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SelenicMartian
Sep 14, 2013

Sometimes it's not the bomb that's retarded.



From the makers of Folklore, Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom, and... Clash of the Titans: The Video Game comes the title which often shows up in the lists of the worst games of its generation. It was the swan song of the studio: a few months after the release the staff were scattered to the winds. Some of them ended up working on models for the current Pokémon games, The Evil Within, Resident Evil 7, and even designing battles for Bravely Default and Bravely Second. Knights Contract wasn't made by hopeless talentless idiots, and yet it failed.



Some dude at IGN says

quote:

Knights Contract is a miserable game that I hope you do not have the misfortune to play.
Ouch.



So, is it really that bad? Is it... poo poo?

Let's be optimistic! Let's find out! Let's solve the mystery of the missing possessive case in the title!

I am not planning to ace Knights Contract, we're simply getting through and admiring the scenery.

NO SPOILERS

MAIN CHARACTERS



Heinrich is a knight carrying a huge scythe to compensate for his small head. Normally, peasants would bend the blade of their scythe to turn it into a more handy spear, but Heinrich is not educated in the ways of peasantry, partly due to prejudice, partly because most of them have died of the plague. Our brave hero cannot be killed by anything apart from grief.



Gretchen is a witch. Well, technically, she is the soul of a witch, manning an artificial body. Gretchen is planning a big reunion party with her old witching buddies, and Heinrich got invited as the stripper.



Minukelsus is an apprentice alchemist (a nerd) and the funny sidekick who hasn't earned a proper promotional artwork. He's quite spry for someone wearing the period's equivalent of a hazmat suit.

UPDATES





















SelenicMartian fucked around with this message at Apr 24, 2018 around 13:05

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SelenicMartian
Sep 14, 2013

Sometimes it's not the bomb that's retarded.



Hello, and welcome to the show.



Death-Ridden Town


Our antagonist this evening is witch Straeggele.



It must be easy to fly on your inflated burned lungs when you've got so much flesh cut off.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me


I remember thinking the premise of this game seemed interesting, and I wanted to like it, but the more I looked at it, the more sure I was that it wouldn't be worth my time. Still, I look forward to seeing what it actually ended up being, and whether or not I was right.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009

Torches, to god-damned hell with torches! We have no torches. In fact, we don't need torches. I don't have to show you any stinking torches, you god-damned cabron and chinga tu madre!



Just from this first episode I can see that Game Republic should not have attempted medieval horror as an aesthetic. They'd been fine with a sort of oddball fantasy in Folklore or Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom, but this game instead looks like something out of the Mütter Museum.

Except that the Mütter Museum is awesome while Knights Contract just looks grimderp.

Also, for what sounds like a throwaway line the mention of Paracelsus is an anachronism of perhaps two centuries.

achtungnight
Oct 4, 2014

If I try to do it, they'll run their quill pins through it! I'm obnoxious and disliked... You know that, sir!


This brings back memories. I got this game off GameFly, beat it and all throughout Gretchen would constantly scream “Heinrich!!!!!” My wife would imitate her to needle me whenever I was playing until I returned the game. Good times.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Why's notGuts wearing all that armour if someone can just push their hand right through it?

CommissarMega
Nov 18, 2008


Is it all right if I posted the voice cast for this game, since it obviously reveals characters we haven't met yet? Because for such an apparently bad game, it's got a stellar voice cast.

SelenicMartian
Sep 14, 2013

Sometimes it's not the bomb that's retarded.

CommissarMega posted:

Is it all right if I posted the voice cast for this game, since it obviously reveals characters we haven't met yet? Because for such an apparently bad game, it's got a stellar voice cast.
The next update will pretty much spill out all the main plot, so it will be perfectly fine then.

SelenicMartian
Sep 14, 2013

Sometimes it's not the bomb that's retarded.





The Knight's Contract


Straeggele has a human side, too.



If that's the ribcage up there, does it mean the face grows from the pelvic area?

SelenicMartian fucked around with this message at Mar 1, 2018 around 14:35

Polyseme
Sep 6, 2009


SelenicMartian posted:





Knights Contract


Straeggele has a human side, too.



If that's the ribcage up there, does it mean the face grows from the pelvic area?

But [loading...] why?

EasilyConfused
Nov 21, 2009


So is the villain a time traveler or something? How does he know how the Black Death is spread?

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me


Magic?

LordGugs
Oct 16, 2012


Faust!?! RAPUNZEL!?!

Fiendly
May 27, 2010

That's not right!

Was the witch who was talking to Faust wearing a too-tight corset with zippers directly over the nipples? I've seen plenty of bad clothing design in games, but zipples might be the worst. The execution on that boss ruled, though.

Lord Windy
Mar 26, 2010


I'm excited to see where the 1s and 0 reviews will come in.

So far I'm kind of enjoying it. The plot is dumb sure, but I'm actually enjoying it.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me


Fiendly posted:

Was the witch who was talking to Faust wearing a too-tight corset with zippers directly over the nipples? I've seen plenty of bad clothing design in games, but zipples might be the worst. The execution on that boss ruled, though.

I liked this boss design in general because it is very weird and memorable, but zipples is the opposite end of what makes something memorable and weird. The bad end.

Also it seemed for a minute that Gretchen was saying Streggale (sp?) was the one witch Heinrich killed and then it is spelled out he killed Gretchen. I guess he killed all the witches?

Also, why would any witches be working with the dude who conspired to have them murdered for their fairy tale power macguffins? Clearly Faust has witch allies and they are committing mass murderers for some reason, but why would they work for him?

Unless he can resurrect and control them because he took their anime...

marshmallow creep fucked around with this message at Feb 28, 2018 around 05:01

Kibayasu
Mar 28, 2010



I had forgotten that alongside everyone chasing Modern Warfare there was a smaller set chasing God of War.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me


I'm happy we're by and large past that because I was sick of God of War after the second one and didn't need more of them.

Why can't there by more games chasing after DMC 3?

Zushio
May 8, 2008


This game is strange and it gives me this vibe like someone from Japan read the Clif's Notes for The Witcher. Then ran it though the anime filter.

Kitala
Sep 2, 2012

Not some opera floozy



The game gives me Bayonetta vibes, if Bayonetta was a drab-colored escort quest of a game. But between all the witches, the flashy viney spells, and that execution kill, definitely comes to mind.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me


Yeah I can feel that. It definitely still feels like a game made by the people behind Folklore, just not as charming.

Fiendly
May 27, 2010

That's not right!

Kitala posted:

The game gives me Bayonetta vibes, if Bayonetta was a drab-colored escort quest of a game. But between all the witches, the flashy viney spells, and that execution kill, definitely comes to mind.

I thought the same myself. Seems like it has a welcome top note of Bayonetta, but built on a base of that lovely Dante's Inferno game, which just got that "God of War but with a scythe" gameplay and objectification of women all over everything (Bayonetta also objectifies women, but in a cool, self-aware way).

Most damning of all is that Knight's Contract came out in 2011. I thought '07 or '08 for sure from how rudimentary and dull everything is, like this might have been a stepping stone for better action games of the generation. But no, it's just miles behind the games it's derivative of. This sort of sloppy design and reliance on a bad gimmick is totally my kind of poo poo, though.

SatansOnion
Dec 12, 2011



This might have been a cooler game if you could actually switch over and play as the witch, imo

being obliged to clear the path for my fragile, AI-controlled sometimes-helper wore out its welcome for me the first time I encountered it, in that SNES Rocko's Modern Life game

koolkevz666
Aug 21, 2015


The game might not be great but I find the story and setting interesting, at least it is a setting that I can't remember seeing in too many games before.

SelenicMartian
Sep 14, 2013

Sometimes it's not the bomb that's retarded.



Lots of wood in this one.



The Frozen Forest


Gretchen's default outfit is a clusterfuck of chaps, a battle bra and a quilted sleeve.



But at least it's optional.

Zain
Dec 6, 2009

It's only forever, not long at all


Yes!!! I LOVE THIS GAME! It's flawed but you gotta love what they were going for. Also hate that you beat me to the punch with this one.

White Coke
May 29, 2015


SelenicMartian posted:



If that's the ribcage up there, does it mean the face grows from the pelvic area?

Polyseme posted:

But [loading...] why?

It's, as Futurama would say, the lower horn.

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

by R. Guyovich


Hey listen here, Clash of Titans: The Videogame actually rocked.

Jobbo_Fett
Mar 7, 2014



Clapping Larry

Man, Zasalamel got old...

queserasera
Jul 10, 2014

These high-G injections have some serious side effects after pulling so many jumps.


If the first couple lore entries spell out exactly how Heinrich and Gretchen know each other and how Minukelsus figures into all of it, why not just start the game with the three of them traveling together and the contract already made? And Episode 3 provides an interesting setup: Heinrich's goal is a final death, Gretchen needs to keep him alive (and immortal) to meet her goal, but the pact seems to be what's keeping him from getting to his goal. I find that far more interesting than whatever Dr Faust (really?) and evil zipples witch have planned.

Sparda219
Nov 21, 2007

Just as some things can be right and useless at the same time, can't something be wrong and priceless?


I feel like with a little refinement on the details and the removal of Gretchen's life bar as a factor this might have been just an inoffensively enjoyable character action game with some pretty magic effects. The whole forced escort mission gameplay and the fact that there is literally nothing you can do to keep Gretchen from being hurt at times makes it a very hard sell. I'm still interested in watching where this goes but I would not want to play it. I'm enjoying some of the voice acting too, some pretty good names here.

I'm very much enjoying the presentation and Selenic's accent!

Sparda219 fucked around with this message at Mar 4, 2018 around 02:49

Mraagvpeine
Nov 4, 2014

I won this avatar on a technicality this thick.

It's disappointing to hear that the studio that made Folklore and Majin ended on such a sour note.

Fiendly posted:

Was the witch who was talking to Faust wearing a too-tight corset with zippers directly over the nipples? I've seen plenty of bad clothing design in games, but zipples might be the worst. The execution on that boss ruled, though.

From what I could tell, the witch was not wearing a corset and those were not zippers. If anything, it reminds me of Eva's outfit from Metal Gear Solid 3.

Dirk the Average
Feb 7, 2012

"This may have been a mistake."


queserasera posted:

If the first couple lore entries spell out exactly how Heinrich and Gretchen know each other and how Minukelsus figures into all of it, why not just start the game with the three of them traveling together and the contract already made? And Episode 3 provides an interesting setup: Heinrich's goal is a final death, Gretchen needs to keep him alive (and immortal) to meet her goal, but the pact seems to be what's keeping him from getting to his goal. I find that far more interesting than whatever Dr Faust (really?) and evil zipples witch have planned.

It looks like the contract is basically "if one of you dies, you both die"

That's, uh, not exactly much incentive for Mr. Death Wish to bother keeping the person who cursed him alive.

There's a whole lot of really stilted storytelling going on. They kind of do the whole show don't tell thing in parts with Heinrich removing an arrow through his heart in the intro, but then they have some frankly awful expository dialogue in other places. Some of it feels really silly too, like Gretchen's whole deal of being a nature witch followed by learning to conjure bear traps and dropping iron weights on people. There's also an odd bit of storytelling where Heinrich doesn't use a consistent weapon between the past and present. It makes it hard to recognize him as the same person. It's also a weird choice of weapon, and frankly he'd be better off keeping the two handed sword.

The escort mechanics are awful, the quicktime events have poor timing windows, that chase scene was stupidly punitive for no real reason, and the loading times kill what little of the experience still has any redeeming qualities.

I can understand why it got extremely poor reviews.

I wonder how much better the game would be if we played as Gretchen. Heinrich would be an autonomous tank who gets in the way of enemies, and since he's immortal, him going down and taking a nap isn't exactly a big deal. Make the hug mechanic into something where you take control of him and swing the scythe around yourself and you get rid of a lot of the aggravation. Really though it would probably have been best if Gretchen just possessed Heinrich and cast spells through him so that mechanically you were not immortal and didn't have to faff about with escort bullshit.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me


If the Knight's Contract was, "You're haunted, Heinrich" and Gretchen left her alchemical body with the noodly alchemist and was a ghost hovering over Heinrich's shoulder and casting spells through him, that could work. You could still have a gameplay dilemma in that your character is still immortal but you need magic to do your finishers and taking hits reduces your magic bar, which represents Gretchen's ability to work through you. Take a hit, and you disrupt her build up of spells, but you'll regenerate as she has time to focus.

May not be the best gameplay loop but I think it would beat what we got.

Alternatively, just map the dodge button to Gretchen and let Heinrich tank that poo poo. What does he care?

marshmallow creep fucked around with this message at Mar 4, 2018 around 13:27

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.


Clapping Larry

Was the studio just closing by this point and this was an attempt to get some money out of it?

SelenicMartian
Sep 14, 2013

Sometimes it's not the bomb that's retarded.

Glazius posted:

Was the studio just closing by this point and this was an attempt to get some money out of it?
Could have been a last ditch attempt to stay afloat? It closed about 4 months after the release.

Dirk the Average
Feb 7, 2012

"This may have been a mistake."


marshmallow creep posted:

Alternatively, just map the dodge button to Gretchen and let Heinrich tank that poo poo. What does he care?

Agreed. In the intro he literally lets himself get stabbed through the gut by some random mook before popping up and slaughtering them all when it doesn't take. There's a lot of interesting space to explore with someone who fights like that, but it gets left untapped.

Zushio
May 8, 2008


Dirk the Average posted:

Agreed. In the intro he literally lets himself get stabbed through the gut by some random mook before popping up and slaughtering them all when it doesn't take. There's a lot of interesting space to explore with someone who fights like that, but it gets left untapped.

I think they were trying to rip off Hellsing. Like 90% of fights in that start with Alucard getting destroyed then going berserk.

Augus
Mar 9, 2015






SelenicMartian posted:

Could have been a last ditch attempt to stay afloat? It closed about 4 months after the release.

They probably struggling going into this and ran out of steam mid-development, having to release the game in a broken state. That was very often the case last gen as smaller development studios were dropping like flies.

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EagerSleeper
Feb 3, 2010

by R. Guyovich


At first I was wondering why people were talking negatively about the character design in this game...

quote:



...Because this is pretty awesome in my own opinion. This is some good body horror right here.

quote:


And this sort of women's fashion design was groan-worthy, but unfortunately common enough in Japanese games. Guess I'm glad that I'm not the only one who thinks this is ridiculous.

quote:

Zipples appears

Woah hey, there we go. That's the bad stuff.

Other than that, the game's plot seems interesting enough to me. Just a shame that the gameplay lends itself to bullshit. Still enjoying the LP of the company that made Folklore's swansong regardless!

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