Having had no experience of The Seven Deadly Sins before sitting down to play The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia, here’s what I can gather after about four hours of waddling about in a pub on the back of a giant pig.
The Seven Deadly Sins are Knights for whom Elizabeth, a mini-skirted Princess of ample bosom is in search of. With the help of Meliodas, the broken sword wielding Deadly Sin of Wrath and complete sex pest who seemingly never faces justice, (early on in the game a story message springs up when Elizabeth, in a state of shock, asks what Meliodas is doing. He explains he was performing a standard security body check. “You passed!”) and a series of notable characters from the Manga and anime series, Elizabeth is on a mission to protect her kingdom.
In Adventure Mode, The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia is dull beyond measure. While there is fun to be had in combat, traversing the world of Britannia is slow, meandering and dissatisfying. The brawls can be at times exciting and having taken a peek at the animated series it’s clear that the developers have stayed true to source when it comes to looks. But whilst there may be enough here to keep fans of the original material satisfied, there’s little left for the rest of us beyond loud noises and anime cliche.
Perhaps more infuriating about The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia Adventure Mode is its narrative style. The storytelling is just plain lazy. Meliodas says this. Tap X. Elizabeth says that. Tap X. The pet pig Hawk says this… it goes on and on with all the excitement of something like Hatoful Boyfriend, only with substantially less humour and nuance.
The repetitive exposition led to me tapping X as quickly as possible to progress to the next weary “quest”, which, in all honesty aren’t really quests at all. They are more like stages or time trials and have more in common with something like Super Monkey Ball than they do Skyrim or Final Fantasy. In fact, the RPG elements in Knights of Britannia comes across as window dressing. My initial impressions when flicking through the menus provided a somewhat unfounded preconception of depth and substance. How wrong I was.
As you grind away in some form of manga based groundhog day, you unlock magic spells and various told you can use improve your team of Sins in both Adventure and Duel mode. The issue I found was when I could apply these new skills to the characters. By hour five, I had unlocked a whole bunch of awesome new skills and abilities, but couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to actually utilise them. It could have been a bug in my particular version of the game. It could be a bug in my particular level of intelligence. I’ll bet the latter for the purposes of this review.
There is however a saving grace for The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia and that is the Duel Mode. Although far from life changing, Duel Mode is substantially more entertaining and is reminiscent of Super Smash Bros. Characters fly around the screen in true anime fashion. Things explode. The animation is great. Everything seems to be in it’s right button-bashing place. You can play locally and also online.
The most infuriating thing is that the Duel Mode is intrinsically linked with Adventure Mode. You have to subject yourself to the hours of repetitive battles in order to unlock characters and apply new powers to them. This is the biggest downfall. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that Knights of Britannia would have worked far better if developers NatsumeAtari had done away with it altogether and instead crafted an entirely multiplayer experience.
As previously mentioned, I have no prior experience of the anime, but if I did, I imagine I would have felt incredibly short changed by a shoddy adaptation. If The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia had made its focus Duel Mode, then I would get to play and unlock all my favourite characters without wanting to peel may face off every time I return to the Boar Hut and am subject to the exact same soundtrack, (the soundtrack is so infuriating it’s tantamount to tinnitus) a frankly ancient gender view substantiated by almost soft-core Hentai camera angles which are so blatant it makes Kojima look like a prude.
The main difference is this game is aimed at kids/teens. Kojima’s games are not. Far from coming across as a representation of gender and sexuality based on narrative archetypes, we have instead a teenage boy’s wet dream that plays the same song over and over again.
Ultimately, The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia is a 25 minute arcade button basher that should be 50p per go at your local Namco’s than a £45 PS4 disc. If you’re after a solid representation of the manga comic, I imagine you’re not going to find it here.