Knack 2’s biggest surprise: It’s a lot of fun

Michael McWhertor

Sony’s unexpected sequel address the biggest problems from the original Sony’s Knack, a PlayStation 4 launch games that’s long felt like the butt of many a joke, is getting a sequel. The existence of Knack 2 was one of many surprises at this weekend’s PlayStation Experience, but the most welcome surprise may be that the sequel seems like it will be a much stronger game than the original. The original Knack was a quintessential platform launch game: technically impressive at the time, but widely considered to be a fairly mediocre action-platformer. Knack 2, based on hands-on time with two of the game’s chapters, appears to address its predecessor’s shortcomings, offering greater depth in its mix of puzzles, platforming and beat ‘em up action.

In Polygon’s review of the game, Knack was criticized for being “a dull slog” with tedious, limited combat. The team at Sony Japan Studio seems keenly aware of Knack’s repetitive action, as one character says to Knack during a Knack 2 cutscene, “It’s hard to believe you saved the world. All you know are three punches and a kick. ” That’s certainly not the case in Knack 2, where Knack can punch, kick, lasso, body slam and so much more.

He can unleash a flurry of punches or whip his collected body parts — called relics — outward to bash, stun or pull in enemies. Knack’s combat skills can evolve over the course of the game. Players will earn new moves as the story progresses, like a powerful shield-smashing, boulder-breaking punch, and they’ll have the ability to upgrade Knack’s arsenal of attacks to make them more powerful. Sony Japan Studio is adding even more depth to Knack 2’s combat mechanics with two-player, jump in/jump out cooperative play.

Players, both as Knack, can punch each other with a rapid fire attack to send dozens of their partner’s body parts flying across the screen. Or they can unleash a charged up power punch to launch the other Knack like a cannonball. Defensively, Knack also has his dodge move — once again mapped to the right analog stick — and can reflect projectiles with a last-second use of his shield. On the platforming side, Knack also has more moves at his disposal in the sequel.

In addition to his double jump, he can hover by…

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