"The Dynamics of Design, Verisimilitude, and Anachronism in the Video Game 'Hollow Knight': A critical examination of Cacophony and Sanctimony in Achieving Narrative Dynamism."
Hollow knight is a badass game. It didn’t just pull me out of my gaming slump, it pulled me by the collar and threw me onto the subway tracks. But the subway tracks were abandoned so I explored the tunnels and it turns out there’s a whole area down here behind a hidden wall I only found by shooting a fireball at a bee and hitting behind it. This is all metaphorical. The research methodology used in this study is a qualitative analysis of the selected media forms, including critical textual analysis and thematic analysis.
Lost your attention? Sorry I’ll stop doing the fancy word essay gimmick. I know you’re not here for that. Let's be real; I’m the realest reviewer on backloggd. That’s why you always come to me. That’s why you read my reviews. That’s why every time I meet a fan in public and they ask me for my autograph, they also tell me I am the reviewer they wait for until they play a game. It’s been 6 years since Hollow Knight came out and unfortunately I’ve been keeping my fans waiting for way too long. But worry no longer, Elksters. You can finally stop telling people that you haven’t played hollow knight because you’re waiting for the Elkmane review. It’s here. And I permit you to play it. Go ahead! If you haven’t already. But you probably haven’t, cause you all listened to me when I said don’t play games I haven’t tested and approved, right? You know why I do what I do? I taste test these games and warn of poison. You elksters are the kings and queens and rulers and I am the poison tester jester. You haven’t played it yet? Good! But I hope you finish it soon because I’m gonna go in depth and there's gonna be some spoilers.
So … it’s been a while since I've done a proper ass review. Hm. I guess we can start with how every good thing in the universe starts.
A lot of people ask me… stupid fucking questions. A lot of people think that … what I say in a review. Or what I talk about in a review. That I actually… do in real life. Or that I believe in it. Or if I say that… I wish that fangirl bug you rescue and bring to Dirtmouth had a more indepth romance path… I actually want them to do it, or that I believe in it. Well shit. If you believe that… then I’ll kill you. You know why? Because I freaking love the gameplay! I love the gameplay!
The gameplay is very nice. It’s 2D and you can move around and attack and stuff. Yada yada. But every action game is made or broken with its healing system. That's why Dark Souls is the GOAT and Skyrim sucks dicks. What do I think of hollow knight’s healing system? I think it’s good. It’s a little forgiving, especially with certain charms equipped like the shape of Unn and quick soul or whatever it’s called but it’s fine because some bosses can be very unforgiving. The whole battle can be trying to not get hit until you stagger or get them to do the one move you need so you have enough time to get off 1 heart of healing. It’s a super cool system that is also balanced by the magic system which draws off the same soul. I do think there's a problem with the extra soul canisters taking a second to reload and go into your main, usable soul canister. There’s also a second of input delay after you finish healing so it’s hard to pull off last millisecond jumps. But that’s probably all about balance. If they took it out it would probably be unbalanced. Who knows.
The nail combat is also great. It feels nice and some charms can make your nail faster or longer. But overall it’s basic. Nothing wrong with it I guess. It’s like urinating. It’s simple and you get used to it so you never realize how practical and easy to pick up and use it is. There’s a parry system that sometimes makes me feel super cool. I also got into some areas early by hitting the nail downward on an object and getting height. Nail arts though. Those kinda feel tacked on and I barely used them. But the real appeal of the combat isn’t really mastering parry timing or some shit. It’s no sekiro. You don’t really need physical reaction time mastery much. You just need to know the enemies and their moves and how to move in the air. And the more upgrades you get the easier the combat gets, but man the enemies get harder too don’t they? Some of the top tier bosses are so hard and you literally die within seconds. Then you keep practicing and doing it over and over til you know all the moves and how to dodge em so it's just a matter of doing the right dodges at the right time and hitting when they’re open. So much variation and so many different moves for these dudes it’s very fun and sometimes catches me off guard in new areas seeing new enemies.
I’m always on my guard while exploring but at the same time exploring can be a relaxing time cause you can get soul and heal up. Doin some cool traversal. The platforming aint bad for the most part considering platforming is the worst part of any game it’s in. Except the white castle place I could reasonably do any of the platforming without issue. Jumping and dashing and super dashing and shit. Made even funner by hitting your sword downwards. There were some creative platforming areas, like hitting the long metal worms to stay afloat etc. I loved how there was never a time in the game when I was lost because I could just go in one direction absentmindedly and just explore shit cause there's always gonna be something in that direction. And then as you keep getting more and more shit like more jumps and stuff in normal metroidvania fashion but there's so much cool stuff that u find by backtracking.
Now, I wanna take a quick detour to discuss something. The song Music Box by Eminem on relapse is a beautiful track. And yet, oxymoronically, the lyrics are gruesome and describe various murders and cannibalistic acts as well as name-dropping JonBenét Ramsey. Yet it’s hauntingly beautiful. It invokes a sense of familiarity, of love, of nostalgia, and it can clearly be seen within the eerie yet comforting chorus. If I may; it goes a little something like this; “when the lights are off, i see the girls asleep, I hear my music box playing a song for me, though we’re worlds apart, you mean the world to me, so when you call i will answer” Punctuated repeatedly with Marshall repeating the title of the song over the chorus at haphazard intervals. Look closely at the imagery presented within the verse. “Lights are off, girls asleep” Evokes thoughts of seeing your daughter and/or wife asleep, late at night. Which could be seen in that way or, geniusly, perhaps through the eyes of a serial killer. And it follows with “music box i hear it calling me” A music box could be a sentimental or melancholy gift. Often associated with love and family. This song’s genius use of contrast helps so well with the horror atmosphere. And it follows; “though we’re worlds apart, you mean the world to me” fully going in on the love aspect. Everyone’s had a long distance relationship and everyone knows how it feels to want to hug the person you love so much but the best you can do is send a gif with a cartoon bear that says “SENDING VIRTUAL HUG” which isn’t nearly as nice for either party. “So when you call I will answer” and he finishes out the chorus by reminding his long distance girlfriend that he will accept the discord call instantly whenever she calls. But another interpretation could be that the music box and the girl calling are two opposing forces: if we look at it through an eminemian lens, the music box could be metaphysically symbolizing the music industry. The girls could symbolize the 38 daughters that guy has. So much meaning, symbolism, interpretation, and thought packed into one single tiny little chorus on a bonus track most will miss. Why? Because he’s the greatest musical artist of all time. Pusha T’s up there too but Eminem is awesomer IMO.
Now, how can we apply this lens to Hollow Knight? We cannot. Thank you for reading.
Wikimedia Foundation. (2023, March 10). Eminem. Wikipedia, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminem

just a little bit too much "smashing head in2 wall" stuff and id be happy if i never fought no eyes again but overall its a hype and fun experience. The new bosses were really really hype and the boss refight hall is a great idea. Theres no way im doing that pantheon with every boss in the game back to back. I already theoretically beat it just out of order and one at a time during the course of the rest of my playthru
im gonna rereview hollow knight with all the completion and secret ending stuff and give it the thorough, overwritten 50 page review that the game truly deserves. Keep an eye out for that!!!!!!!!

gameplay gets stale kind of. i like the shotgun, and bhopping, and some enemy designs. the architecture in some levels is magnificent for no reason. But @ the end of the day its basically serious sam with a cool weird laser saw boomerang weapon. Did not finish

I don't know how long it's been since a game made me feel the way I did when I was a kid. Like it was all I wanted to do, when I was outside I was thinking "oh i could be playing injustice gods among us right now." And picturing what zod combos I could think up in my head while zoning out in class. Wait actually yeah i do know how long it's been. Literally 10 years. See the injustice sentence? That game came out 10 years ago. When I was outside, hanging out with friends, exercising, doing whatever. I always think oh man i could be playing hollow knight. I lied down at night thinking oh man maybe tomorrow I could check out this area over here now that I have this ability. And I would imagine what stuff I could find there. Also perfectly captures that dark souls 1 feel while being a lot more forgiving. It's so easy to just do whatever and go in one direction and explore. There's always something there. And the movement and everything is so easy and snappy that it's not a chore at all. At first when my friend said there's DLC that triples the length of the game i'm like oh man that sounds so stretched out and long and boring. But now i'm like ... only triples??!? give me more!!! hahahaha. ohh what a day what a motherfuckin day. I can't believe I found the injustice gods among us of a new generation. I'm telling everyone about this. I'm goin back and im doin the DLC and finding every little one of those tiny collectibles. Cause this game is sick.

This shit is beyond perfect. Rocksteady was not human at the time of development. I want to have sex with every line of code in this videogame. And direct me to the catwoman folder i'd like to start there

yesterday i was watching utube videos and i saw one about spiderman ps4. then im like damn i never played the dlc for that game, thats crazy. i should go buy and play that. Then i remembered i packed up my ps4 cause im moving. Oh thats ok, i think. Now there is a pc version. its pirating time. but then i remembered again that the pc version has the weird new peter face. so I decided to replay this instead. And I've got some stuff to say. Firstly this game kind of sucks but at the same time it is like the industry standard still 20 billion years after its come out and its crazy. Now hold on. Did I just say it sucked? maybe it does suck a little bit. The animations, the flat voice acting, glitchy combat, basic stealth, and especially the story, it's all done better in city. But like I don't care because there's nothing quite like this game. Even games to this day are still copy pasting it and failing ballstacularisly (ghost of tsushima) ((sucks))
maybe it's just the mood ive been in but replaying stuff always just helps me see the flaws more clearly. But on the other hand it also helps me to see the upsides more clearly too. Combat is awesome despite the little hiccups and the atmosphere is untouchable. The riddler's riddles are elementary for a mind like mine but thats ok some of them were pretty fun. I'm really glad I played this when I was little because if i played it now i would've said "i wish i played this game when i was little" games like lego dc supervillains, scribblenauts unmasked, gotham knights, oh man gotham knights. We have to talk about gotham knights don't we. Okay here we go. gotham knights.
Umm. I didn't play it. I did not. I know I said i pre ordered it but I lied. I lie about a lot of things. I think it's funny to lie, i think it's really the only power a person can truly have over another. If you think about it like that when you lie you just change reality for the other person. I walk up to a guy and i tell him my name is Dr Shrimp Puertorico then he will just be like "ok shrimp. my name is billy smith" and he will have no idea that the reality in his head is a fake reality. That's what gotham knights basically is. A big lie. They lied to me by telling me the game would be good. I didn't think the game would be good. I thought it would suck. And as more and more info came out, it was clear to me that it would suck. Which is terrible. I mean what videogame does everyone in the universe want? that's right. a co op arkham game. OK and they set it up after the knightfall protocol in arkham knight. this will be a good continuation of the arkhamverse. BOOM its not in the arkhamverse. Why? because that shitty pooicide squad game is in the arkham verse. Firstly fuck the suicide squad and whoever decided that was the huge new dc thing. It's not. Suicide squad is so lame. I don't want a game where i play as captain fucking boomerang trying to kill superman I WANT TO PLAY AS FUCKIGN SUPERMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! same shit with avengers. you took the blandest, most c tier filled superhero team and just because marvel studios made one good movie now they're the big guys. newsflash pal... Xmen, fantastic 4, fuckin that little team in ultimate spiderman where they went to stop kingpin. u know the ones. spidey, daredevil, moon knight, shang chi, iron fist, dr strange. hell throw punisher in there too why not. They're all cooler than boring lame avengers. For crying out loud avengers has iron man and captain america and thor and black widow and hawkeye. the most bland and boring and lame and fucking lame and boring af guys ever and you put em together? you know whats truly screwed? the 3 actually cool avengers.. hulk, ant man, and the wasp... hulk barely is in the avengers movies and in the new ones hes like a little baby, and ant man and the wasp are like super old in the mcu. WTF? scott and hope are cool but like hank and jan r the guys u care about. whateversauce. What was i talking about? oh how lame suicide squad is. U know what was so terrible about this? they teased suicide squad in arkham origins. They did. And it was for deathstroke. he was gonna be in it. And years later we get rocksteady's suicide squad which they seem to have been forced to make at gunpoint, with a new deadshot, a new harley quinn, and superheroes that were only subtley and (masterfully) hinted at before. U know my theory? The guys who made gotham knights and the guys who made suicide squad swapped projects. Gotham knights was supposed to be a sequel to arkham knight and suicide squad was just supposed to be some co op live service avengers clone. Which it probably is already going to be. my theorem is that because that new THE suicide squad movie came out and was actually not terrible, the warner brothers dickhead investor dudes were like OMG OMFG OMG OMFG OMG WE NEED OUR A TEAM ON THIS and the devs were like umm sir the A team is working on gotham knights which is a high quality very good awesome game where you co op with the batfamily in an open world gotham and the story is good and we built off the already made batfamily movesets from the arkham series and like omg this game is a slam dunk waiting to happen and it didnt happen because why because who knows because i can't have good things because elden ring came out and was good and there can only be one good game per year and this is like some message from god that tells me i need to move on from superheroes and videogames and pay my taxes and my alimony and visit my son and apologize to my ex and stop listening to eminem and get a life. Wel screw you god i'm not doing any of that. You know what im gonna do? you can smite gotham knights into being bad but you can't smite me into somehow not liking arkham city on replay. So who's laughing now? bitch?

pretty derivative but it was cool. The aesthetic & story is what I sort of have an issue with. it just feels too creepy pasta to me. I guess. Idk. And its just like little cutscenes of an anime chick looking at the camera, or some sentence that is meant to sound esoteric and existential and scary.. Oh turn on the computer spooky sound. IDK man I wish I could get scared easier. If I'm rapping jay z lyrics (family feud) while I'm going thru these halls maybe make ur game more scary. Not trying to brag seriously PT made me really scared but u know. Whatever. The character's name is Elster, which is similar sounding to Elkster, which you guys know is the name my fanbase applies to themselves. The elk army and each of you are elksters. Cause im elk, elkmane to be precise. Peace out

disappointing.... lets just forget about the crappy story for a minute like I did cause I skipped all the cutscenes, lets forget about the boring braindead level design where they literally highlight where you have to go with these different things like planks that you climb up on or a ledge you drop down on that make no difference cause they serve the same function... let's forget about how every level could've been a corridor into a combat room into a corridor into a combat room and nothing would be lost. No one cares about the peripheral shit. We're here for the combat. The gameplay. What any decent game should have at the front. I thought this games gameplay would be fun and it sort of was until I realized it is, like the rest of the game, NOTHING!!!
of all the action games you could copy, you choose god of war 2018? really? I mean I guess it sort of makes sense since this is a mixture brawler/third person shooter, but we really have the tight ass camera angle and no jumping and walking and talking sections and, like I said before, random useless traversal like climbing ropes or whatever, a couple powers and perks and upgrades but it doesn't fix the problem of it being so lame. Your main tool that you don't even get till like level 3 is your electric gauntlet which lets you teleport straight at an enemy's face and stun them, or parry attacks and stun them, or grapple an enemy towards you and stun them, or just bring certain enemies into a guaranteed kill animation and health pickup. Look maybe I'm old fashioned but I want action games where I have to use different tools cause if I'm using the exact same combos on every single enemy because it works easily and the game isn't forcing me to change it up I WILL get bored. "ohh you should just change up your combat just for fun if you're getting bored doing the same thing" ITS NOT MY JOB TO HAVE FUN!! ITS THE GAMES JOB TO BE FUN!! MAKE ME HAVE FUN!!! IF I WANTED TO MAKE MYSELF HAVE FUN I COULD USE MY IMAGINATION AND CONJURE UP THE PERFECT VIDEOGAME WHENEVER I WANTED! DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND? Sorry I lost my cool there. But yeah. No encouragement to experiment, honestly bland combat that gets stale once you get past the cool electric and body parts falling off graphics, and everything that isn't the combat is nothing. Figuratively nothing. God damn I've been looking forward to this one since it got revealed. Why can't they just make an action game about a cowboy with an electric gauntlet fighting vampires and various assorted monsters and have it just be good? why does it have to be bad? Why is my favourite game of the year a visual novel about some depressed artist in medieval times visiting a small village in Bavaria? how far have we fallen as an artform?

ok. so. I've been on a streak of these story games after realizing with telltale walking dead that sometimes games without shotguns can be awesome. It did sort of have this barrier of the whole setting being .. medieval times in some buttfuck country I never heard of set dozens of years before I was even born. Medieval times is a pretty boring setting. If you ask me, the only three settings I will accept are modern day, zombie apocalypse, or the cold war. Games CANNOT be set in the future because they will be outdated when we get to the time the game alleges it's set in. It also cannot be set in space because there's no sound in space so I have to turn off my volume every time for full immersion and its so lame. My most important rule is games cannot be set in medieval times because I don't want motherfuckers saying "thy, thee, thine, thou, wasn't, shakespeare," and other medieval words. Also I can't help but think it just really smells bad there.
But you know what, I gave this one a try. And I'm glad I did because despite the boring, lame setting and naming all these old monks from like 1500 in conversation as if I'm supposed to know who they are, I found peace within the world through the protagonist, Andy. You see, Andy is a visitor and an artist. You play as him and choose what he says. What I did was I self inserted as him and I thought I was him. So when people said "oh yeah saint reactine from the denzel mountains said pablo neruda and max brooks of loeb city went to the pottage shop to eat pottage" (authors note: pottage is like beans sort of ) both me and Andy can nod our heads and pretend to know wtf is going on.
You see I'm a big fan of games that make me feel smart without having to be smart or do anything. There are no real puzzles in this game or any way to fail, it's completely linear and no matter what you do you win. But it makes me feel smart because I didn't know it was impossible to lose. So when I kept winning, I felt sooo really sodding smart. (Authors note: sodding is ancient slang for fucking) Andy quickly became one of my favourite characters in recent memory because of how relatable he is not just in his fish outta water attitude in the town, but his personal arc also really resonated with me. Anyone can relate honestly. The game says a lot about passions and goals love and people and building on the past and the economy's relation with art and the passage of time and faith and a whole lotta fancy pants college degree bullcrap but I won't get into that because I want YOU to get into it.
Yeah you play the game yourself and comprehend the themes and subtext and stuff. That's gonna be real fun for you. The side characters are also super fleshed out and seeing these guys change over the course of the game was amazing and I was really really invested, which is surprising especially for such a short -ish game, I have to admit its very hard to get me to care for a whole town of people but I did even if sometimes I couldn't pronounce their medieval ass names. There's a whole lot of them and it normally would be easy for them to feel really similar visually and personality wise considering there's no voice acting but the art style is so outta this world that not only does everything look smooth and the animations feel real and sick and awesome, but each npc has their own look and style where you from a glance can almost tell what they're like just from their face and what they're doing and their posture or whatever. I had some complicated ass relationships with these townspeople. And I think that's really awesome.
One thing I did think was sort of underdeveloped was the actual quest design and time passage mechanics. Your quests are always very similar, go here and ask this person about this. Like I get it there's no funny business its a straight up realistic medieval times thing, and there are some exceptions where the quest can be action packed... But yeah it can get boring to make a break in the case and my next goal is to talk to these three people about this topic and gather info, which I guess is the point since you're solving a murder mystery but, whatever. Aside from the variety I just wish the actual stuff was more robust and clear. Like ok this quest tells me to talk to this guy. I go to the guy. He gives me a "wassup Andy" and I can't respond. Is the quest broken? did I come at the wrong time? who knows. The in game journal ain't tellin me jack squat. I also thought the pacing could be off at some times, some chapters felt very long and some felt like they were over in a second. But if those tiny ass baby ass complaints are all I got then I don't see why I can't bestow upon this game one of elk's highest honours, the coveted, the exclusive, the cool and badass 5/5. Yeah. Hell yeah.
good night!
EDIT: Josh sawyer blocked me on twitter so im dropping my rating of this game. Thanks for understanding.

played one game and its soo cool. a little laggy but its badass and the garphics r nice and the guns are fun af. the guys all look really badass too. i wish i could buy some skins maybe when that paycheck comes ill skimp on the child support for a month or two and buy that cool skeleton face guy

It’s quaint. I like it a lot and it was a lot of fun. Making small decisions was also really quaint too. The flashback story is really good and honestly I dont think they needed to have the current time parts like when she’s looking for the first aid kit. The combat encounters are more boring, you get barely any weapons but I guess there’s an appeal to that. Being underpowered having to try to be more stealthy. Which yeah sometimes in the og game I was like…. Really…. A flame thrower......... …. In a zombie apocalypse? Am I playing last of us or team fortress 2? Ya the enemy encounters are more badly designed except the fact that for the first time now zombies and human enemy npcs will appear at the same time and can do infighting. Cool as hell right? Well I guess it makes sense as to why they didn’t do it in the base game because both the zombie enemy AI and the human enemy AI are vastly under qualified to do something like this. Soooo many bugs so many glitches, my game crashed like 3 times, restarting encounters only for the zombies to not show up or just have a staring contest with the human NPCs. But man the flashback stuff with Riley… is the peak of this game and the last one. So freaking fun

Mushroom zombies is the dumbest idea ever. Why ruin the best monster with a mushroom? I can’t take it seriously at all. Mushroom monsters are reserved for Mario. I can’t be scared of a pizza topping. Not only that, but their face looks like pepperoni. OK I guess theyre going with a pizza zombie theme. But then out of nowhere they start making dolphin sounds. OK buddy... I get you're trying to be different from every other zombie thing but the appeal of zombie things is that they could all happen in the same world.
Like oh im passing thru this house and maybe umm idk Ben from night of the living dead was here. Whatever. The spore thing is stupid too and serves no purpose. I dont like "clickers" and the fact that its impossible to melee fight them more than one at a time. I dont like the puzzles all being ladder or plank or wood pallet and i dont like how close the camera is to your character wtf i cant see anything.
and the camera zooms in dramatically every time you do a melee hit and you get less and less situational awareness and it sucks because these mushroom bitches can one shot you if they approach you but i cant see you because im punching this zombie and i can see about 4 milimeters of my 900 inch 4k tv screen not being taken up by joel, the man with the shoulders of me on steroids.
In fact im gonna go on record as to saying I think this may not even be fixed if it was playable with a keyboard and mouse. I'm sorry to everyone who stockholmed themselves into thinking that videogames are playable on controllers but I feel about 60% in control of my character at any given moment.
I couldve pulled off some badass shit if i was allowed to aim and do an input without pressing up left quarter circle l2 at the same time to switch my gun. Even then the melee system still somehow doesnt understand that we figured out targeting with devil may cry 3 and hell probably before that who gives a shit.
Now im using my last melee charge on this baby normal zombie who cant one shot me and oh look the one shot pizza zombies coming here time to do the whole encounter again. FUCK limited melee weapons i hate them with all my heart let me have a knife or something i swear to you i can smash a baseball bat into someone full force and it'd break on the first hit but that's because i'm extremely strong. if someone like joel were to hit a baseball bat into someone you know it would last for a very long time because it's made of strong wood sometimes aluminum or something not plywood.
Seriously i dont get the obsession with having charged up/limited melee attacks in these arkham knockoff stealth games like this and deus ex HR. What a god damn shit show for real. But yeah now for the good parts. This game is really good, i love the story and the graphics, the writing is nice, i insulted the combat a bit earlier but when it works and you're smashing zombie heads into the wall and punching them into pieces it feels amazing.
I love exploring neighborhoods and stuff and looting its very relaxing and nice. I would love to live in a zombie apocalypse IRL i think it'd be very relaxing just like that.
Yeah so... now for the elephant in the room. Yes I know I had this game at one star before. Why did I give it another try?
well aside from not being able to think about anything but walking dead for the past 6 months, I've been curious as to why so many love this game and think its the best ever made.
And yeah I totally get it now. I'm a man, I'm man enough to admit when I was wrong. I've sinned a lot in my life and I've made plenty of mistakes. I shot my brother, I rated encore higher than to pimp a butterfly, I watched Jane die, but nothing.. nothing will compare to the 9 years I have spent thinking and telling others that this game was bad.
And for that ... I apologize. But I'm thinking... does this make me a normie? am I a normie now? am I gonna line up for the next god of war reboot game? oh pls no. I need to play something patrician and niche to fix my reputation. Shit i think its time i pull out god hand.

This review contains spoilers

played it twice already with no romances and i decided to try it this time romancing a character. i chose violet and it was quaint