Gamescom : Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture Showcase Sine Mora and Black Knight Sword.

Event Digital Reality Game Launch

Gamescom Cologne Germany

Date 16th August 2011

Heading up to the 46th Floor of the colossal Colonia Haus building in Koln, Germany – I couldn’t help but feel this was going to be something special. I mean, Suda 51, Akira Yamaoka – Video game legends that I never thought in my wildest dreams I would have the chance to meet. I never expected that Digital Reality, developers of the popular Dead Block, on PSN and XBLA, Would be one of the main highlights of the event, but they proved me wrong!

The evening began with a brief intro from Suda 51 himself, who unfortunately couldn’t attend the event so he talked to the press online. He did however explain a little bit about his dealings with Digital Reality and Grasshoppers upcoming title, Black Knight Sword, which will be the companies first totally digitally distributed title. We were then treated to a brief game play of Sine Mora, the upcoming Digital Reality title which features art and music from Grasshopper Manufacture. It looked good, but being a bullet hell shooter fanboy, I thought it looked a little passive… Hoo boy, was that a mistake.

After another quick demonstration, this time of Black Knight Sword, we had the opportunity to sit down and get our hands on Sine Mora and Black Knight Sword. I’ll start by talking a little about Sine Mora.

Sine Mora is a side scrolling shooter which features a beautiful visual style, with dynamic 3D backgrounds which lend a lot to the feeling of movement in the game itself. It plays out a little slower than other shooters of its style but gives the player plenty of unique ways of tackling the bullet hell scenario. You can slow down time and use this to dodge and weave, but don’t be fooled (Like I was) into thinking this makes Sine Mora any easier than other BH Shooters (Like Ikaruga) – The game seems to the observer like it is quite easy and casual, but when you get a hold of that controller and you are focusing on the screen, everything changes. Sine Mora is the type of title that I believe can take an old beloved game style, put a new spin on it and create something truly beautiful. I would strongly recommend following this game and its creators (Digital Reality) as they are definitely one to watch!

Now onto Black Knight Sword, the newest outing from Grasshopper Manufacture, creators of the critically acclaimed No More Heroes and Shadows of the Damned. Black Knight Sword is a 2D platformer, done in the style of old Japanese puppet theater, or a pop up book and I believe it has been built on the same framework as the 2D scenes in Shadows of the Damned. I couldn’t glean much about the story in our brief time playing the game but I can say that the game controlled beautifully, looked amazing and felt like those awesome games of our youth (Shinobi, Strider) brought into a new age. The game is very early into development, so thats really all I can say at this point.

As always, something that stood out in both these titles were the amazing scores by Ex-Konami legend, Akira Yamaoka. Not only is Yamaoka-San handling all the music, but he is also looking after the sound effects and they sound amazing.

These are the types of partnerships that both the European and Japanese video game market needs as they bring the best of both regions together to create fresh new experiences that haven’t really been seen before.

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