Specter of Torment is the second of the DLC campaigns to come from Yacht Club games and as you might imagine, its good! But that does come with some caveats and opinions on the matter of course. So without further delay, lets get into my thoughts on this particular campaign.
Specter Knight is a prequel to the main Shovel Knight campaign and focuses on the titular Specter Knight. Resurrected by the Enchantress, hes tasked with gathering up The Order of No Quarter and upon doing so will regain his humanity. Its a bit of a darker spin on the normal Shovel Knight fare and I’m not entirely sure it works as well as the more silly takes but hey some experimentation is appreciated and its not like I don’t like the game. It sets up some of the characters from Shovel Knight proper and even has some pretty amusing barbs and lines, as well as being an interesting jaunt though levels of Shovel Knight that show the bosses lairs before they get established. I do like Specter and hes decently sympathetic, especially because everyone else kind of treats him like crap especially the enchantress. Its also interesting to get an idea of how things came together both before the events that set off Shovel Knight. I do think the flashbacks could possibly have been more frequent and built things up a bit more, but overall I enjoyed the story even if I still find Plague Knights tale to be superior.
The world map is gone here, replaced with a teleporting mirror and such. The game really trims the fat this time around-it starts pretty quickly and gets right into things. You can home in and slash at enemies allowing you to do a more versatile version of what Shovel Knight does pogowise which also allows you to traverse certain obstacles. I do like the speed and relentlessness at which you attack, allowing you to quickly overwhelm certain enemies and keep moving around tougher bosses or enemies. Its rather snappy and the items are perfectly alright, and the wall running allows you to do some interesting puzzles.
I like the visual design of the lair you hang out in, some of the characters who hang around there and some of the stuff you can mess with. Additionally I do find it interesting that the game lets you buy certain items if you miss them while playing through a level, allowing you to simply buy them if you don’t feel up to playing again. Theres also a grind mechanic that I feel could have been used more and can be a fun time to navigate across levels. Overall Specter Knight is pretty fast and fluid, and its fun to navigate with him-perhaps a bit moreso than the other characters. The bosses are also pretty remixed which is great because it forces you to alter tactics in how you deal with them and I fully approve. They have also added an option to listen to music you like on the title screen which is a nice touch.
This is probably going to be one of the more divisive parts of this game-the music has been remixed and altered. Personally….I’m a bit torn on it. I appreciate them mixing it up and I do like some of the tracks, but it doesn’t jive with me as much as the previous tracks did. Thats a personal thing of course, so I’d say decide for yourself and go from there. I don’t think the tracks are bad mind, they just don’t do it for me as much as the others.
Summing up, I like this game but I feel its lacking a bit of the charm and humor here or there because it goes darker. I do overall like the game, but I’d say that if you were to pick up these games as separate packs this one would probably be the one to get after you grab the other two though I really think you should do yourself a favor and grab the full edition. I do think this is worth playing and theres fun to be had as Yacht Club continues to fulfill their backer goals in great effect. We can only hope that the next character keeps the quality a-coming.