into place, I felt like quitting the game several times. Luckily I didn't, but other players might not be as stubborn as me and miss out on an amazing game.
One last point worth mentioning is the music. Each area has its own theme and boss battle music. Instruments will change as you change screens and the soundtrack is beautiful and has quickly become one of my favorites.
Hollow Knight offers a great challenge while offering a fantastic story for those willing to look for it. The beautiful hand-drawn graphics, coupled with a great soundtrack, makes Hollow Knight a must play for any Metroidvania fan. The game can be overwhelming at first but, stick with it and you are in for one hell of an adventure.
Kingdom Hearts devotee, From Software fanboy and aspiring Audiophile (the good kind that believes in FLAC files). Vincent enjoys writing about games almost as much as playing them.
Please login to post comments.
12 June 2018
Latest ReviewsBrowse All Reviews