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"Hollow Knight": The Darkness Before the Light


Someone who studied psychology to discover he is a patient. He writes about it.

"Hollow Knight"

"Hollow Knight"

Acquired Reputation

In an already saturated market of digital content there are very few things you can come up with in order to call yourself even remotely original. From social media to apps and other software that bring entertainment into the life of billions, video games are probably the oldest and most popular form through which people keep themselves busy for endless hours without ever noticing the passage of time. Though there are close to thousands upon thousands of video games out there, not all end up being etched in the memory of those who play them, while others do. Hollow Knight is one such game.

The History Behind the Desire

Allow me to tell you about this already loved piece of digital creation through my own vision and perspective as I try to make it, once again, vividly obvious how much people and evidently, I, love this game. Not your typical, "gamer since birth" type of person, I came in contact with video games later in life, around primary school, receiving my first computer at the age of 14. What I realized later in life about my relationship with video games was that I enjoyed them not because of the thrill or the challenge they imposed, well, of course, this hinged on the type of game but the main reason I still go back to playing a variety of other games is one thing and one thing only, exploration and plot.

Defy and Learn

The first time I laid my eyes on Hollow Knight was on Twitch—I believe back when it got released in 2017—and I knew that I would like to play this game one day. I don't know why it struck me so profoundly, but all I know is that I hadn't forgotten about the game even years after I had first seen it. Having seen bits and pieces of the game by watching someone play it, I never really understood the story behind it but something about how the game looked, made me believe that this game was a gem to be lived through at least once in life. Every time I expressed intent to play the game, people around me kept mentioning how difficult it was to play and that I probably wouldn't enjoy it due to such a fact. They weren't completely wrong in their statements as I admit I am not the most talented when it comes to being "MLG" at video games, so I heeded their daunting words and postponed the thought until I played it and people ended up supporting me so yeah, do what you want and suffer for your own actions, you'll learn.

Illusion of Infinity

Though the vastness of the game cannot be described until you yourself play the game, I wish to say that this is the reason why I love this game so much. At the beginning, it gives you nothing but some vague, wise sounding words and a vision that makes absolutely no sense to the player, after which it puts you in the game under the role of someone simply called The Knight and that is it. You start walking and the world unveils before you. Honestly, discovery is the name of the game and this one executes this concept so amazingly well, you will find yourself playing the game even after you've probably finished it but are still looking around for walls to break.

Details Are Everything

Evidently, I am quite subjective to the idea of exploration being the main reason to like the game but I have to credit every aspect that this game offers as it not only serves anxiety beyond comprehension, I felt satisfaction that I never thought attainable just by playing it. I mentioned earlier how I am notoriously abysmal at video games in general, especially skill-based or competitive games where split-second decisions decide everything and failure means suffering eternally in the flames of salt, having to redo a task until it becomes second nature. As I stand right now, Hollow Knight is my most played game of the single-player type, mostly because of the exploration, yes but the challenge this game poses for those who wish to obtain its ending or endings must not be taken lightly unless you are a God, which I definitely am not. Then again, that is one of the charming qualities of this game as it makes you push yourself in order to know the truth hidden throughout this world.

The Foundation: Visuals, Plot, Mechanics, Combat

As the game has been out and about for some time now, it has been explored, studied and dissected thoroughly by many, amassing quite a following from content creators and casual or dedicated players. There is no need for me to delve deeper into specifics as that would be repeated information already available in so many other tutorials about this game but I want to mention one more thing, the visuals. The visuals of a game where the story is unearthed through exploration are probably one of the essential narrators of the story. Each new area in Hollow Knight awakens a certain curiosity in the player to persevere past obstacles in order to reach the goal lying hidden ahead, enriching the experience, making everything that much more enjoyable.

Since we are speaking about narrators and storytellers, addressing the aspect of lore becomes a must. It is the main driving force of the entire game and though it seems convoluted at first glance, it ends up being relatively simple in nature, taking inspiration from anime when it comes to specific characters and events; it is unknown if such inspiration was intended or not.

Having played the game I can definitely say that there is no imbalance when it comes to game mechanics or concepts that build the game into what it is today. Playing through this game, you will soon realize how much everything works in tandem to build the whole experience into something unique.

Something else that I found particularly intriguing in the story is the existence of opened windows towards other potential stories that were left relatively open for speculation. Such an aspect is very unique and could be considered a way through which players and fans can become even more immersed in the story. Their desire to know everything regarding the lore will compel them to pursue depth to the story, and I personally had an obsession that lasted me at least a few weeks until I had reached the limits of speculation.

On one last note, I would also like to talk about what was the biggest pain in my bruised butt out of the entire experience while playing this game, the combat.

I will start off by praising the combat system for its responsiveness, allowing the player to exact surgical maneuvers, provided he has the skill, to get himself out of contact of enemies and to balance this out, the developers gave birth to one of the most hostile environments possible. Death becomes routine and by this I mean you will not care, you will adapt and grow from the events that cause you death. Normal enemies obviously vary in difficulty but the biggest and most challenging foes you'll encounter in this game are the bosses that stay between you and the thing you desire most, the truth. All this having been said, I don't hate the combat. I hate the player. Since I have to admit, the combat, though time-consuming, proves itself fun to experience and ultimately, satisfying.

Bright Future?

Yeah, Hollow Knight was a game that put me through over 100 hours of game-play and I will still jump in it from time to time to once again throw myself at the enemies of the third trial, and die innumerable times, persevering at the madness that this game puts you through. Equipped with a metric-ton of extra-content and filled with nothing but challenges and a very well fleshed out story, it still is a worthwhile investment if you ever stumble upon it and fancy this type of genre, of course.

In the second installment of the Hollow Knight universe, known as Hollow Knight: Silk song, the MC is a certain someone you will definitely hate and love (if you're familiar with the original game). Going off my previous experiences, when I finally get my hands on it, it will certainly be after everyone and their imaginary friends have already played it.

That is it. I am done. Hope you enjoyed this analysis/ramble/opinion of Hollow Knight.

© 2020 Bogdan L


Passerby on August 16, 2020:

Really like your article, hope to see more of your opinions on games.