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Knights Contract

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1 Knights Contract on Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:02 am

Birdman


Moderator
I never knew this game existed until a few days ago? Why does this excite? It's made by Game Republic, who made Genji and Folklore. Genji is one of my favorite games.

It looks pretty good.

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2 Re: Knights Contract on Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:17 am

Wonder when someone was gonna add this. I've known about it for awhile but not in depth at all. Suppose I'll pick up a copy.

It's cool to see an escort mission:THE GAME. Sort of like RE4 with Ashley.

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3 Re: Knights Contract on Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:24 am

Birdman


Moderator
Mechanics seem interesting in that regard. I've never seen a game where you can actually pick up and carry your AI partner. That alone would make me want to play it just to see, but more that Genji is so good (not the PS3 sequel) that I'll try anything by this company.

I bet it's not as bad as whiners say, and that there's far more to the combat than they know of. It actually looks really smooth especially compared to Darksiders. Why is it Japanese action games are usually so much better animated?

Edit: Was looking up some more videos and found our good friend AHkeon has done some nice glitching in this. Also interesting to see another game with a grapple option.

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4 Re: Knights Contract on Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:05 am

@Birdman wrote: Why is it Japanese action games are usually so much better animated?

Talented and experienced animators and game designers. These types of games western devs don't make as many so I suppose the details are lost.

Animation philosophy/tutelage  I guess, Japanese games have that visual flair to them, flashy particle effects and such. Look pretty anime.

Usually Japanese teams are fairly small so many of the same names tend to pop up, industry vets like PG animators had their hands on many capcom action games and the like, lots of time to hone their craft.

Animators and designers need to work together to make sure animations are well suited to the gameplay, so say Bayo animations are extremely fast as the game demands you attack and dodge on a whim and performing long combo strings will complete faster with quick animations.

Art direction is key also, Darksiders is kinda generic chunky space marine fantasy without the subtle nuances to say Bayo design and movements that suit her personality and gameplay function.

In short, Japanese action games largely animate better because they're designed better, or something.

Anyway, we're sounding like weebs now, Roy is Mr. Animation Director(also known as director of animation) so he would know.

>Grapple options
Try Rygar, Death by Degrees, Wolverine origins uncaged edition, Guacamelee(2d extensive grappling combat) and Urban Reign(this grappling is quite extensive). Some games have a grappler character like Sengoku Basara.

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5 Re: Knights Contract on Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:37 am

Birdman


Moderator
I have Rygar and DbD.

I dont actually like the style that much, unless it's done in a cool way like Devil Bringer. Pandora's Tower is really good. Have you played it?

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6 Re: Knights Contract on Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:20 am

We should save grapple stuff for another topic, since I was gonna ask what you thought of GoW grappling(save it for those topics).

On topic; does this game have grapples?

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7 Re: Knights Contract on Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:28 am

Birdman


Moderator
Yeah I saw some in a video but not much. Not sure how they work.

Chaos Legion has an assist where the legion Hatred appears and grabs the enemy's attack then slams them. Different enemies have different animations. Even some bosses can be grabbed and it's ridiculous. It works like a counter. Just press triangle to intercept an incoming attack. Doesn't work on every attack though.

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8 Re: Knights Contract on Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:35 am

Probably QTE sequences like GoW.

EDIT: I've seen some gameplay, it's funny it does kinda look like a Japanese darksiders, big chunky man with scythe. Grapples look a bit like GoW, I've seen you can grab then boot a zombie, or do a shoulder charge with them. Along with executions which seem to involve magic.

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9 Re: Knights Contract on Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:26 pm

I believe Ahkeon actually talked about this game with me once during a stream, he quite liked it. Should see if he chimes in, it looks interesting.

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10 Re: Knights Contract on Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:29 am

AKheon


D-Rank
Oh dear Lord, Knights Contract... >_>

I like to think of Game Republic as a sort of unsung hero of hack 'n' slash since they made so many games in this genre. It's unfortunate most of their work is deeply flawed one way or the other, resulting in many frustrating but still oddly memorable gaming experiences. Knights Contract definitely belongs in this category.

Knights Contract is one of only three games Jim Sterling has refused to rate because they're so bad, and I can definitely understand his point of view. The single biggest source of frustration is the escort character Gretchen. She has zero self-preservation skills. She barely dodges enemy attacks on her own, her pathfinding takes her into lava or other dangerous level elements frequently, she can get stuck on level geometry, she can get knocked off platforms to her doom... she can even get stuck behind fight barriers as they emerge, separating her from Heinrich indefinitely (this can lead to a game over). There's little positive about having to drag her with you through most of the game.

The game wants to be a somewhat stylish, competitive hack 'n' slash. After all, why else would they have a combo / level ratings system like in Devil May Cry? But the game is so rough around the edges and buggy that it's not worth it to play like the game intends you to. You get massive penalties to your score for death, and since you WILL get game overs frequently because of Gretchen, or other "features" of the game like floor arbitrarily missing in one of the boss fights... or the extremely finicky QTE-sections at the end of boss fights... it kind of sours the whole point, doesn't it?

Heinrich is a burly guy and the gameplay in general has a nice, appropriate feel to it, but I would argue that the movelist is somewhat imbalanced and Heinrich is overall surprisingly weak (considering he's a hack 'n' slash protagonist after all). Fighting anything takes really long without Gretchen's magic to help you. The best thing he got is a certain downsmash move you learn late in the game which does outrageous damage. Whenever there's a need for melee, this is the main attack you'll be using (in a speedrun, at least).

I'm not sure whether to call it a good speedgame either. It has a ton of loading time, frustrating RNG and downtime where nothing interesting happens. The main saving grace is a glitch that allows you to go through most walls in the game by using Gretchen's nudity-involving special. Yes, nudity and glitches are inseparable in Knights Contract, which... almost makes it sound awesome.

For the game's credit, the art direction is good and especially the soundtrack is excellent - it has since become one of my favorites. If I had to describe the music in one word, it would be "elegant". It's like Romantic-era classical music (although I'm no expert on this) and most of the songs are in 3/4 time, like waltz. The biggest drawback is that the loop lengths are somewhat short, resulting in some songs becoming a headache while actually playing the game. Yeah, even when Knights Contract gets something right, it gets it wrong...

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11 Re: Knights Contract on Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:20 pm

That sucks, told it to us straight AKheon, no if and or buts. I can see from gameplay what you mean, seems like a chore most of the time, she just wanders around while your in combat. One needs to really know what their doing to pull of escort missions as they seldom execute well. RE4 is an exception as it does Ashley well, many times you can stuff her in dumpsters so she's a non-issue.

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12 Re: Knights Contract on Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:19 pm

Birdman


Moderator
I dont know. It looks like there's more to it. Im going to buy this. Im really interested in these carry mechanics.

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13 Re: Knights Contract on Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:34 pm

There's nothing to it, you pick her up and put her down, then she runs off on her own accord and mobs go for her all the time, its really bad. She's a massive burden since you have to plonk over to her during combat and she'll just run off again once you put her in a safe place.

I'll try this sometime soon to see, I'll have to stomach it but it looks to have some merit, I appreciate an attempt at the concept.

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14 Re: Knights Contract on Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:23 am

Birdman


Moderator
There is more to it just as I thought. Did some research and found these.

*Hold R1 and she runs over to you.
*She can still cast magic while being held.
*She can dodge but only when you do and from what I've read it might not happen every time. Possibly hidden mechanics.
*You can dodge while holding her.

So it's not nothing. Genji has a whole melee system that no one knows about because they were too busy spamming Kamui. Could also be the case here.

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15 Re: Knights Contract on Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:37 am

Alright that sounds more like it! Well I'll race you to The Knacktics Grand Prix: Knights Contract Edition!

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16 Re: Knights Contract on Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:24 am

Birdman


Moderator
Sadly I might not have the game anytime soon. It's not available and I don't buy from American or UK sellers so my only option is Playasia. They have new copies still for like $80.

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17 Re: Knights Contract on Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:37 am

AKheon


D-Rank
Sure, give it a try if you want. If you enjoy Game Republic games, Knights Contract will be relevant to you on some level. (Folklore is the only Game Republic release on PS2 / PS3 I'm missing myself.)

About Gretchen's / carry mechanics:

Gretchen attempts to dodge in time with Heinrich, but it doesn't seem entirely reliable.

Holding R1 calls Gretchen over to you and Heinrich will pick her up automatically if she's in range AND Heinrich is either idle or running.

There are two Gretchen pick-up animations: one when standing in place, one while running. The former is somewhat clunky and stops Heinrich in place for a second. Dropping Gretchen is instantaneous as far as Heinrich is concerned, and happens automatically when doing attacks (even when casting magic, I think) or getting hit.

You have different evade-animations while carrying Gretchen. I recall that they don't combo into anything, unlike Heinrich's regular evades.

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18 Re: Knights Contract on Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:48 am

@Birdman; How come you don't buy from American or U.K. sellers?

Mind if I send you a copy? Free of charge.

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19 Re: Knights Contract on Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:51 am

Birdman


Moderator
To far from my country and too much can go wrong. I did buy a book off of Amazon once got here fine but took over a month.

Playasia ships fast even when using cheaper shipping methods, packs their stuff properly and has never let me down. Been buying from them for longer than I can remember.

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20 Re: Knights Contract on Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:16 pm

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21 Re: Knights Contract on Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:24 pm

Birdman


Moderator
Looks like they've carried some mechanics over from Genji. That grab seems very similar to Benkai's grabs, though his were impaling an enemy on his spear and from there could kick them off or throw them in a direction.

Gameplay looks really fast and smooth too. I need to get this.

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22 Re: Knights Contract on Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:30 pm

I think the game wants you to use magic against mobs to instant kill them, I'm seeing a lot of that in this vid around 14:00 onward you'll see a few magic finishers. Haven't looked into grabs but the boot may be useful.



*It has a chapter select.

*Life for both of you regens when you hold Gretchen, your dodge roll becomes a dash also. Magic regens automatically.

Suggested improvements:

*You have no wait/hold position command which would alleviate a lot of the trouble of her getting too close to foes or hazards.

*Give her a shield move or some such defensive move, let her activate a shield barrier around her for a limited time, maybe have it take limited hits. Have it deflect enemy attacks or if summoned at the right time be a parry. Something like that is sorely lacking. She gets all up in your grill while squaring off with goons so she will always get hit due to that. She's a ranged magic user so there's no practical need to be so close quarters.

@Birdman; For your sake, maybe don't hype this up so much, game has some very blatant flaws that can't be ignored, hidden tech or not. Still I'd lie if I say I wasn't looking forward too it.

Also who are these 'whiners'?
Gamefaqs?(yeh I've seen some threads, partially justified ones with hyperbole)

Jim Sterling?(jokes, jokes)

AKheon or me?(if so, fight me gramps ;p)

Games fairly obscure for such whiners to be so present. That said it does have some terrible areas/encounters/AI that don't do the combat/escort systems any justice, and I can see how infuriating higher modes would be. For example, QTE sequences for bosses have reduced input windows, but are the same each attempt, easily alleviated by rote memorisation and watching relevant footage.

@AKheon; how extensive was your playtime? Did you try higher modes? Could you explain the magic system?

It seems to have a lot of emphasis on using magic for instant kills, could you explain this please? They seem damn useful if not OP.

Grabs also, any notes?

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23 Re: Knights Contract on Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:37 pm

AKheon


D-Rank
You get new magic from completing certain levels and you can upgrade magic a few times using the currency that you get by beating enemies. It's a pretty basic gear / upgrading system, similar to something like God of War.

You can put 4 different magic on quick selection. Magic is based on cooldown, and you can get two gear later on which reduce the cooldown by 25% and / or 50% (the effect overlaps). They're the best gear in the game since magic is generally so powerful. Switching a new magic will start its cooldown from 0, so there isn't strategic use for doing this during fights.

There are some magics that Gretchen can cast on her own as well as a few that need Heinrich's cooperation. The most powerful magics require Heinrich, which is a bit annoying as it prevents some multi-tasking, plus these magics are disabled during the few levels where you're playing as Gretchen solo.

If you lock on to enemies you can see their health bar. Once the health is in the yellow, casting certain magics will cue a QTE, succeeding in which insta-kills the enemy with a stylish execution move. Bosses can get damaging special QTEs from magic in some conditions too.

Yeah, you can't give any commands to Gretchen. She's just set to automatically follow you all the time.

I played and glitched the game a lot (over 100 hours most likely), and eventually did a NG+ speedrun of it. I haven't played the higher difficulties very much, but I've heard (and can somewhat verify) that the timing for QTEs actually becomes harder on the more difficult modes. (They're a pain on Normal already, so that would mean you literally have to memorize the sequences beforehand to have any hope of beating them on Hard or above.)

You can only grab bipedal humanoid enemies. You can carry them around for a short while, do basic slashes to them, throw them away, slam them down or dash against enemies with 'em. It's somewhat similar to Kratos' grabs against Legionnaires. There's also an air grab animation for airborne foes that has no options beyond a basic ground slam.

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24 Re: Knights Contract on Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:17 pm

Birdman


Moderator
The concept of moving with a grabbed enemy reminds me of a game where I'm sure you can do this and other stuff. I just need to remember what it was. I know it was on PSP but this was so long ago I actually forgot PSPs existed.

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25 Re: Knights Contract on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:41 pm

AKheon


D-Rank
I've returned to this game since I'm planning to improve on its any% NG+ run. Generally, I still think it's a pretty terrible game, but it has a lot of heart, and a part of me really enjoys it. They just don't make games like this anymore.

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26 Re: Knights Contract on Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:03 pm

There are, maybe not exactly but you just have to look for them. Well what do you mean like this? Games that aren't technically competent in design but display a quality of earnestness in an attempt to try something experimental or out of the developers practical confines.

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27 Re: Knights Contract on Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:05 am

@AKheon wrote:I've returned to this game since I'm planning to improve on its any% NG+ run. Generally, I still think it's a pretty terrible game, but it has a lot of heart, and a part of me really enjoys it. They just don't make games like this anymore.

That last sentence really rings true to me. I've been playing more PS2-era titles lately and also some early X360-era games and the oddballers just have something most AAA games these days lack. Mostly their drive to try new and weird things. Sure they aren't the best of games, but they are usually dripping with personality.

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28 Re: Knights Contract on Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:53 pm

AKheon


D-Rank
@Gabriel Phelan Lucas wrote:Well what do you mean like this?

Well, the game is a dedicated hack 'n' slash, for one. It also has quite an original feeling to it, and a lot of daring. I think it had the potential to be great with some more polish and improvements.

Off the top of my head:

- Most critically, the ally A.I. ought to be much better.
- The levels 12-15 are a lazy palette swap of earlier levels... did they run out of level design budget?
- Combat is slightly barebones as well as unbalanced.
- Most thrown projectiles act in strange ways and may or may not hit enemies, among other bugs.
- Loading times are rather long.

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29 Re: Knights Contract on Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:01 am

Ok, can you explain why the combat is lacking and unbalanced? From what I’ve seen I can imagine what you mean.

On the mater of games that are unique/different/original: Just because a game is different somehow, doesn’t mean it’s well designed. Just different from its contemporaries, has something unique to offer, doesn’t mean it’s competent. I’d say an example is Breakdown, games pretty jank and poorly designed in many respects but it’s definitely a unique mix of immersive jank first person combat, jank shooting and jank platforming that was innovative for the time. Or Bullet Witch. Just wanted to make that point, not really to anyone.

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30 Re: Knights Contract on Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:24 am

@Gabriel Phelan Lucas wrote:Ok, can you explain why the combat is lacking and unbalanced? From what I’ve seen I can imagine what you mean.

On the mater of games that are unique/different/original: Just because a game is different somehow, doesn’t mean it’s well designed. Just different from its contemporaries, has something unique to offer, doesn’t mean it’s competent. I’d say an example is Breakdown, games pretty jank and poorly designed in many respects but it’s definitely a unique mix of immersive jank first person combat, jank shooting and jank platforming that was innovative for the time. Or Bullet Witch. Just wanted to make that point, not really to anyone.

I'd personally rather play a badly designed game that has a lot of heart and tries new things, and sometimes fails at them, then play another cookie-cutter by the numbers game that I've seen a billion times over. I really miss those types of games. PS3 had a ton of them, but they seem really rare now. Titles like Alpha Protocol are a great example of this. Such a brilliant game that tried a lot of great things.

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31 Re: Knights Contract on Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:25 am

AKheon


D-Rank
The combat isn't bad - it has a nice touch to it and generally works fine. But it has at least the following limitations and unbalanced things to it:

- You only have a single weapon and a fairly limited moveset during the entire game.

- The game is designed so that you absolutely have to rely on Gretchen's powers because Heinrich is weak by himself. Heinrich basically only has a single combo that deals respectable damage, and it isn't unlocked until the later half of the game.

- Aerial combat is somewhat undernourished, and most players probably don't even discover it exists. The game doesn't mention it at any point. The only reason I found out about it myself was because I experimented with the slowly opening movelist around the half-way point of the game.

- At the end of a regular playthrough or NG+ you can forget about 80% of your magic arsenal, because the few top-tier magics are so powerful that they outrank everything else.

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32 Re: Knights Contract on Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:15 pm

Birdman


Moderator
Honestly this game sounds really similar to Genji in a few ways.

Genji had only one sword type and a limited set of attacks (Benkei has 2) and there are mechanics that from what Ive seen no one but me knows about because I played it for months straight. The game tells you how to use Kamui but nothing else.

Relying on Gretchen doesnt seem like a bad thing. Is it that or the fact that her AI is bad?

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