The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia Review- Button Mashing Mess

Developer: Natsumi Atari

Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc

Release date: February 9, 2018

Available on: PS4

The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia, based on the manga by Nabaka Suzuki and the anime series, could have been something decent. If the characters were somewhat memorable. If the controls responded when you wanted them to. If your companion AI would attack the enemy, instead of a blue misty boundary wall. If the camera didn’t throw you behind scenery during combat. If the story wasn’t told in such a convoluted manner. If the magic item creation grid had a decent progression.

If only the game was given more polish and a better structure.

But that’s not the game we got.

I’m not familiar with either the manga or the anime, and the game hasn’t done a good job at piquing my interest in either (unlike the One Piece games). Plot-wise, the set-up is simple. Princess Elizabeth of the kingdom of Liones goes in search of the Seven Deadly Sins, a band of legendary warriors led by the Dragon Sin of Wrath, Meliodas. Accompanied by the Pig Hawk (who, for some reason, is giant and green on the overland map and carries the Boar Hat Inn on its back), Elizabeth and Meliodas set out to find the other Sins to combat the Holy Knights (who, for some reason, have a grudge against the Sins), and save the kingdom. Chances are you won’t even meet all of the Seven Sins by the time the main story wraps up with the 28th main quest (there are post credits missions), and we never get any real sense why the villain of the piece wants to release demons or what he’s even about.

The sloppy story telling is unfolded through various quests, which open up as you uncover rumors in your travels. Main quests advance the story. Side quests offer some extra insights. Field tests are just battles. Fetch quests are just what they sound like, but these are played with Elizabeth (who can’t fight) and Hawk, who protects her when his AI works right. Problem is, each quest is just a battle in a limited area, and they don’t always appear in any logical progression on the map. You’ll even have quests show on the map that you can’t reach, or places that have a “New” banner on them, only to go into the menu and find all the quests have been completed for that place.

You get ranked for quests, but it doesn’t seem to mean much. Most quests reward you with an item, which on the Magic Item grid you can create something to aid you in battle. Problem is, the grid has no logical progression. Early in the game I’d get items that were on the outer fringes of the grid, but you need to have unlocked the inner items first to even get to those outer ones. It’s a poor set-up that feels almost useless. Yet you need these items to equip the characters if they’re to stand much of a chance in combat.

Combat is your basic fighting game controls. You have a strong attack, weak attack, dodge, and a ranged attack. L1 can give you a guard, using R1 with the face buttons gives you magic attacks (provided you have magic in your meter), and R2 unleashes a powerful special attack once its gauge is full. There’s no real skill involved though, as most everything is beat by button mashing. And even then, the controls don’t always respond. I had plenty of times where I was hitting an attack button only to have the character just stand there. A difficulty spike with a late game boss feels very cheap, and one post-credits boss has a poorly implemented QTE.

At least the special attacks look neat. And the environments are destructible.

Sadly, a bad camera can foul you up with all the chaos created in combat. It can place your field of view behind scenery or even inside a large foe. This can lead you to being pummeled without knowing where you even are. Characters will not always move in the direction you want, and the AI in fights where you get a partner is dodgy at best. I’ve seen my AI partner attack boundary walls, stand still, or run around in circles. When they help, it’s great. But that’s not consistent.

The game is divided into two modes–Adventure and Duel. Adventure is your mode with the quests and the story. Duel feels tacked on, as it’s just your basic fighting game. You can play solo against AI, or against a living player either locally or online. There’s co-op too, also locally or online. Other than letting you get a feel for each of the characters fighting styles, this mode felt useless to me, and as a consequence, I spent very little time in it.

In all, The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia is hardly worth its $60 asking price. Doing every quest may take you close to 30 hours, but poor controls, camera, and storytelling may have you bailing right after the credits roll. Visually, the game is your standard anime inspired fare, and the Japanese voice acting is your typical mass produced anime quality (there is no option for English voices, so you will be reading a lot). A few tweaks here and there may have made this actually enjoyable. As it is, fans of the manga and the anime may be the only ones who can truly appreciate this, and even for them, I’d recommend waiting for a price drop. This could have been a nice niche title, but if you want a fighting game/RPG hybrid, go play one of the One Piece games instead.