Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)

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Jenuall
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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Jenuall » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:47 am

I'm still enjoying this but it is probably one of the worst Metroidvania games in terms of giving the player some idea of where to go next.

On the one hand I love having a space to explore on my own terms and the freedom to push out in different directions to see what is there, and this game supports that to a much greater degree than many others in the genre which tend to railroad the player more directly down the critical path. But at the same time I can't say I've ever spent so much time just going over and over the same spaces as I have with this game, each time with little knowledge as to whether I am going to get any further or not.

Similarly the risk/reward structure is all over the place - I've lost count of the number of challenging areas (e.g mini bosses, deliberate platforming test sequences etc.) I've faced that seem to achieve nothing except getting me some extra geo, or at best a charm. In most games of the genre a critical spike like that would lead to a new ability or weapon, or perhaps open a new area. The result is that the player keeps thinking "right, here's a challenge the game has set for me, this must be a waypoint on the critical path, maybe now I will get some further direction on where things are heading.... oh wait no it didn't. Back to trawling over the same areas again hoping I find a new path..."

Fortunately the control of the player character and combat are fantastic, and obviously the whole thing looks stunning, so it's easy enough to enjoy things in spite of the repetitive exploration and lack of direction - but there are certainly some tweaks that could be made to the formula in my opinion.

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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Tafdolphin » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:09 am

Jenuall wrote:I'm still enjoying this but it is probably one of the worst Metroidvania games in terms of giving the player some idea of where to go next.

On the one hand I love having a space to explore on my own terms and the freedom to push out in different directions to see what is there, and this game supports that to a much greater degree than many others in the genre which tend to railroad the player more directly down the critical path. But at the same time I can't say I've ever spent so much time just going over and over the same spaces as I have with this game, each time with little knowledge as to whether I am going to get any further or not.

Similarly the risk/reward structure is all over the place - I've lost count of the number of challenging areas (e.g mini bosses, deliberate platforming test sequences etc.) I've faced that seem to achieve nothing except getting me some extra geo, or at best a charm. In most games of the genre a critical spike like that would lead to a new ability or weapon, or perhaps open a new area. The result is that the player keeps thinking "right, here's a challenge the game has set for me, this must be a waypoint on the critical path, maybe now I will get some further direction on where things are heading.... oh wait no it didn't. Back to trawling over the same areas again hoping I find a new path..."

Fortunately the control of the player character and combat are fantastic, and obviously the whole thing looks stunning, so it's easy enough to enjoy things in spite of the repetitive exploration and lack of direction - but there are certainly some tweaks that could be made to the formula in my opinion.


If I come across a path that is noticeably more difficult, platforming wise, than the rest of the game I immediately abandon it as the game has repeatedly taught me that beyond these sections lies nothing but tat. This led to me not finding the Crystal Heart for ages as it's behind one such section. That's a serious mixed message the game is sending there...

And yeah. There is zero signposting. I wouldn't mind so much if progress through each level wasn't so damn slow, and if the benches were more plentiful. There's obviously fast travel, but to get from one side of a level to another can take anywhere up to 10 minutes, and that's assuming you don't get killed along the way.

It's a great game, I recognise that, but some design decisions seem custom made to artificially prolong the experience.

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Jezo
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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Jezo » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:54 pm

There's a way you're meant to go in Hollow Knight? I just did my own thing. Guess I'm the bad player. Huh...

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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Tafdolphin » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:57 pm

Jezo wrote:There's a way you're meant to go in Hollow Knight? I just did my own thing. Guess I'm the bad player. Huh...


...pardon?

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Jezo
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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Jezo » Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:02 pm

Tafdolphin wrote:
Jezo wrote:There's a way you're meant to go in Hollow Knight? I just did my own thing. Guess I'm the bad player. Huh...


...pardon?

I said:
Jezo wrote:There's a way you're meant to go in Hollow Knight? I just did my own thing. Guess I'm the bad player. Huh...

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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Tafdolphin » Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:11 pm

Jezo wrote:
Tafdolphin wrote:
Jezo wrote:There's a way you're meant to go in Hollow Knight? I just did my own thing. Guess I'm the bad player. Huh...


...pardon?

I said:
Jezo wrote:There's a way you're meant to go in Hollow Knight? I just did my own thing. Guess I'm the bad player. Huh...


It still makes no sense. Were you under the impression someone was calling you a bad player? You seem a bit sensitive about it.

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Jezo
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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Jezo » Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:34 pm

Oh.

Sorry.

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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by smurphy » Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:52 pm

I like the way the world unfolds without any signposting. I genuinely have no idea if there is a 'main path' or a way your supposed to go. It's one of the few games I've ever played where getting lost really feels like being lost, and actually feels dangerous.

On the other hand if you are in already explored areas and just don't know where to go to advance the game, then I suppose that's not so good. Though I just look for incomplete areas on the map and go from there, and it's not failed me yet. You can buy the little markers to note areas of significance to come back to later, or even jot down the obstruction on a bit of paper so you don't need to walk all the way back there to remind yourself (I wish more games forced you to take manual notes rather than just auto-marking everything).

Last edited by smurphy on Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Johnny Ryall
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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Johnny Ryall » Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:53 pm

That's exactly how you should play a metroidvania game, worked for me I never really got lost at all in this

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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Clarkman » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:49 pm

Got the basic ending. 39 hours and 77%. The Black Egg boss was a breeze. Compared to the nonsense I went through to beat the Watcher Knights, everything else was plain sailing.

Regarding the conversation above, I feel like a good 80% of my time in the game was spent at a good balance between feeling lost and feeling productive. The remaining 20% was repeating things when I was stuck (e.g. an hour on a shitty bit of platforming, an hour trying to beat the same boss a dozen times).

Having tried to follow the lore as I went along, I feel like it is all pretty satisfying and adds to the experience if you engage with it, whilst remaining totally unobtrusive.

May take some time away from the game before coming back to sweep up and do the DLC work. The final-final boss looks tough as nails, so I'm dreading that.

Got Wolfenstein 2 to start now!

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Jezo
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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Jezo » Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:41 pm

Definitely reaching that point of 'not sure where else to go'. No where else on the map that indicates a path I haven't travelled down. Finally did Colosseum round 3 first try having come back fully upgraded. Shame it doesn't really give you anything for it. Also beat the Hard versions of the soul master and false knight. Everything is much easier with everything upgraded lol, it's almost disappointing.

I recently did that Circus red flame ritual thing. That boss was really good, but then I started phase 3. I got the first flame and the guy was like "you can't get all the flames, we can end the ritual" so out of curiosity, I did just that, not realising it was irreversible. It would have been nice if I had the option to start the ritual again. Did I miss out on a boss? The charm I got for ending the ritual is pretty damn useful though.

Right now, I've got 4 charms left to find. Got all the ones on the bottom row, so I probably need to check out some of the starting areas. There are some rooms and areas which appear to be something but I can't figure out what to do in them or what they're alluding to. I'm sure I'll figure out what soon enough. Right now I'm collecting cocoon health for that gate thing in the Abyss. Pretty cool they have an actual use like that.

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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Balladeer » Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:41 pm

I like the Crystal Peak. I know where I'm going, more or less.

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Jezo
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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Jezo » Sat Jul 28, 2018 6:13 pm

Forgot to say I beat Hollow Knight at the start of the week and was surprised to find my finishing game percentage:

29 hours - 103%

Not sure how I managed that. Still got stuff to do though, working my way through the monster encyclopedia thing. Got about 10 left to kill enough of, and 1 left to find. I've heard there's like a secret final boss? So I'm guessing it's that though Idk how to trigger it. Furthermore I still have 3 charms left to find, no idea where they could be... I'm on 104% now though.

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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Jenuall » Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:49 pm

Made some more progress on this last night, found the Soul Sanctum and defeated the Soul Master on my second try :datass: He was suprisingly easy compared to some of the bosses I've faced so far so I expect I was meant to encounter him earlier.

I've now managed to upgrade my nail a bit as well which is making some of the more bullet sponge enemies a bit easier to deal with, although for some reason the improved damage doesn't seem to be uniform across all enemies. For example some creatures which previously took two hits are now going down in one, but others still take two, and some have gone down from 3 hits to 2 but others are still on three. Just seems a bit weird.

I've hit a few road blocks now where there is some kind of "black wind" which is blocking my progress toward new areas - I assume that some action will remove these or let me pass through them but I have yet to trigger whatever this is. I've also only just realised that you seem to be able to place custom markers on the map which is proving useful as I can mark areas which are blocked by this clearly so I don't spend ages trawling across the map to somewhere I think I may be able to go only to find it blocked!

The map and constant need to backtrack over areas is probably my one major gripe with this game. Because I now have so many areas open there are too many "dead ends" to keep track of accurately meaning I keep opening the map to look for potential new routes to go down, spotting a "door" which I haven't gone through yet, and battling my way over there only to discover that it is somewhere I've been before and I still don't have the power that gets me past it! Similarly the map is inconsistent in when it labels transitions between areas, some of these have an arrow saying that the "door" leads to another area, others just look like areas you haven't been through yet so again you trudge over to them only to find that you've already been there! :x

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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by OrangeRakoon » Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:05 pm

Jezo wrote:I recently did that Circus red flame ritual thing. That boss was really good, but then I started phase 3. I got the first flame and the guy was like "you can't get all the flames, we can end the ritual" so out of curiosity, I did just that, not realising it was irreversible. It would have been nice if I had the option to start the ritual again. Did I miss out on a boss? The charm I got for ending the ritual is pretty damn useful though.


Yeah, you missed the same boss I missed (who is apparently the hardest in the game) by resolving it this way. It's impossible to get all of the achievements in a single playthrough unfortunately! I preferred this resolution which is why I went for it.

Jezo wrote:I've heard there's like a secret final boss? So I'm guessing it's that though Idk how to trigger it. Furthermore I still have 3 charms left to find, no idea where they could be... I'm on 104% now though.


Have you got the awoken dream nail and used it to get to the white palace?

Once you've done that you can fight the actual final boss by dream nailing the hollow knight when hornet holds him down.

There are three endings to the game, and it's possible to miss one if you don't beat the hollow knight before getting the void heart.

Sorry for spoilerz, no easy way of hinting at the above

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Jezo
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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Jezo » Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:02 pm

OrangeRakoon wrote:
Jezo wrote:I recently did that Circus red flame ritual thing. That boss was really good, but then I started phase 3. I got the first flame and the guy was like "you can't get all the flames, we can end the ritual" so out of curiosity, I did just that, not realising it was irreversible. It would have been nice if I had the option to start the ritual again. Did I miss out on a boss? The charm I got for ending the ritual is pretty damn useful though.


Yeah, you missed the same boss I missed (who is apparently the hardest in the game) by resolving it this way. It's impossible to get all of the achievements in a single playthrough unfortunately! I preferred this resolution which is why I went for it.

Jezo wrote:I've heard there's like a secret final boss? So I'm guessing it's that though Idk how to trigger it. Furthermore I still have 3 charms left to find, no idea where they could be... I'm on 104% now though.


Have you got the awoken dream nail and used it to get to the white palace?

Once you've done that you can fight the actual final boss by dream nailing the hollow knight when hornet holds him down.

There are three endings to the game, and it's possible to miss one if you don't beat the hollow knight before getting the void heart.

Sorry for spoilerz, no easy way of hinting at the above

Yeah I got that. I didn't look at the other spoilers tho, I wanna see if I can find them myself. Knowing that reaching that place is a requirement tho gives me an idea...

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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Balladeer » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:52 pm

The real challenge, when it comes to talking about Hollow Knight, is to say what you're doing so that people who are partway through the game know what you're doing, without spoiling it for those who aren't. For that, you need to leave enough clues outside the spoilers...

...so, er, I've got a stage 3 nail. That's allowed me to take down the rascal just about the central bench in Crystal Peak, and - at about the thirtieth time of trying, but the second with the new nail and my new friend the Noxious Gas Cloud - the bug behind the Elegant Key door.

Now I'm going to take on the second boss in the sewers. The really disgusting-sounding one. Whoopee...

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Jezo
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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Jezo » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:04 pm

If you don't like the game then stop playing.

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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Balladeer » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:17 pm

...dunno how you got that, Jezo. I don't like that boss (I like it more now it's dead). I liked the game enough to start the topic. I have now found another boss I don't like, though. City of Tears, second boss...

Bloody Watcher Knights! :evil: Felt like as much luck as skill when I won. Every time, a blooming combo jumpy-rolly pairing I couldn't get past. Try to heal, and of course they decide to roll into me. Again, I'm very glad they're dead.


Then I found a special move. So it's a net win!

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Jezo
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PostRe: Hollow Knight (Dark Souls x Castlevania x Beetles)
by Jezo » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:12 am

Oh my bad, I got you confused with someone else. But well done for persisting and perservering after 30 tries on that crystal peak rascal! That's some determination.

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