Portal Knights (PlayStation 4) Review

By André Eriksson 02.06.2017

Review for Portal Knights on PlayStation 4

Ever since the release of Minecraft, a new subcategory of sandbox games has grown and taken many different forms. Portal Knights gave the formula a nice dash of ARPG action, and it is finally out on PS4 for console players to enjoy. It is time to build, fight, and explore, so Cubed3 grabs its sword and hatchet to walk the vast worlds of Portal Knights.

Open fields and tons of resources to harvest and use to build the perfect world have become a staple in many modern sandboxes, where the focus rests on creativity and the sweet feeling of freedom. Not unlike those times as a kid when building with LEGO, going outside of the manual was, to many, the most glorious part of it. Some wanted goals and guidelines about what to do, though, and Portal Knights offers exactly this.

What sets Portal Knights apart from many other sandbox titles is that there is a set goal to progress further into the world. This is done by collecting shards. These are obtained from both killing enemies and harvesting resources, meaning that no matter what you find enjoyable in these games, it is possible to progress.

Screenshot for Portal Knights on PlayStation 4

While this is true, the reward for farming enemies when it comes to shards is too high compared to harvesting resources. This is a problem, as it moves all focus in the game towards combat, which is often not the element people are looking for. It has to be kept in mind that Portal Knights is an ARPG, as well as an open world sandbox.

Even with that in mind, the combat is pretty fun, yet very basic. Most of the fun and challenge of it comes from dodging and using the surroundings to the advantage, precisely where the complexity is desired in an open sandbox game, save during some of the awesome mechanics-based boss battles that will feel familiar to anyone deeply into action adventures.

Screenshot for Portal Knights on PlayStation 4

Portal Knights becomes addictive quickly, with its interesting and very rewarding gameplay. The problem is the pacing, though. At the beginning, the game is a tad bit too quickly paced, and towards the end it is painfully slow. The issue starts when it is time to farm green shards, which are only on a very few worlds, as many worlds contains red ones, which are only required for one portal at the moment.

This leads to the few worlds containing green shards being too heavily farmed, resulting in them getting boring, while there will never be any reason to fully explore neither the early worlds nor the later and very exotic worlds that contains red shards. It is an imbalance of where time is spent in the game that makes the experience more repetitive than it needs to be.

Screenshot for Portal Knights on PlayStation 4

Beside this issue in balance of where to farm, Portal Knights is a fun game from start to end, with very few hiccups. The co-op it offers is really fun and solid, and it is obvious that the game design was slightly influenced by it. There are two problems with the co-op in Portal Knights, though, due to short-sightedness in the design. The first is the fact that both players have to be on the same world, i.e. very close to one another, even if playing online, and the fact that some late game resources are very limited and do not respawn. This means that for four players playing through the game on a single universe, resources will be scarce, and either people will have to wait for each other in absurdum or people will forcibly get teleported all over the place. It is a small problem that truly grows overtime as the game is explored.

The overall experience in Portal Knights can easily be described as Minecraft meets Diablo. It is an entertaining game both in single and multiplayer modes, with different flaws depending on which way it is played. In single-player, the farming of shards can feel like it takes two eternities, while resources get scarce really quickly if four players are in the same universe. It is a really great game, but one that could use some minor tweaks to become even better.

Screenshot for Portal Knights on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

It is easy to lose a lot of time in Portal Knights. The gameplay is really addictive and feels free, rewarding, and varied. It is, however, poorly balanced later on. It truly feels like the game at times artificially extends its own playtime, something that should not be required in an open world sandbox title, even if it has strong ARPG influences. The overall experience is so great, though, that it is easy to forgive it for that.

Developer

Keen

Publisher

505 Games

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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