Hands-on with Divine Knockout, the third-person platform fighter smashing onto PlayStation Plus December 6

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Hands-on with Divine Knockout, the third-person platform fighter smashing onto PlayStation Plus December 6

New details on gameplay, defining a new genre, and making the gods of myth so darn cute.

Ever hear someone say that there’s nothing new in the world? Turns out – that guy was wrong.

Divine Knockout introduces a whole new genre of game: the 3rd-person platform fighter. Imagine a familiar side-scrolling platform fighter, but spin the camera on the Z axis. Suddenly you’ll find yourself jumping, dashing, and smashing your friends in all three dimensions.

The mythological multiplayer mayhem of DKO hits your PlayStation on December 6. Better yet: The DKO Founders Edition is available at no extra cost for all PlayStation Plus members* – talk about a holiday miracle!

Read on for an exclusive inside look at how DKO plays, the adorable playable Gods, the battlegrounds you’ll fight on, and why DKO is perfect on PlayStation. 

Hands-on with Divine Knockout, the third-person platform fighter smashing onto PlayStation Plus December 6

What’s a 3rd-person platform fighter?

Everybody was platform fighting – The core combat of DKO is inspired by the 2D platform fighters everyone grew up playing (and loving). You damage enemies to make them vulnerable, then you knock them out of the arena with a smashing blow. Simple, right?

Into the third dimension! – Wrong. DKO is something brand new: a 3rd-person platform fighter. When you throw out Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, it doesn’t just go off to the right of the screen; you have to aim at your target. If you want to chase down a fleeing Ymir, you’ll need your 3D platforming skills to jump between platforms. It’s somehow both familiar and something you’ve never played before – and it’s very fun.

Years of iteration – The dev team at Red Beard Games has been working on DKO for three-plus years, trying to discover just what a 3rd-person platform fighter really is. They’ve playtested dozens of drastically different versions of DKO as experiments. One was more of a “physics shooter” than a platform fighter, the devs say – not a surprise considering the core team was behind the indie cult classic Sky Noon. But over the years and experiments, they found the secret sauce of DKO.

Execution, not dexterity – Success in DKO comes down to positioning and timing, not memorizing combos or difficult inputs. Each character has light and heavy attacks that can be chained into combos, and a dodge to evade blows or reposition. But characters are truly defined by their three abilities (which go on cooldown after use), and a game-changing ultimate ability – Watch out when King Arthur summons the might of his legendary sword Excalibur!

Make the Gods your own

The Mightiest Gods of MythThe playable characters put the “Divine” into Divine Knockout. You’ll play as a legendary god of mythology in DKO; do you want to hurl boulders as Hercules or master the katana as Susano? These gods come from all the world’s myths, with the 10 Gods available at launch representing the Japanese, Greek, Roman, Norse, and Arthurian pantheons. Devs say more pantheons and Gods will be added regularly.

Adorable anime styling The gods of DKO are reinterpreted in a charming chibi art style, inspired by the chibi god skins in the hit action MOBA Smite. Red Beard Games’ amazing art team took this inspiration to an all-new level with the full power of Unreal Engine 4, adding anime-style cel shading and reworking proportions so that combat remains readable. Somehow, even the Greek God of Death, Thanatos, looks downright huggable in this stunning game.

Play your wayThough DKO is launching with 10 Gods, it’s launching with hundreds of ways to play each god. A deep system of Talents lets you define your own playstyle for each God. As Athena, for example, you can be a long-ranged spear thrower, a teamwork-focused shieldbearer, or an agile martial expert – all on the same god, just by equipping new Talents. Red Beard Games assures us the system is not pay-to-win; all players always start with a full loadout of Talents, and additional playtime unlocks additional options – not additional power.

The battlegrounds of the Gods

Arenas that fight back – You won’t be fighting in boring, lifeless stages in DKO. Each of the seven levels at launch features a unique mechanic that you’ll have to master to win. One level crumbles away as you fight, slowly reducing the fighting area – and making the action more hectic. Another challenges players to avoid deadly spinning spikes – or smash enemies into them!

“Arcade” adventures – In DKO’s core 3v3 Arcade mode, each round is a new adventure, with a new map – and a new mode. In this best-of-5 game, you’ll roam across arenas and play a variety of game modes like Knockout, King of the Hill, and Oddball. This more casual, teamwork-centric mode is a blast to play with friends, almost giving off party game vibes.

Competitive Duels – If you’re the kind of player that wants the most competitive possible experience, DKO’s 1v1 and 2v2 duels are for you. These heart-pounding matches are focused entirely on combat mastery, and are set on 7 unique smaller, simpler stages made specifically for duels.

The Gods play on PlayStation

Optimized for PlayStation 5 – DKO plays great on PS4, but the devs at Red Beard Games put in the extra effort to build a PS5-native version that takes advantage of the extra horsepower. Expect 120 FPS, 4K gameplay on PS5.

Included with PlayStation Plus – That’s right – all PlayStation Plus subscribers get the Founders Edition of DKO at no extra cost. This $24.99 MSRP edition includes access to the game, eight playable Gods (Amaterasu, Sol, Hercules, Susano, Ymir, Athena, Thor, and King Arthur), and some sweet exclusive cosmetics like the Epic-level Biohazard Sol skin.

Cross-platform – If your friends don’t play on PlayStation, don’t worry: DKO fully supports cross-play. You can invite friends to parties, play in custom games, or matchmake online across all supported platforms. And if you play on multiple platforms (like, say, your work PC when the boss isn’t watching), you can also take all your unlocks with you thanks to cross-progression.

If you’re as excited about DKO as we are, you don’t have to wait long to play it. DKO launches on PS5 and PS4 on December 6, with the Founders Edition included with PlayStation Plus.

*Available from 06/12/2022 – 05/1/2023. Monthly Games accessible for duration of PS Plus subscription only.

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