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Games : Give it a Rent
Ranking:
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Release Date: November 15th, 2013 Movie Release Year: 2013

Knack

Overview -

'Knack,' the PS4 launch title for the "rest of the family" as described by Mark Cerny. As the PlayStation 4 was building to its release, Mark Cerny quickly became a household name for PlayStation devotees. He was introduced at the PlayStation 4 unveiling event in New York City as lead architect, and became Sony's spokesperson for the next generation gaming console. Leading up to this prestigious role it should be remembered that Mr. Cerny held a number of additional gaming titles during his career: Producer ('Sonic the Hedgehog 2'), Executive Producer ('Crash Bandicoot'), and Design Consultant ('Resistance: Fall of Man', 'Uncharted: Drake's Fortune', 'Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction'), to name a few. Where he may be most recognizable for his significant contributions to the PlayStation 4 design, his gaming roots are what accommodated for his role as Gaming Director for the PlayStation 4 launch (and new IP) title – 'Knack'.

OVERALL:
Give it a Rent
Rating Breakdown
VIDEO
AUDIO
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p
Audio Formats:
Dolby Pro Logic II
Release Date:
November 15th, 2013

Video Review

Ranking:

There is little doubt that 'Knack' is a next generation videogame. The 1080p visuals are quite impressive and it has grand ambitions to rival even the best of Disney and Pixar animations. While child-like in overall design, the characters are comically created and the colors are vibrant and pleasing to the eye.

Although the environmental variety is fairly impressive – indoor castles, underground caverns, mountainous hillsides – the level design is repetitive and boring. There was very little interactivity in the environments that could have made 'Knack' an even more powerful looking next generation title.

With 'Knack' being a new IP, I feel the developers missed out on a wonderful opportunity to make this new world stimulating and fresh. Instead, they relied on the comforts of being safe, never straying far from what one might expect from a platforming brawler.

Audio Review

Ranking:

The game's use of DTS Digital Surround sound is nicely presented. The audio is consistently smooth between character voice-overs and intense battles, and makes full use of all channels. When Knack's giant size comes into play his footsteps are thunderous and booming. However, there is nothing exceptional or overly impressive with the audio. Again, everything about the development of 'Knack' is safe and risk-free, never fully living up to its potential. This is a world inhabited by goblins, mechanized robots, and colorful characters, yet everything is presented in a format that gamers have heard hundreds of times before.

I do appreciate the developers making use of the DualShock 4's built-in speaker. Although limited in scope, it adds a deeper level of immersion when new relics are added to Knack's size. Objects that are destroyed and pulled into Knack's body sound as if a long line of Dominoes were tipped over. This fairly simple audio technique added a three dimensional layer to an otherwise bland experience.

New IPs can be a risky proposition. Add a new console into the mix and the idea becomes even more daunting. Although I applaud the developers of Japan Studio for taking this risk, 'Knack' simply was unable to live up to expectations, and its difficulty negates its possibilities as a great family title. The story was less than exciting, the gameplay was repetitive, and the entire experience felt like one big missed opportunity as a flagship game for the PlayStation 4. 'Knack' has some interesting moments, but they were short lived and never fully realized. Gamers picking up a PlayStation 4 shouldn't cross 'Knack' off their list, but they may want to start with a different title.

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