I am pretty ashamed about how long it’s taken me to write this review. I played it the day it came out on Steam, loved it, intended to write a review about it that weekend. The problem is that life gets in the way of things and I honestly had a really, really hard time figuring out what to say. Kind of had that issue where I just kept opening my mouth to say things but the words just weren’t coming out. How do I even express how I felt about Festival? Knee Deep is hands down one of my favorite episodic games. I adore episodic games. And Knee Deep takes a delightful spin on it.
Welcome to the show!
On November 3rd, Act 2 of Knee Deep was released for Windows, Mac, and Linux. I recommend revisiting my previous review and Greenlight announcement for more background information about Knee Deep, I normally do not repeat that in future reviews.
Silence Your Phones and Enjoy the Show:
Above everything else, the thing I adore the most about Knee Deep together is how it takes the “life is a stage” phrase and makes it just so, and just so perfectly just so. The player is actually an audience member of this great tragedy (in Florida of all places) and we witness the demise of a once great actor. Washed up. Irrelevant. Life torn into bits. It’s brilliant. If I didn’t fear smudging up my keyboard, I would have been chowing down on bits of popcorn as I absorbed all the drama before me. But, enough said there.
Act One left me on the edge of my seat and demanding more content. I wanted to get my hands on Act Two right then and there. But I waited patiently and patiently, and patiently. Since then, Prologue Games implemented voice acting for Act Two, which I didn’t realize would make it even better. It adds another layer of immersion to the player that just really ties together the whole experience in a way I didn’t even realize was needed. A lot of things have been worked on and Knee Deep is a significantly smoother experience as a result. So, gameplay-wise, things are looking good.
But the store is the heart of it, isn’t it? God, where do I even start with the story?
Phaedra, Shmaedra! You Made Your Choice!
Now, everyone’s playthrough is going to be different depending on what choices they made between the three playable characters but the general scope of things is relatively the same. The Church of Us has a big hand in the strange happenings currently going on in the town of Cypress Knee and we’re trying to piece it together. The ugly lives of these three unique characters start to flesh together the more and more as the story continues on and once the second act of Knee Deep comes around, I’d say we’ve all gotten to know each other very well.
Admittedly, the conflicts from Act One aren’t as overwhelmingly touched up on in the second act but used cleverly enough to motivate the suspense that’s been building in the background. You see, there are some power hungry powers as work (or so it seems) and their motivations are somewhat unclear. What is clear is that they currently are untouchable and somehow have a hand even in the lives of our three conflicted protagonists. And it’s freaking genius. Nail-bitingly genius. Would you like some murder with your murder? How about some unexpected unemployment? They’re a tasty duo.
What I want to emphasize the most after playing through Knee Deep Act Two’s story is that nothing is still what it seems. Act Two will have you charging through the story as fast as possible, chugging through the action with everything you’ve got (in spirit, that is), and the ending is completely unexpected. It beautifully leaves just the right questions hanging in the tense, crisp air suppressed by the ever discomforting “what now?”
So, Knee Deep, what now?
God, I am really excited for the third and final act of Knee Deep.
For More Information
Favorite game(s): Gone Home, Life is Strange, Back to Bed, Transistor
Non-indie: Mafia II, L.A. Noire, Dark Cloud II (Dark Chronicle), The Assassin's Creed Series (mainly Brotherhood and Black Flag)
Worked for Cliqist.com from Jan 2013 to Februrary 2014.
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