Knights Contract is a new Hack and Slash title by the developer Game Republic.
Dispite almost always coming off under the radar, Game Republic have actually proved to be quite a capable developer with overlooked titles that generally come to be regarded as hidden gems somewhere down the road. They are the team behind Folklore early in the PS3's life and more recently bought us the wonderful Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom.
Knights Contract at first glance looks like yet another attempt from the Japanese to appeal to the western market and will most likely be compared to God of War from people on the fence, yet not much in the know. In actual fact, Darksiders would be a better comparison, but as always, Knights Contract still has tricks up its sleeve to set it apart from its competition.
You star as the hulking executioner Heinrich, a witch hunter who for 100 years has been cursed with a spell of immortality. Expect a wild ride through the middle ages as you track down and face the ressorected witches you slayed so long ago.
Heinrich's curse acts as a tool for a gameplay mechanic that this game claims as its own. Seeng as the main character cannot die, the threat of "Gameover" moves instead to your trustful, witch sidekick Gretchen, almost the entire game is one big escort mission as you fight side by side in order to keep her alive.
Controls are good for the most part, Heinrich moves as he looks, a hulking piece of meat, yet slicing into many a foe couldnt be more smoother. Then in steps Gretchen who allows for spells to be cast in conjution with your melee to create impressive and complex combo's you will need in order to survive.
Sadly the game is not without flaws, the camera at times can be a true nightmare, while its not too bad when hacking away at small fry, some of the more fixed shots on a boss or two can really make things difficult, then brings us to the biggest flaw of the game, its QTE's. Anyone playing games over the past few years knows what a QTE is, a poor attempt at gameplay by slipping in mininal interactivity while trying to show off some glorious, hollywood movie like setpiece. Now normally i let these slide, but in Knights Contract the QTE's at the end of boss fights have such a tiny window for you to react that it will most certainly end up throwing you back into the boss fight on more than one occasion, bosses then tending to regain a good 30% of thier health for you to try again.
If you like these types of games, Knights Contract actually has a lot to offer, dispite clearly not being close to as polished as God of War III, it does have a deeper combat system in place, then again that goes for most seeing how shallow GOW actually is.... I think Darksiders, Ninja Gaiden and most certainly Bayonetta are better H&S options if you dont like to take a risk, but if, like me, you have played all thats come before it, Knights Contract is well worth a playthrough.