The Xbox Summer Game Fest Demo event kicks off in a matter of days, with over 60 titles to check out for a limited time only. While it’s unlikely that many players will get to all of them, we’re going to try and play some of the more interesting ones and give you our thoughts on them. Aiding us in that goal, Chainsawesome Games were gracious enough to give us early access to Knight Squad 2, the sequel to a popular PC title with over 1.8 million players. Not spending too much time in the PC space, I’d not heard of the title before but after playing this I can see why it would amass such interest.
While it’s a multiplayer affair through and through, the early access demo only features offline play, while the full release will support any combination of 8 players from online, local and cross platform. I was only really able to sample it solo against bots, but even then I had a great time. Played from a top down perspective, we control a knight in shining armour in a confined battle arena not too dissimilar from something you’d see in Bomberman; there are static elements to the stages, but also destructible blocks allowing new pathways or access to better power-ups. I’ll get to the game modes specifically in a second, but no matter what we play the action is fast and frantic.
We start out with a basic sword (this can be customised in the pre-game menu to allow a whole host of alternate options), and simply get into melee duels with other players. A shield allows a block, but also roots us to the spot. Both of these, as well as the plethora of extra weapons such as crossbows, mines, bazookas and more, can be upgraded by running over the relevant pick-ups – here, the max level is 3, but I’m unsure if that will be changed for the final game. When we die the upgrades reset, and even a fully powered knight can be taken down fairly easily if caught by surprise, so I wouldn’t expect too many players to run rampant just because they’ve upgraded. When a cluster of players comes together it all kicks off in the blink of an eye, with an over the top announcer in the vein of Quake announcing double/triple/QUAD kills at every turn. If respawns are on, it’s a case of jumping back into the fray and trying our luck once more. There were a few times where a scuffle got a bit too hectic and I was unaware whether I lived or died, but respawns are quick enough to not make this a big deal.
In the demo, we have three modes to choose from:
Capture the Grail (played either in Free-For-All, Duos, or Squads of 4v4) is the standard Capture the Flag affair, with the Holy Grail needing grabbing from the centre of the map and brought back to your base for a point. Naturally the spawn point is a hot bed for action, and it pays to have some sort of projectile attack to thin the heard before grabbing it and charging in.
The Battle Royale mode is, well, exactly what you’d think. Again played in either Free-For-All, Duo’s, or Squads, it’s a last man standing game type that flips the hectic action of Capture The Grail on its head as players attempt to manoeuvre into positon with a bit more finesse in order to survive. Rounds are still quick, especially when the first person falls, but it’s definitely a more measured affair.
Finally, Payload tasks two teams of 4 with transporting a bomb along a rail road to the enemies base. Even just with bots this was my favourite mode for sure, with the hectic action surrounding the bomb rarely producing less than triple kills at all times! We only need to be in the circular vicinity to move the payload, so it’s all about managing 360 degrees around it rather than being stuck pushing it along.
As with all modes, various aspects can be customised, from starting weapon, to frequency of power ups and even the speed that the payload moves. Each mode and the subsequent player count has their own unique map here too – only the one for now as well, but again I imagine that’d be fleshed out come final release.
I came away from my time with Knight Squad 2 not only excited about the game, but also the calibre of the upcoming event. If even a few titles can be as immediately fun as this then we’re in for a good showcase. Don’t let Knight Squad 2 slip by in the torrent of titles though; I’m optimistic this will become a popular choice come this time next week.
This game was previewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.