Many of us fell in love with Hades, the Game of the Year in 2020. So it’s no surprise that games like Knight vs Giant: The Broken Excalibur try to capture that magic. But does it succeed?
I’ll try not to compare Knight vs Giant to Hades too much, but it’ll be hard since they’re so alike in many meaningful ways. Both are isometric roguelike hack and slash games, although Knight vs Giant is on a smaller scale.
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Knight vs Giant is Hades But with King Arthur
In Knight vs Giant, instead of interacting with the Greek Pantheon, you interact with The Knights of the Round Table as King Arthur. The realm is in need of saving, Excalibur is broken, and the Knights of the Round Table are scattered.
Playing as King Arthur is an interesting hook, and I was curious to see how the story would unfold. Would the Knights work like the Greek Gods in Hades?
Well, kind of. The weapons and abilities you have are tied to different Knights. After clearing certain rooms, you can receive a buff from a specific Knight, along with some dialogue.
However, Knight vs Giant suffers from lackluster writing and dialogue. It tries to be funny but often falls short. Sometimes, the dialogue can feel long and uninteresting.
Knight vs Giant’s Combat is Stellar
The real highlight of Knight vs Giant is its combat. It’s fast, crisp, and satisfyingly intense. Performing combos while dodging projectiles and enemies is exhilarating. The gameplay rewards quick reactions and offers a frenetic experience.
You have access to a variety of weapons, each with unique playstyles. Additionally, you can choose three active abilities for each run. One ability is selected from one of the Knights before the run, and you can randomly unlock two more during the game.
The active abilities range from temporary damage boosts to stunning enemies in an area. There are many options available, and some abilities synergize better than others.
These abilities affect weapon damage, dash effects, and other stats. For example, you may increase the cleave area of your weapon or the crit chance. However, it takes time to reach a point where you feel you have a substantial “build.” The rate at which you receive buffs can be inconsistent.
You acquire buffs by clearing levels in the dungeon or purchasing them from a merchant using in-game currency. Unfortunately, the lack of variety in maps and enemy types is a major disappointment. This makes runs feel longer and diminishes the challenge.
Upgrade Systems Are Tediously Slow
The progression in Knight vs Giant can feel like a slog. Unlocks take too long, and weapon upgrades don’t have a significant impact. Gold collected during runs can be used for small incremental upgrades that provide marginal stat increases.
Unlocking new upgrades by encountering characters in the game happens at a frustratingly slow pace. Some runs can take close to thirty minutes without any meaningful progression or new characters. This lack of variety and slow unlocking of new weapons hampers the overall experience of Knight vs Giant.
Knight vs Giant has a plethora of systems to engage with, but they feel burdensome rather than enriching. The feeling of these systems is underwhelming, as they offer too little for the effort put into them. Minor percentage increases to damage don’t excite players.
Knight vs Giant: The Broken Excalibur Review | Final Thoughts
Knight vs Giant: The Broken Excalibur has potential to be a great game. However, the focus on uninteresting aspects and the abundance of systems and mechanics that don’t have a significant impact hold it back. Progression feels slow, and the game lacks the excitement and variety found in other roguelikes.
While the combat system is solid and enjoyable, Knight vs Giant becomes repetitive and loses its appeal quickly. It’s a disappointment considering the initial fun I had with the game.
Knight vs Giant: The Broken Excalibur was reviewed on PC with a copy provided by the publisher, during 11 hours of gameplay. All screenshots were taken while reviewing the game.