E3 09: Undead Knights is Pikmin with zombies


Of the games Tecmo was displaying at its E3 booth, one of the most intriguing looking titles was Undead Knights. I'd heard absolutely nothing about this PSP game before the show rolled around, but now that I've seen it played and been talked through the title's features, I must say that it's looking like one of the coolest PSP games to have hit the system in a long, long time. 

If you enjoyed titles like Pikmin and Overlord, as well as the movie Army of Darkness, then hit the jump for a first look at Undead Knights. You should find yourself most interested.

The story tells the tale of a dutiful knight who once dared to speak out against the king and his domineering new wife. He finds himself murdered for his insolence, along with his brother and his fiancé on their wedding day. However, the slaughtered knight makes a pact with a demon and returns to wreak vengeance.

The story is said to be heavily influenced by the Evil Dead series, and will be full of inappropriate dialog and silly shenanigans. Tecmo says you'll be playing more of an anti-hero than a truly heroic figure, not least for the fact that the king's soldiers will view him as the bad guy. Undead Knights also features a "raging metal soundtrack," just in case you needed a clearer idea about just how camp and silly this game will be. 

It's the gameplay, however, that really sets this particular handheld title apart. Playing as one of the three murdered characters, you will have the power to grab enemies and then turn them into mindless zombie slaves. You simply grab a soldier by the neck, lift him up, and wait for him to turn, becoming your willing servant. You can have up to ten zombies at any given time, and can even make slaves out of huge mid-bosses as well. 

The zombies can be commanded to perform various tasks, able to bring down gates to allow your knight to pass through. They will also attack enemy soldiers and help turn them into fresh zombies. If you're feeling particularly vicious, you can order your zombies to "tear them apart," and watch as they mericlessly drag opponents down and rip them to shreds. If that wasn't enough, you can also pick your rotting friends up and use them as shields, or simply toss them at enemies. Your zombies will continue to fight for you with lost limbs and missingn heads, too, although they won't last forever, so you're constantly attempting to replenish your army.

I was shown a boss fight against a large opponent, and got to see how the zombies could be ordered to jump and hang onto him. When enough zombies did this, the boss was dragged down to the ground, allowing the undead knight to hack him to bits. After doing this a few times, the knight then grabbed and turned the boss into a huge and devastating zombie thrall. 

With combo attacks, ad-hoc co-op and competitive play, and a good sense of dark humor, Undead Knights has all the tools to be one of the PSP's standout titles. It's a fresh and inventive take on videogame zombies, and has enough vicious hack n' slash combat to entice hardcore action junkies. Undead Knights is looking brutally stupendous.

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Jim Sterling
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Filed under... #E3 #PSP



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