Author Topic: Hollow Knight  (Read 4210 times)

Hollow Knight
« on: June 13, 2018, 09:56:41 PM »


Right, so it's probably about time this was made. Hollow Knight is a 2D indie Metroidvania and also one of the best games of 2017, and that's really saying something.

It's atmospheric, with a gorgeously unique hand-drawn artstyle, great music, and awesome moody artwork and lighting. There are dark caves, abandoned cities, verdant gardens, and all manner of enemies from the cute to the terrifying to the plain weird.



It's challenging, with a tight combat system and ever-evolving moveset. Bosses feature brief vulnerability windows and patterns to be learned and read. Currency and death follow the Soulsborne pattern and body retrieval is practically a must as without it your Soul gauge (used for healing and other abilities) will max out at around 60%. This game isn't easy, and even when you're done with the main store, there are additional areas and bosses as well as the subsequent DLC packs. That's just the combat. As for the platforming, well, um. Have fun.

It's deep, with an interesting cast of characters and lore/history slowly revealed as you progress further and deeper in the the world and history of Hollownest. From your jolly cartographer friend to a mysterious hunter, people will want to be your friend or sell you things or challenge you in various ways while statues and hidden engravings reveal the past of this strange place. What is your goal? What is your destiny? Who knows...



It's sprawling, and easy to get lost in. Luckily there are maps available and upgrades for the maps to tag rest points, shops and other important features, or just anything you feel like. You can either have your map blank or use up a notch (equipment slot) to have your current location always shown on it. Areas are interconnected and the game is huge (20 hrs+ for the main game) and full of additional secrets.

It's generous. Since release the devs have dropped two content packs and one major update, with another content pack due for release this year. And it's all been for the low low cost of Zero. These packs have added new areas, new bosses, new music, new upgrades, even whole new quests, making what was already a sizable game into something even better.




It's cheap, like, < £12

and now it's portable.

I've put a few hours into this already, made it past the first couple of bosses and it's legit.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 10:23:32 PM by brat-sampson »

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2018, 10:18:43 PM »
I was surprised at how cheap it is. I got it as soon as it landed on the eShop. Only put in maybe half an hour but enjoyed the sense of exploration already, and the music in particular is a cut above the indie standard. It looks pretty gorgeous, too. It doesn't look like very much from screenshots but in motion, you can see the depth and detail and get a real atmosphere from it. The fast travel system is also quite ingenious and I think the whole map upgrade thing is inspired. Will definitely be sinking some time into it, but got a shitload of new stuff on the go at the moment.

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2018, 12:04:34 AM »
Very good game but nothing as mechanically limited as this needs to be longer than 5 hours tops. It'd be one of my all timers if they'd simply condensed it down to its best bits.

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2018, 04:50:54 PM »
This is slowly getting under my skin. The Greenpath area (I'm only a couple of hours in) is absolutely gorgeous. One of the best soundtracks I've heard this year, up there with Celeste and probably more to my tastes. It looks pretty stunning, too. Great sense of exploration, they've captured that perfect Dark Souls balance very well. At a tenner, this is a steal.

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2018, 06:46:10 PM »
I'm a good bit further, and you've no idea. Pretty soon the number of ways to go opens right up and there are a bunch of abilities and areas you can unlock in essentially any order. I think I've already completely missed a boss lots of people run into and fought another one or two I didn't necessarily have to to beat the game. The way the mapping is done makes finding the map man in each area feel like a real success, and finding your way around the labyrinthine environments, spotting secrets and trying to recall areas you intended to go back to etc is great. A couple of irritating platforming sections and frustrations at geo loss as a result of bad play aside, it's a real gem. I'm almost 11 hrs in and definitely feel under half-way through.

Fry

  • BIG UNIT
Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2018, 11:29:31 PM »
I'm a good bit further, and you've no idea. Pretty soon the number of ways to go opens right up and there are a bunch of abilities and areas you can unlock in essentially any order. I think I've already completely missed a boss lots of people run into and fought another one or two I didn't necessarily have to to beat the game. The way the mapping is done makes finding the map man in each area feel like a real success, and finding your way around the labyrinthine environments, spotting secrets and trying to recall areas you intended to go back to etc is great. A couple of irritating platforming sections and frustrations at geo loss as a result of bad play aside, it's a real gem. I'm almost 11 hrs in and definitely feel under half-way through.

Oh yeah, I finished it at about 54 hours and that was not getting 100% nor completing the DLC. Two things I fully intend to do when I buy the game again for the Switch (once I finally get one soon).

One of my favourite games of the last few years, for sure. It just feels sublime. Tight, responsive controls that not only make every death feel justified, but more importantly let you pull of incredibly deft maneuvers once you get in the flow. When you have a few of the upgrades and the right charm combinations you can end up flitting across the screen dealing massive amounts of damage with multiple different styles of attack. It makes it so goddamn satisfying to return to areas that gave you trouble previously and just mop up all those bastards that had you pulling your hair out a few sessions previously; along with the vast amount of secrets hidden away, and how beautiful each area is, it means backtracking never gets old.

One of the reasons I wanted to wait to play it again is so I can forget as much about it as possible before I go back for another playthrough, exploring the map is so much fun. The feeling of having one mask left, completely lost in some far flung corner of the map surrounded by weird new beasts you have no idea how to handle yet. Then you come to a split in the path and you know, just know, that one side leads to a bench and another to a boss and it's just agnosing trying to decide which to try. You mentally flip a coin jump up and edge along slowly to the right,  you go along a path out into a room where a door drops behind you and the music changes, then a big old fucker comes down to fuck you up. It's enough to make you throw your controller at the TV. Absolutely perfect.

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2018, 10:16:53 AM »
I just kinda head-down barreled forward through Deepnest, making a few of those decisions along the way and getting lucky more often than not, thankfully. I think I've finally managed to outline an actual goal for myself beyond exploration (there are now three things on the map for me to look into, saying no more). I had to back away from *deep* deepnest though as that place was getting legitimately creepy. The clustrophobia, rustling, darkness, enemies etc were all bad enough, but it started getting even worse and I just had to go back to my sanctuary. I've been in some pretty desperate situations too, no map, just pushing onwards desperately in hope of salvation in the form of a bench or Stag station, straight up avoiding as many enemies as I can, knowing that if I come across a boss I'm just fucked.

It's brilliant.

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2018, 11:09:51 AM »
Struggling a bit with this to be honest, very slow progress. Is it worth grinding in order to afford upgrades early on or should I be concentrating more on exploration?

Bhazor

  • Are you rolling your own jelly babies in there?
Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2018, 11:17:40 AM »
Hollow Knight?

Hollow Shite.

I really want to love the game but that hit stun just ruins it for me.

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2018, 11:56:07 AM »
Struggling a bit with this to be honest, very slow progress. Is it worth grinding in order to afford upgrades early on or should I be concentrating more on exploration?

Absolutely exploration. The most important upgrades generally are the movement ones, and you can't buy any of those. Not that extra notches and charms aren't good etc, but so long as you buy the charm that picks up geo for you, the map quill/compass and eventually the lantern, you should be ok.
If you want any hints about where you should be heading, feel free to ask, but to a point there's no absolutely 'correct' order of operations.

Fry

  • BIG UNIT
Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2018, 01:17:39 PM »
Yeah, charms are useful, and finding decent combinations of them is very fun. It's a great mechanic to play around with. But I never defeated any of the harder bosses just because of a certain charm or upgrade. It was all about learning their animations and movesets.


Actually there's one boss I managed to absolutely cheese with a certain combo, but it happened pretty much by accident so I don't think that counts.

Kelvin

  • The best bits of a pantomime horse
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • With skin the colour of a freshly peeled apple
Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2018, 03:33:54 PM »
I'm moving this week, but looking forward to getting this asap. Sounds right up my alley.

Great post upthread, by the way, Fry.

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2018, 08:04:39 PM »
Absolutely exploration. The most important upgrades generally are the movement ones, and you can't buy any of those. Not that extra notches and charms aren't good etc, but so long as you buy the charm that picks up geo for you, the map quill/compass and eventually the lantern, you should be ok.
If you want any hints about where you should be heading, feel free to ask, but to a point there's no absolutely 'correct' order of operations.

Thanks, I think I'm on track now. Beat False Knight and got my first spell. Yes sir, things are looking up for old Mitchell Hollow Knight.

Kelvin

  • The best bits of a pantomime horse
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • With skin the colour of a freshly peeled apple
Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2018, 05:17:33 PM »
Jeepers, mister, this game is gorgeous! I've played it for about 5 hours, I reckon, and it's an absolute pleasure for all the reasons people have already given; the incredible artstyle, the haunting music, the charming characters, the tight controls, the engaging combat, the well balanced degree of challenge. It keeps reminding me of those wierd, animated films you watched on a rainy Sunday afternoon, as a kid.

I do find the pacing slightly off, at times, though - although I can't put my finger on exactly what it is that's wrong. It can be quite tedious retreading your steps just to pick up your ghostly remains, then die at the same boss again, or to cross the map, to explore an area you can now reach, but traversing all the same rooms again. Obviously that's a pro and con of metroidvanias in general, but I do think the movement speed and lack of movement options (early on) are making retreading old areas feel more of a slog than necessary. It's far from a deal breaker in a game that's otherwise so good, but it is something I'm frequently aware of, in a way that I wasn't in a game like Steamworld Dig 2, for example.

Another must have indie game for the switch, anyway.

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2018, 05:42:45 PM »
If you like this, Dark Souls is for you. Seriously.

Kelvin

  • The best bits of a pantomime horse
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • With skin the colour of a freshly peeled apple
Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2018, 05:52:33 PM »
If you like this, Dark Souls is for you. Seriously.

Nah, I doubt it. The thing that puts me off Dark Souls is the (intentionally) sluggish speed of it all, whereas I like how zippy the combat is in this.

I also love the aesthetic of this game, whereas the look of Dark Douls does nothing for me, even though I know that the world itself is similarly fleshed out.   

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2018, 09:06:59 PM »
Delete your account.


Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2018, 11:25:05 PM »
Not many of the boss runs are that long if you've got access to the nearest bench, and it's rare for there to be many hazards on the route. I will say that the way the map represents the shadow, and the placement of the shadow depending on where you actually died can be a complete nightmare. I've definitely had one occasion where my shade was literally impossible to reclaim as it placed itself part-way down a platforming section past an obstacle I didn't have the required move to pass at that stage. Another time the icon on the map made it look like it was located near the bottom of a larger room, it wasn't and by the time I actually found it further in front of where I'd entered I managed to die. Finally there was one where the room even had two entrances, one leading to an optional item/fight and the other to a boss. I died in the optional room, went back and died again in the fight but my shade wasn't there/ Turns out it was placed at the front of the boss room instead.

These are definitely annoyances, but in the scope of the whole game and the fact there's still more than enough geo to be collected as well as carried collectables that are easy to exchange for fluid cash in actually needed, it's not that big a deal.

Probably over 20 hours now and I think I've found every area in the game, done one of the three 'Things' I have to do and almost certainly still have a whole hell of a way to go in terms of completion %.

Kelvin

  • The best bits of a pantomime horse
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • With skin the colour of a freshly peeled apple
Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2018, 12:49:04 AM »
It's just a bit boring trekking back through huge levels, in order to spend some money in an obscure shop, or to explore new regions. I honestly think the entire issue could be fixed by allowing you to warp to Stag Stations. You couldn't use it to explore new areas or cheat the difficulty, but you could use it to reduce backtracking. You can already do this by quitting and returning to your last save location, so why not enable it as an in-game mechanic for that one location.

Anyway, I'm about 8 hours in now. Still only fought one major boss (False Knight?), but currently in an area that reminds me of castlevania, and meeting some pretty tough enemies. Loads of fun, and all the moves you unlock feel great; quick and precise. I'm inclined to say they could be a little more generous in doling out new moves, but the numerous purchases keep things relatively fresh, and they keep adding in new elements to test what abilities I have.

Might actially be the best looking 2D game I've ever played. It's not just gorgeously animated, but the levels have this subtle 3D quality that affords everything a real texture and depth. Even putting aside the strong gameplay, the visual and aural elements are really on another level.

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2018, 07:48:32 PM »
I'm getting really, really hacked off with how inconsistent the downstrike is. For me it seems to only work maybe 2 times of 5, so for the other times you're almost guaranteed to fall and take damage. It's a pain during boss fights but it's particularly galling when you're expected to use it to pogo on an insect shell across some acidy stuff.

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2018, 09:25:02 PM »
I love a lot about this but the combat is a bit shit full stop.

Kelvin

  • The best bits of a pantomime horse
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • With skin the colour of a freshly peeled apple
Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2018, 01:11:57 AM »
I actually like the combat a lot, and when you really own an enemy or boss, it feels really satisfying; pogoing off their heads, dashing away from strikes, then dashing back to hit them. When it comes together, the simplicity really works for the game.

For me, though, the game has just been constantly hamstrung by the tedious backtracking, and how much of a chore it feels to get back to a boss that killed you, or return to an area you want to explore with new powers. Either the games needs more mobility options, or a better system of fast travel, or smaller, less maze-like level design - because as much as I'm enjoying it overall, it definitely feels like a real slog traversing the world at times.

On the flip side,  the game does a great job or rewarding exploration, with cool secrets, wierd, one off sights and cool perks at the end of almost every area you return to. Sometimes, as with the return to False Knight's room, it doesn't seem to serve any practical function, at all. It's just a nice little idea or detail.

Kelvin

  • The best bits of a pantomime horse
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • With skin the colour of a freshly peeled apple
Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2018, 10:02:17 PM »
The environments are really samey, aren't they? I've opened about nine regions now, and bar a few standouts, they're all just grey ruins with different foreground effects.

Deepnest was the stuff of nightmares, though. Properly claustrophobic and unsettling. Outside of the excellent boss battles, that has to be my highlight of the game so far.   

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2018, 12:01:25 PM »
I don't know, taking out the fact that essentially you're always in either a BIG OPEN ROOM or a web of corridors, I thought the locale variety was ok. They're all underground, but there's the abandoned city, the gardens, the mines, Deepnest and some hidden/later ones I won't mention just yet. They've all got different colour schemes, music and enemies etc.

Near the end now, collecting what collectables I can still be bothered to collect (No, I am *not* going to be delivering that flower any time soon, same with the last colosseum fight.) Then I'll look more into the DLC areas and investigate how the endings work.

Speaking of Deepnest, did you spot yourself?

Kelvin

  • The best bits of a pantomime horse
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • With skin the colour of a freshly peeled apple
Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2018, 12:59:13 PM »
In answer to your last question: yeah, I did. The game is full of cool and creepy little moments like that. Sound design is really good, too. Deepnest obviously, but there's a really creepy ambience created by the sound throughout. Sometimes you drop into a room, and there's a horrid gurgling, gasping sound or a sudden scuttling, and I just shit myself. It's great.

How open is the game to sequence breaking, out of interest? Like, I got the sense you entered Deepnest quite early in your playthrough, whereas it was like ten hours in for me. Does the game have a clear intended order of completion, or is a lot of the order up to you?

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #25 on: July 02, 2018, 03:24:07 PM »
Order I think will vary a lot depending on how you progress and what items you reach first. You're railroaded into getting the 'missile' then the air-dash but after that the floor-smasher or wall climb could conceivably come next, either of which opens up other avenues for progression. Most areas have more than one entry point, so you might get in by say a key *or* a ground pound or, for another place, getting the tram working or just exploration from somewhere else. I think it's one of the best aspects of the game tbh, that it's big enough that there's always some thread to pull, provided you can remember where it was. For people useless at remembering things or directions I'd honestly suggest maybe making notes or using the placeable map markers you can buy from the shop.

I actually went to deepnest once entirely by accident and before I thought I was ready or knew what was going on there so I just made my way straight back out. I think those might be my favourite parts overall, like Fry was saying, with the game just throwing you into some new scenario and the only way to go is 'forward'.

Kelvin

  • The best bits of a pantomime horse
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • With skin the colour of a freshly peeled apple
Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #26 on: July 02, 2018, 03:40:33 PM »
Yeah, I reached the area under the city via Deepnest, but actually completely missed the upgrade there for several hours, while I was doing stuff elsewhere, then returned later, wondering what I had missed. I've got the three "things" marked on the map now, but reckon I'll put off doing them until I've used my assorted abilities to more thoroughly explore other areas and upgrade my health and soul a bit. I did start towards one of them, but I got utterly wrecked by a boss (or collection of bosses) high up in the city, and I really don't feel ready to tackle something like that just yet.

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #27 on: July 02, 2018, 05:27:21 PM »
Yeah, I reached the area under the city via Deepnest, but actually completely missed the upgrade there for several hours, while I was doing stuff elsewhere, then returned later, wondering what I had missed. I've got the three "things" marked on the map now, but reckon I'll put off doing them until I've used my assorted abilities to more thoroughly explore other areas and upgrade my health and soul a bit. I did start towards one of them, but I got utterly wrecked by a boss (or collection of bosses) high up in the city, and I really don't feel ready to tackle something like that just yet.

I've done two of the three 'things'. I've got one short of max health, one short of max nail strength and one short of max orbs. I still haven't done that fight, albeit I haven't tried in a while. There are definitely other abilities I picked up since first trying it that should help a fair bit too.

Kelvin

  • The best bits of a pantomime horse
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • With skin the colour of a freshly peeled apple
Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2018, 06:47:59 AM »
Speaking of Deepnest, did you spot yourself?

Just discovered the payoff for this moment, also in Deepnest.

I'm basically just mooching about, trying to up my completion percentage before the final boss at this point. It's nice that even now, after 30+ hours, I'm still finding cool secrets, unique bosses and helpful upgrades. I'm definitely not going to be able to beat some of the secret bosses without the best weapons and charms.

In fact, I think Fry said upthread that he never found charms made much difference to boss fights, but I've definitely found that a couple have tipped the balance in later battles. I went from getting my clock cleaned, to wiping the floor with one boss, just by swapping in the charm that increases spell damage, for example.

Re: Hollow Knight
« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2018, 12:59:25 PM »
Lol, saying there's no difference between a) keeping on dash/sprint master, the compass and gathering swarm or b) swapping those out for faster attacks, better damage and faster healing is crazytown. I've found charms *vital* in some situations, and like that different bosses call for different loadouts. Are you going to even have much room to heal? Maybe it's better to use one of the alt-health ones. Are you going to be doing lots of nail damage or is beefing up your long-range attacks and getting yourself as much mana as possible a better option etc.