GamesCom: Knights Contract Impressions

By Lee on September 13, 2010, 11:35AM EDT
PS3X360

Knights Contract is a fantasy-themed single-player action game that sees the hero Heinrich fighting to protect a witch named Gretchen from all manner of hulking abominations.

Heinrich is a big, bulky witch-executioner cursed with immortality by Gretchen, the vengeful reincarnation of one of his victims. Plunged into a world plagued by monsters released by the nefarious Dr Faustus, Heinrich must protect Gretchen in the hope that his curse will be lifted.

Taking control of Heinrich, you can be temporarily incapacitated by enemies, but you cannot die. What this does, however, is leave Gretchen vulnerable to attack. She can offer a little resistance, she is a sorceress after all, but she lacks your strength. Leave her too long and her health, displayed at the top of the screen, will slowly be chipped away. When she dies, it's game over.

Heinrich himself has a range of melee attacks available to him. Vaguely reminiscent of the likes of Darksiders, Heinrich is armed with a suitably hefty sword-type-thing that he can waft around at the nasties. Gretchen, meanwhile, has some magic up her sleeve, the intention being that you will combine it with Heinrich's muscle to see off your aggressors.

It's not always about fighting however. Sometimes Heinrich and Gretchen will have no choice but to flee, with the executioner carrying the witch to safety through the game's Fantasy Medieval European setting.

Beyond that there are some light RPG elements that come into play, including some unlockable advanced combos for Heinrich and extra flashy sorcery business from Gretchen.

If it all sounds a little generic, that's because it is. There was a feeling of familiarity that hung over our demo. And while the Japanese developer was keen to stress that the team were taking their cues from Western games, it may be to Knights Contracts' detriment. Despite Japan's current malaise, we would rather see titles that reflect their own creative origins than those that attempt to offer a poor facsimiles of others.

Rather worryingly, the demo we were shown looked rough too, with some placeholder cut-scenes, and some unfinished graphical elements. We're willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, however, as the game currently has an undefined release date of next year. Let's hope they can inject Knights Contract with a little personality and craft before then.

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