Game: Knee Deep
Platforms: PC, Mac, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed) and Xbox One
Developer: Prologue Games
Publisher: Wales Interactive
Release Date(s): PC + Mac: July 6th 2015, PS4: 31st January 2017 and Xbox One: 3rd February 2017
Price: $14.99 / £11.99 (PS4, XO) £14.99 (Steam)
Knee Deep is a point and click adventure game from Prologue Games that initially released on PC over a year ago. Since then, Prologue Games have decided to release it onto consoles, and make some very good improvements/updates to the game. With dynamic storytelling, good voice acting and other great features, Knee Deep is a very well polished game.
The first thing you’ll notice about Knee Deep is how/where the game is set. It is created to feel like a stage production, and it does that really well. The occasional sound from the audience, the acoustics of the theater making the footsteps really cut through the mix and the lighting all come together to give Knee Deep a really immersive feel.
To be honest, this is one of the things that I think sets Knee Deep apart from other point and click games is the setting. It’s not often that you come across a video game that is set on a stage, yet alone does it well.
Although, it would be a very boring play without any narrative, which is one thing I really want to praise Prologue Games highly on. When Knee Deep first released on PC and Mac, there was no voice acting to go along with the dialogue. With the new console version and an update to the PC version, this has been changed and there is now some good voice acting. In comparison, the story and the game itself is a lot more immersive. An improvement to say the least.
However, it’s not all good when it comes to voice acting. On the whole, Knee Deep’s voice actors have done a very good job at putting a bit of emotion into what they’re saying, I feel it could be improved massively.
The fact that during my play through of the first act, a woman was talking about how someone very close to her had died, yet she didn’t even sound distressed is quite annoying to me. In a video game, I feel that there needs to be decent voice acting, otherwise, it really isn’t that immersive/realistic.
Also on that note, the facial expressions and character animations were not bad, but nothing special either. If realism was the game’s main focus, these would’ve been much better, but there’s nothing wrong with them at all. Unlike voice acting, I wasn’t left feeling annoyed with the character animations and facial expressions.
The narrator in Knee Deep is also really effective in helping you getting lost in Knee Deeps story. He often either clears up some slightly confusing things or just adds some information that is really helpful. Sometimes, he just does what a narrator does in a usual play anyway, just speaking over what is happening on the stage.
Once the setting has to change on the stage, the character will hop onto a machine that carries them onto another part of the stage. Whilst this is happening, the setting around the character will change, almost like a pantomime stage would, but animated. The sounds, once again, mix really well with the acoustics of the stage production, adding to the immersive feel of Knee Deep.
There are occasional puzzles that you come across in Knee Deep. Nothing hard, but there is an element of challenge. They aren’t too essential to the game, but they add another tone to the game.
There are some bugs in Knee Deep that I ran into. Nothing game breaking, just a couple of visual errors and game save glitches. After a couple of updates, I think these could be easily ironed out by Prologue Games.
Knee Deep has 3 different acts, Wonderland, Festival and Boomtown. When the game first released on PC, you had to buy each of these acts separately. However, you can now pick up all three acts in a bundle on Steam, and when Knee Deep releases on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Each act is quite long, if I had to take a guess, I’d say there’s around 2 hours worth of content in each act. However, I don’t think any of the acts are rushed nor do they drag. I’ve had the game for a while now, and I’m still yet to finish act 3. For a game that costs $14.99/£11.99, you’re getting a good load of content.
From what I have played, I feel act 1 and 2 and pretty good, but I don’t think act 3 is as good. I can’t really put my finger on what it is exactly, but there was definitely something lacking in act three that was in 1 and 2. Maybe you think the same way, maybe it’s just me. Let me know what you think on Twitter – @irrelevantgmer .
Throughout each act, you play as three unique protagonists: cheeky blogger Romana Teague, down-and-out local reporter Jack Bellet, and cynical private investigator K.C. Gaddis. As you go along, you will begin to see the three character’s actions/choices interweave with each other, a great addition to the game.
With each character, you will have to create blog posts that build on some of the clues that you have obtained throughout the story. When you go to post a blog, you first have to pick which clue you write a post on. The choice that you make really effects how your boss feels about the post. You can often pick on one that will get a lot of views, but it is not an enriching for the reader or the opposite. Your boss will usually prefer the first one, but you can take a risk and go for the second. This is not always the case, but it is most of the time. Once you have picked that, you need to pick either an edgy option, cautious or inflammatory. Each one will affect how other characters think of you. This is one of the great things about Knee Deep. It is so satisfying to know that your actions really change the course of the story in a big way. The best way of putting it: I LOVE the decision-making in Knee Deep.
The dialogue option wheel works just like Fallout 4’s did. There’s usually 3 options, sometimes more sometimes less, and it gives you some brief information on what the character is going to say. Once you click it, the character expands on that and builds a conversation. Just like when you post a blog, there’s usually the inflammatory, edgy and one that pleases everyone.
One of my favourite things about Knee Deep, and one of the reasons why I love games like this, is that the choices that you make really affect the outcome in the end. I love games like these and ones made by Telltale Games, as there’s not really a way you can lose and I also love the fact that, in a way, you are the writer. Prologue Games have really implemented this feature well into Knee Deep.
The choices the player makes are really the backbone for Knee Deep’s storyline. Some of the dialogue options that you decide to pick don’t have much effect if any on the story in the future, but, occasionally, you will be informed that there is a critical choice up ahead. This could be anything from siding with one side or another or how you react to someone being upset.
Overall, Knee Deep is a very well polished game, with some excellent decision making, but very obvious flaws. I would recommend Knee Deep to any fans of the genre looking for a new title to give a try.