Hollow Knight: Silksong, the preview: all the new information

Hollow Knight: Silksong, the preview: all the new information
With a beautiful cover entirely dedicated to Hornet, a few days ago Edge anticipated the in-depth analysis that we would have found by browsing its pages, dedicated to one of the most anticipated games of the indie scene - an expectation that even rivals that of some triple titles A. We're talking about Hollow Knight: Silksong, the sequel to the little pearl that goes by the name of Hollow Knight and was released first in 2017 on PC and then in 2018 on console - if you haven't played it yet but have a Game Pass, you can take the opportunity to immerse yourself in its fascinating, sad and sometimes cruel atmospheres.

The protagonist of the second chapter will be Hornet, a very important character throughout the original plot and who will have to make his way into the mysterious kingdom of Pharloom until he reaches its summit: an objective in evident contrast with that of the Knight, who found himself descending into the depths of Hallownest to unravel - and solve - the mystery surrounding the kingdom. Remained decidedly muted after the announcement in February 2019, Hollow Knight: Silksong has finally returned to show itself in the long depth of Edge, ready to reach out to us (or the sting if you prefer) to accompany us to discover its news.

From DLC to stand-alone game

It is no mystery that Hollow Knight: Silksong is born from the ashes of what should have been a DLC of the main game, thanks to which we would have played in the role of Hornet, but even before the publication of Hollow Knight the developers realized that a simple Kickstarter stretch goal would become a title in its own right: no longer an appendix but an unprecedented, complete and above all completely rethought adventure in terms of level and enemy design - among other things. To quote Ari Gibson himself, the core of the (game) world is above all a reflection of Hornet, who with his fighting style aimed at speed demanded a different, new approach than that adopted for the main chapter. br>
It is not only this, however, because our huntress is also physically different from the Knight: much taller and more slender, she would have found herself crushed in the oppressive Hallownest, which instead was modeled to measure compared to the its protagonist. To give Hornet more breathing space, as well as make the most of its mobility and the acrobatics that distinguish it, Gibson and Pellen had to redesign the entire setting, including the size of the creatures that inhabit it. Everything in the kingdom of Pharloom, but in general in Hollow Knight: Silksong, speaks of her, reflecting her nature and personality in a way if possible even more carefully than her predecessor. Finally, let's not forget that, unlike the Knight, Hornet is half an insect: this implies greater physicality, which translates into more traps and blades to hinder the adventure, in contrast to the magic that enveloped and characterized the engaging experience at Hallownest. .

A living and reactive world

The danger inherent in Hornet makes the inhabitants of Pharloom adapt accordingly and it is once again the comparison with Hollow Knight that makes this evident, always through the words of the developers: if the Knight could cross his path with, in essence, creatures whose intelligence level was equal to a Goomba - therefore almost non-existent - in Hollow Knight: Silksong even they respond to different rules, proving a little more thinking. Although in the original the more "complex" enemies had a more humanoid aspect, just think of the city guards, it was not too demanding a level of challenge and that was okay. This time, no. Team Cherry is committed to designing characters that are one step ahead, far from the simplicity that even in the most complex cases transpired in Hollow Knight. Hornet is prey but above all a hunter, anyone in Pharloom must adapt accordingly to catch her by surprise or respond to her attacks.

In the interview a couple of examples are given: a very simple enemy but able to blend in with the surrounding environment until the last moment, when it then reveals itself and is ready to attack; another instead that behaves in a similar way to the Mossy Rhinodon but has more legs and progressively increases its speed, making it difficult to predict its actions. The kind of creepy enemies completely absent in the initial area of ​​Hollow Knight, which slowly introduced the player to the basics of the game, holding him in a sense by the hand as he guided him to Dust, then leaving him at the mercy of an open world and of the mechanics that governed it. In Hollow Knight: Silksong there will be a tendency to take a similar approach, in terms of the map, amulets and everything that characterized the original.

The developers will dictate the pace and allow the players to acclimate once again to the familiar aspects of the game, but also to the unique ones of Hornet. This does not mean, as already pointed out, that the experience will be as staid as the previous one: Pharloom is a ruthless world that relates to an equally ruthless character, which is why, in the variety of areas that distinguish the kingdom from the beginning, enemies and traps will inflict two masks of damage - a not inconsiderable variation in the pace and way in which battles and exploration will be faced. Before putting your hands in your hair, know how to be a weighted choice on the basis of two factors: a concrete one, or the possibility for Hornet to heal himself in a similar way to that of the Knight but more effective, so as to make the mechanics an integral part of the fight. . However, you will not be able to do it right away, causing the experience to oscillate continuously between being at full life and close to death. This is linked to the second factor, of a narrative nature, which helps to paint Hornet for who he really is: a character who thrives on extremes.

It is therefore not a question of creating a more difficult sequel, but a game that can be both an opportunity for old players to test themselves after the original experience and, on the other hand, a so-called entry level for those unfamiliar with the series. Hollow Knight: Silksong is a game that wants to fit in a fluid and personal way in the narrative universe of Team Cherry, presenting itself different but not too much, familiar and at the same time unprecedented. Hence, Hornet has his own version of the amulets, called tools, which will support him in combat: they can be managed on the benches, using the Shell Shards obtained from defeated enemies. There are several types, each with their own effects. The most interesting aspect is not only that they can be improved in the course of the game but, above all, that they can be learned and developed thanks to the inhabitants of Pharloom.

For example, if she encounters an enemy who attacks her by throwing a thorn in her direction like a javelin, Hornet can take inspiration to create something useful for her and add a personal touch to it. Details that, once again, highlight the style of Team Cherry and the ability to develop a world as alive as the characters within it are. Where the Knight was an empty and impersonal avatar, Hornet is the exact opposite, a strong protagonist with a well-defined role within the story. Someone that players can understand, in due time, her attitude and purpose behind her journey. A journey that the developers want to be perceived as an epic adventure, along the lines of the path that in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (which they used as an example) led Gabriel Belmont to the castle.

A gameplay familiar and unique at the same time

We have touched upon some unpublished aspects of Hollow Knight: Silksong in the previous paragraphs but a proper space must undoubtedly be dedicated to combat and, more generally, to the use of tools. Hornet is a more complete character than the Knight in many respects, not least the versatility that allows her to approach situations in a different way thanks to the use of the aforementioned tools and sets preset by us. In fact, where in Hollow Knight a single set of amulets was managed, here it will be possible to prepare different builds thanks to the Crest, special objects with their own unique set of slots with which to equip the tools. The core of the gaming experience therefore revolves around the physicality and malleable nature of Hornet - able to adapt its style according to the danger that comes before it, inviting the player to experiment in a much more immediate way, at least on paper. , than the original allowed. Of course, the "inconvenience", if we want to define it, of the benches to modify our sets remains but if nothing else we are put in a position to prepare ourselves better without having to go back and forth to replace a single amulet as in the first chapter.

Reconnecting to the fact that Hornet is a more structured character than the Knight, his ability to express himself in words makes the interaction with the inhabitants of Pharloom more articulated: in this case, it translates into the introduction of assignments assigned by the various NPCs around the world and which he can not only, of course, take care of but also keep track of thanks to the bulletin boards scattered everywhere. These are missions that do not replace the organic continuation of the main plot, alongside it and revealing themselves in different ways, perhaps through an unexpected encounter with an inhabitant of Pharloom or through the intervention of Hornet herself. You may even miss out on some interaction, as it did in the original game, which in turn could have influenced another event later on (think for example Tela, in Hollow Knight). Only, this time, it's all bigger and more articulated, in an invitation to explore Pharloom, get to know it and, in this way, get to better understand Hornet herself. There almost seems to be a mutual exchange between her and the inhabitants, one of those you don't notice at the moment, coming to perceive it in the long term, when it has paid off and you are there, ready to reap it.

Small mention also for the game currency, no longer based on Geo but on Rosario Grains. The basic concept is the same, they serve for any transaction in Hollow Knight: Silksong, but Team Cherry wanted to make a change even here. If taken individually, these grains will inevitably be lost in the event of death and will have to be recovered by returning to the point where they were defeated (this time characterized by a cocoon and not a residual soul); otherwise, it is possible to make a complete rosary out of the beads, which functions as a kind of portable bank and will remain with us in case of sad departure. You can be lucky enough to find a rosary by exploring the game world, or have it prepared by a merchant, paying a small amount - slightly higher than the result - so that your earnings are safe. An appreciable choice, which winks a bit at the souls of Dark Souls in its preservation concept, and pushes the player to consider sacrificing some currency in order not to run the risk of losing everything during the adventure and regret it.

Finally, we will not fail to cover once again the role of rescuer and bring back lost insects: fleas, no longer larvae, which will not simply be trapped in glass jars but will have gone to hunt in various situations dangerous, each of which requires its own approach to be resolved. Furthermore, unlike the cute little worms of Hollow Knight, they do not have a fixed abode, rather living in a sort of traveling caravan that will expand as we save the scattered fleas. Once again, therefore, while based on mechanics presented in the first chapter, Team Cherry expands them by adapting them to the setting - and, consequently, to the skills of Hornet. We are once again faced with a fascinating journey, which demonstrates a masterful worldbuilding ability on the part of the developers and in which we can't wait to get lost, cursing (because yes, it happens), marveling at the undeniable artistic quality and surprising us by faced with situations that strike us without warning, reminding us again how behind the apparent sweetness of its characters, Hollow Knight: Silksong hides a deeply tragic and dramatic reality.

After a long silence, Team Cherry returns to talk about Hollow Knight: Silksong updating us with a series of interesting and promising details for the future of the game. From the words of the developers, an experience that does not want to be limited to being a simple sequel, but something that can equally amuse and surprise both veterans and new players, allowing the latter to appreciate it without having played the original. The appearance and style of Hornet have prompted the development of a similar but at the same time different game, unique in its own way, in which the game world has been redesigned around the protagonist to go in right contrast with the first chapter: here the physicality - the presence of more tangible, concrete and implacable dangers - is combined with a more vertical level design to better adapt to the versatility of Hornet, thus proposing a challenge that in its familiarity still wants to surprise even, if not above all, those who know Hollow Knight . The revised combat system, the management of the equipment, the small but significant changes to aspects such as the in-game currency, all these combine to underline the attention to detail and the willingness, on the part of Team Cherry, to offer Hollow Knight : Silksong the deserved space next to the game which should have been only a DLC. The only doubts we have for now on the management of checkpoints, maps and fast travel, which in Hollow Knight were the most evident worries: we just have to wait to see any improvements firsthand.


A world redesigned tailored to Hornet The art direction proves once again to be of the highest level Combat system and equipment open to experimentation DOUBTS Will backtracking be excessive once again?

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