2020 is almost here, so we’ve asked GameSpot’s staff to share which games they’re looking forward to most in the new year. New consoles are going to dominate the headlines, but at the end of the day it’s all about the games, and there are a ton of exciting ones to look forward to. When you’re done reading this entry, follow along with all of our other end-of-the-year coverage collected in our Best of 2019 hub and our Most Anticipated of 2020 hub.
So many games have taken inspiration from the mechanics and systems found in From Software’s Soulsborne games, giving rise to the Souls-like subgenre. Without a doubt, my favorite title in that grouping is Hollow Knight, which is scheduled to receive a sequel, Hollow Knight: Silksong.
In Silksong, you play as Hornet–the secondary protagonist of Hollow Knight–in the aftermath of one of the original game’s five endings. Captured and taken to Pharloom, Hornet escapes and decides to figure out why she was brought to the haunted kingdom, making her way up through Pharloom’s many layers to reach a citadel that supposedly has the answers she seeks. Hollow Knight: Silksong is scheduled to release for Nintendo Switch and PC. Team Cherry hasn’t revealed the game’s exact release date, writing in a blog post that Silksong will launch “when it’s ready” and “matches the quality and scale of Hollow Knight.”
So, granted, there’s a chance Silksong doesn’t actually release next year. But I’m not the only member of GameSpot staff making out-there predictions for 2020, and after getting hands-on with Hollow Knight: Silksong at E3 2019, I have faith that the game is far enough in development to potentially launch next year.
The original Hollow Knight is a gorgeous game steeped in some of the best written lore I’ve ever read–the history of the Mantis Tribe and backstory for Hornet’s upbringing being two of many notable standouts. Its combat mechanics are simple enough to grasp but dealing with the attack patterns of certain enemies and bosses in the late- and post-game can get excruciatingly challenging–demanding you to push yourself to jump and slash with near perfect precision. It’s a deeply satisfying game to overcome, both in terms of defeating god-like adversaries and better understanding the history of its fascinating characters, because it so expertly toes the line between frustrating defeat and exhilarating victory.
And that’s why I’m eagerly anticipating Silksong. Overall, Silksong plays very similarly to its predecessor. You’re still exploring a uniquely stylized and interconnected world, battling a variety of challenging foes, and enjoying a wonderful soundtrack. Everything that makes Hollow Knight great still seems to be in Silksong–which makes sense given this sequel was originally just an expansion for the first game. Silksong is already building on a good foundation.
That said, I’m more curious to see how Silksong’s differences impact the overall experience. Hornet, unlike the unnamed knight from the first game, can speak and regularly voices her opinions, which could influence the overall interpretation of Silksong’s story. Hornet is a lot faster than the knight too–sporting a longer-reaching dash and downward diagonal aerial slash to better reach her targets. She can also heal much more quickly (and can even do so while airborne). Given that Silksong’s enemies are all much faster than the ones seen in the original game, these gameplay changes seem to encourage utilizing a faster, more aggressive playstyle than the one needed for Hollow Knight. If Hollow Knight is Dark Souls, then Silksong seems to be Team Cherry’s Bloodborne.