Portal Knights – Review
Portal Knights is an open world Sandbox RPG, the idea of the game is to build, create and explore using the portals available in each world.
Each world that you land on has different enemies and/or resources for you to mine, which is where the game speaks volumes. You can set a world to be your ‘Home’ world, this is basically where you have a nice little house with all your equipment and some chests to hold excess loot.
As you go through portals and check out other worlds, the information for these worlds becomes available and you can see which enemies are on there as well as what resources are available. This makes it’s a lot easier to plan the resources you need for upgrading or creating items, basically if you needed a certain item to create specific weapons or clothing you can just go into your menu and check the worlds you have explored to see if any of them have a resource needed. If one of them does have the resources needed then you can simply travel straight to the world to find it.
This is another one of the games attractive properties where you can find resources very easily, or at least where the resources are, finding them on worlds can be a little trickier especially when it comes to the rarer resources.
There are 3 characters that you get to play in the game, Warrior, Ranger and Mage. I chose Mage… Well because in games I always do… I was disappointed that there were only 3 classes to choose from, however, I am hoping in a future update there may be more added to this. Would be cool to have a good choice of characters to pick from and add to the games overall depth. Each character as well can be levelled up as well as given specific talents. As you level up your characters you can assign skill points to certain areas, whether it be magic, dexterity, health etc. 2 of the sections will be lower than the rest as they will correspond with the 2 other classes, but you can add to them if fancy doing so.
The talents in the game that you can assign give you a couple of choices at certain levels (5, 10, 15, 20 etc). One of the ones for a mage is whether you want to be proficient in either Wand, Staff or Scythe magic. This just gives you a little kick with that weapon.
The crafting system within Portal Knights does take a lot of getting used too and I found it very complicated at the start. Mainly because everything was in Tabs, and not everything on the list could be made in the workbench that you are in. When creating items you have your workbench, Altar, Furnace, and drafting table. Now, you would think that this would be easy to get through but at first, it isn’t.
The workbench is where you create your weapons and axes and a few other bits, your Altar is where you can craft potions and other magical items, such as new clothes, wands, staffs etc. Your furnace as you can imagine makes all your copper bars, iron and melts down any materials to make new ones. The drafting table basically comes up with new items to make, these can be in the form of decorative items for your home, tables, chairs etc. Each of the appliances that you have in the game can be ranked up, every time you rank them up you can make better items, which goes along with your character ranking, which as the worlds get harder means you have an easier way to get through it without any issues.
One of the biggest pulls for Portal Knights is its ability to play online with others, however, I did find that this was a downside to the game as well (in its current state). The reason being is that playing with friends brings a whole new level to playing the game and building, as well as going through worlds to find new items and monsters. But there is no limit on who can enter your game (on the PS4) and no way to kick or limit people who just randomly spawn in your game, so if you have everything in your PS4 privacy settings set to public, then anyone can enter your game, and there has been a number of reports where random people are going round and entering people’s games and taking all their loot before disappearing back to their own world. Sneaky! I am hoping that in a future update this will be fixed and some form of ‘invite only’ option or at least a kick option will be implemented.
Again, this is a 2 way thing, because when you’re playing with friends and they find some good loot on your world that they would like to take back with them, then it’s easy for them to do so, I think when my friend tried it, he had some stuff in his world he wanted to bring over, he quickly opened the menu, went to his world, found what he needed and was back within about 2 minutes. Which is really good, especially if you’re wanting to help friends out on their world, nothing is tied down to you, you can take stuff back and forth as you like.
The controls are easy to get used too, you have the standard R2 which places objects, and sticks move around. You have a quick access bar at the bottom of the screen which you can set 4 items to the D-Pad for quick and easy access, I tended to set my weapons and health to it just so if I was caught out I would have quick access to get to it instead of pressing on the triggers to get to it, just press one of the D-Pad and BOOM… You’re there.
The graphics within the game are really nice, the way the worlds are designed are full of colour and life and I thoroughly enjoy going from world to world, although it can get a little repetitive with a grassy world, sand world, snow world, and repeat, however, I have only opened 17 worlds… I say only… I am on a large setting and there is a lot of search for. There is also some fantastic use of lighting within the game, the reflections you get from the moon or sun glistening off the water is amazing, the shadows that have been used are brilliant and I love having the moon or the sun behind me and seeing my shadow against a wall… I just don’t like seeing a Monster shadow along side me….
The loading times within the game are very hit and miss, sometimes they can take ages to load a world or get you back to your home world, and some other times, it doesn’t take as long. I’m hoping in future updates this is address to make it more consistent as well as reduce them down.
Another thing that let me down was the swimming or lack of. Whenever you go into water you drop to the bottom like a mobster has just tied a brick to your ankles and has declared that you’re going to sleep with the fishes. You can jump higher when underwater (?) but it would be better to be able to swim or multi-jump under the water as there are times you get caught out and are unable to get back out and with only 3 bubbles for air, you don’t get much time, especially when there are monsters under there with you. Fighting those while trying to get out is not the best combination.
I haven’t compared Portal Knights in this review to Minecraft because I didn’t want the review to be “it’s different to this in Minecraft” or “this is better in Portal Knights than it is to Minecraft”. I wanted the review to show fairly how the game, while there are a lot of similarities, is different in its own right. Yes, you can build epic things with the blocks you have, but this game isn’t mainly about that, it’s more about exploration finding new things, new worlds, and testing yourself.
From where Minecraft started, to where it is now, that’s what I want for this game, it is an amazing game and one I can see myself playing for a while. I haven’t had what I call ‘Game Rage’ for a while, where I am looking forward to finishing work and getting home to play a game, this is what this game has done to me. All because I get ideas while in work of what I could build or move onto next, which I think is the best way to play… To have a plan of action, to try different things to see how it changes the game.
I do love this game and I hope with future updates it is expanded on to add more content, classes and different biomes. It has a lot of potential, let’s hope Keen Games can take it there!