|PS3 / XBOX 360||USA|
By Spencer . February 8, 2011 . 2:03pm
I played through the opening of Knights Contract, Game Republic’s take on the brutal action game. The story begins with Heinrich thrown into a tutorial fight with monsters. He has your usual mix of swift scythe slashes, heavy attacks, and grabs where he impales undead monstrosities. One strange thing about Heinrich is he can’t jump, which may be an unsaid tradeoff for immortality.
Gretchen, a witch skilled with piercing ice magic, and Heinrich are paired very early in the game. For the most part, the computer controls Gretchen, but you can command her to cast magic. One attack makes ice spikes pop out of the ground, which seemed like defense against crowds. Another entangles an enemy in an icy prison. This seemed better suited for a small groups of heavily armored knight-like foes. Each spell has a refresh time, but Gretchen will attack enemies on her own when she isn’t channeling a spell.
In the intro level, both characters chase Straeggele who isn’t shy about showing her insides. The battle takes place on village ruins where Straeggele darts around in the air. Her fixed pattern fakes players out before flying like a banshee towards them. Heinrich can dodge roll out of danger, but sometimes Gretchen got caught in her path. This attack knocked Gretchen back to the lower level, which was now populated by undead hordes. Since Heinrich can’t jump I had to wade through the monster masses and climb up a ramp back to the boss fight. The key to keeping Gretchen safe is carrying her and then dodging. Picking up Gretchen has another bonus – her life bar and Heinrich’s refill faster while she’s in Heinrich’s arms.
Yes, even though Heinrich is immortal he can still take damage. As a test, I "killed" Heinrich by putting him in a corner surrounded by the knight enemies. Heinrich lost some of his limbs when his life meter emptied out and I had to mash a button to revive him.
The build of Knights Contract I played was fully localized in English. It seems like Game Republic’s title is ready for its February 22 launch date in North America.