If you’ve never been to E3, you might picture that it’s a never-ending entertainment cornucopia, a nonstop parade of demos and trailers and swag. If you actually have been to E3, you understand that it’s either running back and forth across the floor to make it to appointments on time or standing in line for what could be hours to play a game that won’t be out for another year for fifteen minutes. Sometimes, it’s worth it.
Seasoned expo-attendees understand that the best course of action is pick a small handful of things to see, and make it their goal to see them. My first time at E3, I wanted to see everything, to gorge myself on as much as I could in the limited time that I had. This year, I took a more laid-back approach and I’m much happier for it. On the last day of the show, I told myself that all I really wanted to do was played the followup to Hollow Knight, and that anything else I came in contact with was just gravy.
I had a friend working the line at the Nintendo booth, and she told me the best time to come to the show floor. When I arrived, it was busy but not overwhelming. The only games that had a wait time were Pokémon Sword and Shield, Link’s Awakening, Luigi’s Mansion 3, and Silksong.
The line for Silksong worried me at first, but it moved more rapidly than I though it would. I probably didn’t wait more than half an hour from the starting point, enough time to gather a handful of Power Moons in Mario Odyssey. When I finally arrived at the front of the line, the person working the demo station asked if I was familiar with Hollow Knight; I said yes, I was. She then asked which of the two available levels I’d like to demo. I opted for the slightly more challenging Deep Docks, an area that reminded me of the mines in Hollow Knight.
If you’ve played Hollow Knight, then you have an idea of what to expect. The platforming in this new game is tight and feels great, with a couple tiny changes that make an enormous difference. Mainly, Hornet can catch and climb edges. It’s a tiny improvement that I imagine will have huge ramifications further into the game. Horney’s combat moveset is different too, the most interesting of which is that her downward slash drives her diagonally forward instead of just slashing straight down. This will make pogo-ing on enemies much more difficult, but I’m excited to see where it takes some of platforming areas. I think it’s safe to say that this game’s version of the White Palace is going to be interesting, intricate, and hard as hell.
The art design is incredible and definitely feels like it fits in with the rest of the world that Team Cherry has built up. If I understand correctly, Silksong takes place before the events of Hollow Knight, and it’s neat to see a busier world. Also, Hornet has dialogue; she speaks to NPCs in a dramatic-yet-reserved, pointed-yet-wry tone that seems accurate to the character. I can’t wait to see what the main story looks like and who she interacts with.
I saw a sneak peek of what feels like a mystery to be solved; some cryptic clues about bells being tolled. I’ve always enjoyed that Hollow Knight rarely came out and told you what needed to be done to solve a puzzle and this feels right in line with that.
Shortly after speaking to a blacksmith beetle that I’m sure will be a character Hornet returns to time and time again, the game glitched out on me. The beetle was stuck laughing, and Hornet couldn’t move; two characters standing side by side, enjoying a silent joke, forever. I handed the demonstrator my controller and she pressed a few buttons; she called over another tech guy and they messed around for a minute. She apologetically told me that this had happened before and that I’d have to start the demo over from the beginning, and that I only had about three minutes left. I said no problem, and played for as much as I could on the other available level.
Ultimately, even though I didn’t make it to the boss fight available in either section, I enjoyed my time with Silksong. I can’t wait for more, and hopefully by the time the game is playable, I can find out what Hornet and the blacksmith were laughing about.