It has been a crazy day exploring the possibilities of game design in sometimes absurd directions, largely devoid of dictation dictating the market, “of having to land such a thing”. Many studios have tried and tried, in retrospect often quite strange, or at least interesting. Many of the games felt bloated beyond healthy, experimental proportions, and King’s Field was a child of that time.
In 1994, the first part of the Sony series, which remained exclusive, had an open 3D world that could be explored in first person. Inside there are running monsters that suffocate you shortly after you start the game, secret passages and tracery in the level architecture (here a reminder of how this can not be prepared). Similar to System Shock, which was also released in ’94, a mundane space is sharpened for hours, which isn’t a simple level more than let run, but that’s exactly what it really means: a world. A place with back and forth that you have to open up, fight and stumble through so many bad stages.
What the Souls and Bloodborne games knit together today has long been dragged down by King’s Field in a special form. The game-of-the-century predecessor, which is surprisingly precise in places compared to Software’s later direction, should at least be mentioned every now and then, right? Well, apparently hardly anyone has played this thing to talk about it, and anyone who has, at most, is exchanging information about the moonlight sword, octopuses, and fire magic crystals in a nice little forum. Now that I have King’s Field 4 (King’s Field: The Ancient City in North America) behind me, I can understand almost any attitude.
The few reviews received online (for example on 4Players or Gamespot) give a good image largely unanimous: it is hard and slow and cumbersome. It was then and 16 years since it hasn’t improved it. I remember the path to the credits as horrible as they were brilliant. If you don’t approach me like I do, eventually pulling one of them all the way and walking a little more stubbornly, you’ll always find an excuse. I know it from my own playing behavior. If there is an oversupply on all platforms, then such a part must be snatched quickly, otherwise the next candidate is just one shelf.
King’s Field 4 sort of did it, and I want to be damned if I could point my finger at exactly why. As indifferent as you seem to this dungeon crawler, his type is so rewarding and motivating that you can’t find him today. How to get there? By taking its angular appearance as a playful challenge, as you do with all monsters and obstacles, and painfully penetrating the gray-brown washed facade to the core. The best moment for me was discovering the key entry to the race (hold X). Moving through ancient ruins and mine shafts on crutches was previously something, especially in awe of the surroundings where opponents don’t expect handcuffs, sorted by player level.
In the early work of From Softwares, the headless run down the halls and stairs actually ends at some point with a parting in the neck. Many zombie soldiers turn out to be fit enough to moan its mass from the blind spot. There are plates that fold under your feet and skeletons that jump out of broken wooden barrels, hoping for medicinal herbs. My God, the very first surface of the ground collapses into the lava below and that’s it. It happens without any clue or warning outside of the charred nature that stands out from the rest of the metro – and even if, who would have expected something like this ten seconds after the intro? From here on, From Software’s approach has proven to let the environment express itself in its own way,
So yes, that speaks enough for King’s Field 4 at a walking pace. Like Souls, it’s a comeback game, in which we once again cross familiar areas, for different reasons, in a varied atmosphere. For example, to squeeze a few reinforcement experience points, it is necessary to point out opponents with irregular growth. On the way back, as a precaution, return to the save point, having cracked the two guardians in the knight’s mausoleum and you don’t want to start over. If you get carried away by hitting a burial chamber on secret walls and, like in Dark Souls 2, go around with a hammer. Because the game lives off its overlap in the old town,
King’s Field 4 is all about exploring and fighting. Explore, fight and run button. I spent hours with the handbrake, the city center, the mines, the neighborhoods that ran under the castle. I opened up the first shortcuts and, in a moment of mental contempt, I was almost ready to accept the exploration, so much so that the gradual opening of the warped and edgy realm “clicked.” And suddenly it took on a whole new dimension for me. Compared to pretty much any other game, you are still sneaking around. In the tenth envious approach, why giant beetles can move faster than an adult male on adult male legs, I wouldn’t have made it to the final. By the latest the eleventh journey back to the merchant with the herbs in the upper ruins would have been completed. Nothing works without herbal medicines. And without a run button.
Especially since the action also does everything possible to lower the highest motivation and habits of today’s players. The combat system is based on medieval weapon types with their own animations, but “fast” was the last thing that came to my mind for such a tired spectacle. Every physical action – knocking, spinning, looking around – takes forever and can be sped up in the options as little as the reverse embroidery task is reversible. At one point I had internalized the left sleeve to move and the rear shoulder buttons to look up and down like a bumpy compromise until now that effort and reward were in harmony. I got along well, and that’s the best thing I can say about the technical side of the operation.
Then again the joy of walking out of the merchant into the city ruins, through the exact door you had to turn to the opposite side hours before. It is common in this world to prevail over outbursts of anger because of the shitty operation with such moments of discovery. It consists of a network of cave systems seamlessly merging into prison cells with a stop in frozen forged basements without being able to determine their center for a long time. Where do I go first and why? And how often does this wall ramify? With each path receding to the side, the uncertainty increases whether you are on the right steamboat and whether there is such a thing as a “real” steamboat. Such a feeling today is not due to King’s Field. He connects his domains brilliantly and in ways as rewarding as Dark Souls. Ten years before you could digest the breathtaking elevator ride from the Church of the Living Dead to the Marching Band Sanctuary, there were such tellers in the central tower that you always come back from different directions. It’s the connection between the upper floors of the old town with smelly mushrooms and walking skeletons and the lower ones, where meatballs break bones in poison pits.
The loss is caused by something fundamental: this game works and does nothing. It works. And keep your mouth shut in constant isolation from anything that might get too concrete. The start of new areas can be noticed at most when the piece of music changes, where even Dark Souls has lettering with jingle for orientation. No arrow strangely covers the game and evacuates the frustration of the sails. There are no recognizable transitions or loading screens with chunks of information about the world, objects, opponents, or characters. The direction you need to go is obvious just by trying. Fail, come back, change gears earlier, find a big gun, rejoice, die, come back, turn, find a gun, rejoice,
This is the lowest denominator in the whole game and the concept of dungeon crawling in general: recognize dead ends and go elsewhere. Sift through step by step, where jellyfish and lizard archers guard, plug, string and tighten and take the straight path down, however ‘straight’ it may be. A natural barrier to areas that shouldn’t be entered too early are keys or symbols, such as four eyeballs or a ring for the royal gate. You know what? Almost like the Soldier’s Expedition, which couldn’t quite reach its destination and is now stranded across the realm, spreading bits of lore and feeling sorry for it (only without Souls dialogue poetry).
Similar to the descent to Schandstadt, you move vertically between masonry, pillars and bridges, see broken projections with important elements all around before knowing the way. You always keep an eye on the level, at the latest in the central tower, and the moment to return to familiar terrain never gets old. From Metroid to Resident Evil, Symphony of the Night and Bloodborne, we’ve seen it dozens of times. That a game like King’s Field, which was hushed up today, has something to say about it that I wouldn’t want to live without, who would have thought that?
Source : Twitter Feeds