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Quick Look: Knack

Jeff samples Knack's punching and platforming but wonders if having "My Sharona" on loop is a step too far.

Sit back and enjoy as the Giant Bomb team takes an unedited look at the latest video games.

Nov. 14 2013

Cast: Jeff, Brad, Vinny

Posted by: Drew

In This Episode:

Knack

304 Comments

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beatnik11

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Edited By beatnik11

I think the game looks very pretty with a good use of vibrant colors and the game looks competent, but it also looks very boring to play. I can see the inspiration but I never really cared for platformers of the PS1 and 2 era. Also Knacks voice is sounds completely mismatched for the character design, to me it should be more light and cartoony instead of this deep self-serious voice they picked

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viking_funeral

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Edited By viking_funeral

This game is no Mario 64.

Edit: Is anyone else having the video continually skip back 1-2 seconds every 20 seconds or so? WTF?

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audiosnow

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Edited By audiosnow

The color and music make me want a really good next(this)-gen Fable.

C'mon, Pete, please? For me? Like, Fable 2, but even better?

EDIT: The "donate body parts to run machinery" aspect is like a horrible Abilitease, over and over again.

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Tidel

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I'm sad this is not the mash-up of Katamari Damacy and God of War it could have been.

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D_O_A

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Edited By D_O_A

I think this may be the first quick look of a game i was too unimpressed by whats being shown and generally bored to finish watching.

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HerbieBug

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Edited By HerbieBug

I had a very long day today. I took a nap earlier but I am still completely knackered. -____-

@viking_funeral said:

This game is no Mario 64.

Edit: Is anyone else having the video continually skip back 1-2 seconds every 20 seconds or so? WTF?

Switch to progressive instead of streaming. It's the shitty video player constantly adjusting your bitrate causing that issue.

edit--- this looks like a tech demo that was half assed turned into a sorta kinda full game. No direction. No heart. No soul. No fun. The character has no appeal. The gameplay is the most generic dreck. The most creatively bankrupt designed by committee... sorry. As I said it's been a long day. Still, this game offends me.

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RenegadeSaint

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Edited By RenegadeSaint

I was planning on picking this up on launch day since the PS4 only has two disc-based exclusives, but this is a tough sell at $60...

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Tblockkiller

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Is it as good as kameo?

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ajroo

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Edited By ajroo

This looks like a case of ....."hey guys....we need some games that will be definitely ready at launch...nothing to ambitious....just something competent that we can market as another exclusive PS4 launch option"

So there you go. It is what it is. Something to put in your PS4 if you dont like FPS's. Its definitely aimed at a younger audience if you ask me. The cut scenes are right out of Pixar or Disney.

Typical forgettable launch title. Ill play it, why not right. If i get bored ill stop playing it. 1st world problems, right?

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ChosenOne

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The outdoor stuff looked pretty good, would love to see a JRPG running on this engine.

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The_Ruiner

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Edited By The_Ruiner

Looks looks like a forgettable PS2 game. Not the graphics of course, but the character, the world, the design. But the combat is better than I expected.

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TopCat88

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Little disappointed to see the enemies fade away really. Next-gen whoooo...

That was my first thought. I appreciate that this isn't my sort of game anyway so regardless of its quality I probably wouldn't play it, but damn this looks dull.

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DorkyMohr

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Edited By DorkyMohr

This doesn't look that bad! I could get down with a precision/puzzle beat em up.

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Peanut

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This looks so dull. I figured people may have been being harsh on it, but god damn. I fell asleep twice trying to watch this.

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ritenthebredbox

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Knack is the PS4 Motorstorm I think

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courage_wolf

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Is this game supposed to be a throwback to original Xbox platformers? The art style and game play look like something Rare would have put out around 2004.

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mike

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Did the team get a design doc labeled "a game" with the just the words "make a game" in it?

Hah! Oh man...that was harsh but I just finished watching the QL and I was thinking exactly the same thing. That, and Knack looks like a PS3 game. I know it's a launch title, but come on.

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matsemann08

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Edited By matsemann08  Online

So this is kids Dark Souls?

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benderunit22

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The difficulty is honestly surprisingly harsh.

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Will_M

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Edited By Will_M

@sam_ said:

Truly, Knackst-Gen is upon us!

Knack it off already.

Also, all the weird magical technology of the character, Knack, and all you can fucking do is jump and punch? Occasionally use screen-clearing power? There have been like 50 puzzle-platformer indie games that are more interesting than this.

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ptys

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The game looks fantastic to me, you guys have obviously been spoiled with PC visuals for the last couple of years. The character design seems a bit off though, the support cast are more interesting than Knack himself, in the early stages anyway.

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CrocBox

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I don't know man, seems like it would be okay if I got it in a bundle or something, but not a game I would seek out on it's own.

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glots

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Edited By glots

Despite sounding like a broken record, I really, really hate the character design. I think I would be way more happy about this game with other visuals, even if it would otherwise be the exact copy of this game's mechanics.

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thomasonfa

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You know it is bad when Brad is telling you pro tips.

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BisonHero

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@noblenerf said:

Giant Bomb, you have once again predicted my Quick Look needs.

Well done.

Edit:

And now to fix the game: First off, make Knack a silent protagonist, physically incapable of speaking. At the end of the Chapter 1 tutorial, have him witness Tony Stark's evil nature. Since he cannot speak, he will be unable to tell anyone. Then his chapter 2 hostility towards Stark is explained and Knack is instantly more appealing. Make Knack's head a Stonehenge-esque statueface instead of a collection of relics, since he won't talk anyways. Designed well, this will make Knack more iconic.

Game/gameplay enhancements

  • Ditch Batman Arkham-style slowmo while finishing enemies. Unnecessary.
  • Improve camera transitions or else make the camera player-controlled.
  • Make inert bombs change to a different colour so players know they do not need to dodge them.
  • Give Knack more health, a parry, a guard, or allow him to re-absorb lost relics at the end of a combat encounter, some sort of addition to improve survivability and make the encounters and checkpointing less bothersome. In addition, checkpoint sun energy amount as well, so that it isn't such a gameplay crutch. Eurogamer's video Let's Play touches on this problem in the design.
  • Improve Knack's jump height and allow the Sonic air-attack to lock on to enemies at, or even slightly above where Knack is to prevent silly misses while using the technique. Scale physical abilities with Knack's size, so jump height and run speed increase as well.
  • Convert the slippery crystal cavern into an ice stage because wtf.

Next-gen showcase feature change: Enemies flee the scene instead of vanishing, a la the hummingbird. Destroyed enemies remain in scene, instead of vanishing. Convert awful cinematic jumps near the end of the quick look to actual gameplay. Have Doctor either stay near Knack as he progresses through a level, with Knack helping the Doctor scale some things, or else remove his presence from the level entirely. Teleporting cinematic moments are so last-gen.

While you're at it:

  • Why even have a misleading HP bar, when every fucking hit does 50% damage while you're small Knack? The HP bar should just be sectioned, the way that the health in Mario 64 is a circle separated into 8 pie slices, or the way that health in Super Mario Galaxy is a circle separated into 3 pie slices. Small Knack effectively has 2 rectangles of health (and most enemies small Knack encounters effectively do 1 rectangle of damage), while bigger Knack obviously has more. Presumably, some of those bigger goblin enemies might do something like 2 rectangles of damage. I think doing it that way would make it way easier to remember how much damage each enemy does. With the current implementation, every hit felt like "Holy shit, that enemy really does that much damage?"
  • Or maybe you're right and all the game needs is just higher max HP, or way more frequent health pickups/health regeneration, because Jesus Christ, the checkpoints (which also tend to be right after relic pickups) aren't that close together, and small Knack can basically only take a single hit between relic pickups.
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Twirpsalot

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So defeated enemies still disappear in 8th gen?

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Edited By dr_mantas

Knack pun!

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ministry4390

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@yukoasho said:

@kishinfoulux said:

@yukoasho said:

@mrfluke said:

yea its not MINDBLOWING NEXT GEN GAME,

but yea for what it is, it seems like a fun little game, and they just dont make these types of games anymore for me to be real mad at it.

If anything, it's the decline of these games that pisses me off. Once you get past the Mario Monopoloy, the whiny man-children that make up the overwhelming majority of the gaming media (and nearly the entirety of comment sections) go fucking nuts with white-hot rage if a game comes out that isn't "UBER GORE AND TITZ MATUREZ BROWN EXPLOSIONS MMLXIII!" We need more games like this, not less.

Uh yeah no.

And no we don't NEED more bad games. Knack is a bad game. Just deal with it man.

... I don't see a BAD game, certainly not compared to other launch games I've seen in my life. Looks better than Kameo: Elements of Power, that's for sure.

And yeah, I think we desperately need more non-realistic, less "mature" games. More titles that aren't trying to prove how gritty and serious gaming can be is always a good thing.

I'm not sure what makes you say this looks better thank Kameo. It looks infinitely worse.

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Jonnyflash80

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This game seems just average. It's not bad but nothing particularly special about it. Not a launch game I would buy.

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xanxus

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Yeah.. this looks like a mediocre game with surprisingly harsh difficulty settings. Do they honestly think this artyle looks good?

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Shaanyboi

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Wow... those cutscenes are SUPER fucking bland. And the mocapped super cartoony looking characters is REALLY fucking unappealing.

And yeah, the rest of the game looks really dull and uninspired.

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Shaanyboi

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Edited By Shaanyboi

@yukoasho said:

@mrfluke said:

yea its not MINDBLOWING NEXT GEN GAME,

but yea for what it is, it seems like a fun little game, and they just dont make these types of games anymore for me to be real mad at it.

If anything, it's the decline of these games that pisses me off. Once you get past the Mario Monopoloy, the whiny man-children that make up the overwhelming majority of the gaming media (and nearly the entirety of comment sections) go fucking nuts with white-hot rage if a game comes out that isn't "UBER GORE AND TITZ MATUREZ BROWN EXPLOSIONS MMLXIII!" We need more games like this, not less.

It has nothing to do with "gore and tits". This game has absolutely NO life to it.

In a year where we have had Rayman Legends, Wonderful 101 (different style of game but bear with me), and are getting Mario 3D World next week, all games that have an incredible amount of charm and appeal oozing out of every orificeice, this looks completely fucking generic and uninteresting in absolutely every facet of its design. From its bland art style to its mind-numbingly boring gameplay.

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Edited By SatelliteOfLove

I'm taking it the "too hard" from other reviewers on this game is meant to be taken as "balanced properly"...yet again?

A little too much from the Iizuka school of platformer design, though...

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When it is big, Knack (the character) makes me feel anxious, especially during cut-scenes. Like a trypophobic trigger that makes me uneasy and sick.

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heatDrive88

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This doesn't look fun...

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Uberleeto

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The most launchiest launch title that ever launched.

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dr_mantas

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Why does Jeff keep running straight at everybody?

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fox01313

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Edited By fox01313

Gameplay doesn't look too bad but the whole narrative so far in the quick look of the dude following you through the mission (while not helping but be a chatterbox at certain times) & Knack's voice just seem odd. Agreed with Vinny they should pitch shift the voice depending on the size but find that the move to keep a fixed camera angle rather a bad choice for the controls.

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RuthLoose

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Why does Jeff keep running straight at everybody?

Because his name is Jeff "Don't Stop For Nothin'" Gerstmann!

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noblenerf

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Edited By noblenerf

While you're at it:

  • Why even have a misleading HP bar, when every fucking hit does 50% damage while you're small Knack? The HP bar should just be sectioned, the way that the health in Mario 64 is a circle separated into 8 pie slices, or the way that health in Super Mario Galaxy is a circle separated into 3 pie slices. Small Knack effectively has 2 rectangles of health (and most enemies small Knack encounters effectively do 1 rectangle of damage), while bigger Knack obviously has more. Presumably, some of those bigger goblin enemies might do something like 2 rectangles of damage. I think doing it that way would make it way easier to remember how much damage each enemy does. With the current implementation, every hit felt like "Holy shit, that enemy really does that much damage?"
  • Or maybe you're right and all the game needs is just higher max HP, or way more frequent health pickups/health regeneration, because Jesus Christ, the checkpoints (which also tend to be right after relic pickups) aren't that close together, and small Knack can basically only take a single hit between relic pickups.

Good points. I think they kept their current health bar because larger Knack seems to have more resistance to small enemy damage, so they would have to rebalance the damage system for the entire game. Or else the health bar lies.

Mario-style health blocks would have been a much more sensible way to present Knack's health. They could have represented Knack's health using relics, with small and large variations to help maintain their current system.

Why does Jeff keep running straight at everybody?

Jeff said during the video that it was the only fun way to play. Also because he can't use Knack's super moves every encounter.

With the way enemies stagger while punched and Knack's reliance on avoiding damage, it almost seems like the game's designers wanted to have a Batman Arkham-style combat system but then decided against it partway through development.

I think the game looks very pretty with a good use of vibrant colors and the game looks competent, but it also looks very boring to play. I can see the inspiration but I never really cared for platformers of the PS1 and 2 era. Also Knacks voice is sounds completely mismatched for the character design, to me it should be more light and cartoony instead of this deep self-serious voice they picked

The Human characters look out of place. There are savage Goblins, mystical relics, and whimsical robots/machines in a fantasy landscape and we follow the adventures of - you guessed it - a cast of modern-day Humans that wouldn't look out of place in an animated kids movie.

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ackbarsoup

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So glad for quick looks cause I can confirm I have no interest in this one. I got my fill in those 55+ minutes.

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Arebuckle

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This doesn't seem bad. Most certainly not the best game ever and I wouldn't pay full price for it.

It simply looks pleasant.

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SpikeDelight

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Uh, is anyone else seeing that Pidgey...?

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paulosaurus

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This seems like an upresed PS2 launch title.

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Edited By OleMarthin

this is the most uninspiring game i have seen in a long time

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Seeric

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Knack looks like it's a largely solid platformer, but one which probably would have flown straight under the radar when it released only to gain a solid cult following later had it not been a launch title. Unfortunately, it's likely just going to be severely criticized instead of simply ignored simply because expectations are high.

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DeadFish

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The stars at 19:40 ... prophetic.