Imagine that one day all the hate congealed inside knights, peasants, rulers, magicians begin to deform them and become something called “impurity.” Imagine that this impurity grows, more and more, like a kind of tumour inside these people, and imagine that there is nothing able to reject it. Imagine that, all of a sudden, the ancient kingdom of Finis is hit by a “necropain” made of this impurity and capable of transforming all living beings into Impure, monstrous and immortal creatures cursed to wander endlessly and senselessly repeating for eternity the gestures they made while alive.
If this introduction to the story of Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights seems all too familiar to you (from Dark Souls to Hollow Knight ), get comfortable because the similarities don’t end there. The Metroidvania of Live Wire and Adglobe, already released for PC and Nintendo Switch and arriving on PlayStation 4/5 and Xbox One and Series S / X, hide her being inspired by Hollow Knight. Still, she does it with a delicacy and precision that is never unpleasant or with little personality.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is part of the Metroidvania trend of recent years. Following the push of Hollow Knight has tried to explore more the aspect of fighting to offer more substantial experiences. Games like Dead Cells, Skul: The Hero Slayer or Ori and the Will of the Wisps have accustomed us to gameplay made of exploration, intricate level design, arenas, and powers that interact with the game more and more developed environment, but also combat systems full of options to experiment, discover and master. With longevity higher than that typical of the genre, in these latter exponents, the inspiration of Hollow Knight is clear which, among the first, managed to combine the gameplay needs of the genre (with areas that develop along increasingly intricate level designs and powers that gradually make exploration more interesting, faster, open and free). The combat system that together with the great variety of enemies and situations, offered players the possibility to find their style, know their enemy and even modify their pool of amulets and skills according to the fight to be more efficient.
The variety and depth of the combat system have become a hallmark of Team Cherry’s work. It is undeniable how far the Metroidvania genre has taken from Hollow Knight (the change of course from Ori and the Blind Forest to Ori and the Will of the Wisps is an obvious, positive example of this inheritance). Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is among the best exponents because it manages to carry out detailed sewing work and put in place all the best things found within a modern Metroidvania.
Excluding a slightly subdued first tutorial section (the first 2 hours of the game, in which the simplicity of the areas and the enemies make the nose turn up a bit), Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights immediately puts the combat takes center stage. Divided into fairly small areas, the game map is littered with enemies with a peculiar character design, each with its own specific and unique patterns. While not particularly punishing, the game forces the player to learn the patterns, understand how to take advantage of the excellent dodge (complete with invincibility frames), and take advantage of the openings of the enemies to punish them and advance. Of course, the fight is often not even mandatory, and Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights allows you to avoid practically all enemies (except for some arenas and boss fights), but clashing is so natural and encouraged by the myriad of powers and abilities that our protagonist gets during the game that it is instinctive to kill everyone (and get points experience) at least the first time you explore a new area.
With a mechanic of soulsian memory, the enemies respawn only when we sit at the benches/beds/chairs that allow us to rest, and on that occasion, we recover all the healing prayers and recover all the lost life. Unlike Hollow Knight (and FromSoftware games), however, dying does not lead to losing the game “currency” and having to recover it by returning to the place of death. In Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights, dying is sometimes the quickest way to return to refreshment points once an area exploration is complete… Unloaded from the weight of loss (and in line with the game’s narrative), death is a functional component to advancement in the game. It allows you to experiment without fear of losing something and even encourages the player to change skill pools every time the current configuration seems ineffective with new enemies in a new section of the world of Finis.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights tries in every way to remind the player of its action component: always different enemies, often particularly lethal, arenas and rooms full of enemies and new abilities to each boss or mini-boss killed. Each significant clash gives Lily, the main character, a new type of attack or skill that, as in Ori and the Will of the Wisp, can be combined in the trio that best suits the player’s play style and situation question.
This is where the Hollow Knight lesson begins. Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights offers the player two skill triplets (modifiable at will in the refreshment points), each upgradeable up to six levels, including ranged attacks, fast weapons, slow weapons, magic attacks, and even shields. The player can swap the two triplets at any time with the push of a button, thus finding six different skills (from a pool of more than twenty) completely customized and chosen by the player. Do we want to use three ranged attacks? It can be done. Do we want to exploit skills that improve mobility by adding sprints and fast attacks? It can be done. Do we want to exploit both? We have two triplets so that it can be done. In this sense, unfortunately, some skills are immediately less effective than others.
Abilities are joined by relics, which play the same role as the Hollow Knight amulets. Upgrades that impact damage taken, damage done, number of prayers, movement speed, resistance to specific types of damage or poisoning, and so on, to be inserted into a series of slots (which increase throughout the adventure up to to a maximum of twenty) to combine their effects with the abilities chosen for combat. I decided to maximize the damage I was doing, and I combined the bigger hammers with the relics that best related to that type of game. In contrast, later, I decided to focus specifically on life and ended up with five healing prayers (instead of the canonical three) and a health bar that has practically occupied the entire screen horizontally.
Along the lines of the Hollow Knight amulets (but in a less intelligent way), the choice of relics and skills allows the player to decide their style of play, to modify it as they unlock new skills and new relics, to become more efficient in front of new one’s enemies and to new areas, or to face the same enemies in completely different ways.
But Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights doesn’t just offer a rewarding, clean, free, and fun fighting system. She inserts it into an exploration that, even if it never touches the peaks of an Ori and the Will of the Wisps, is always able to reinvent itself and challenge the player between jumps, platforms, timed buttons, environmental obstacles of all movement types, and systems that evolve throughout the game. As in any Metroidvania, the player’s possibilities develop as new upgrades are obtained. The double jump, obtained almost immediately, is joined after a short time by gloves capable of making Lily hang on the walls, special attacks capable of breaking certain types of walls, and even a sort of grappling hook that completely changes Lily’s (and therefore ours,) mobility, reflexively). The game, in this respect, does exactly what one would expect from a quality Metroidvania, linking to the new secret enhancements and new areas that are always well thought out and well inserted in the context. You will rarely wonder what to do because each new upgrade gives the player great reasons to do (very pleasant) backtracking to reach the new sections now available. Especially since fast travel is available between the refreshment points almost from the beginning of the game, Lily’s mobility is very high.
By learning its lesson well from the Souls, Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights can add more and more information to the lore of the kingdom of Finis and reward the attentive player with explanations and motivations for everything that is shown in the game. The position of the enemies, their behavior, their words, and the objects in their areas are often accompanied by motivations and explanations that sometimes arrive even hours later. The stories of Finis, Lily, and the knight who accompanies her intertwine with each other showing a narrative depth that combines well with the gameplay, even when the rhythm of the narrative expands for playful needs.
So what’s the story of Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights? Our protagonist wakes up in a secret room of a dilapidated church: she is probably the last of the white vestals, little girls in charge of purifying the kingdom’s inhabitants from necropiggia and impurity. As soon as we wake up, we are welcomed by the spirit of a knight who had sworn allegiance to the previous vestal and who is here to give us directions, to find the way and memories together with us, and above all, to fight for us. Lily’s actions, from that moment until the end of the game, are all linked to the attempt to purify Finis once and for all, but during the adventure, we discover the truths of each of the actions of the various characters, the origins of the impurity and the (few) possible solutions.
Lily takes on the weight and the burden of purification. Each gesture is treated with extreme attention by the developers to understand the sacredness of the gesture and sacrifice. Lily gains experience points by killing (freeing) enemies. Still, each point she gets is referred to by the game as “impurity level,” making it clear to the player that Lily, with every action, every fight, every boss, is always being done. He was more charged with the world’s impurity by absorbing it within himself to save those crazed – and now “empty” souls.
The power of this type of narrative is disarming in the long run and is transmitted in the gestures, words, and certainty of the protagonist’s last actions at the end of the game. Whatever the ending obtained (but the game makes you pick up from the rest stop before the ending to let you explore the others), you realize that you have done something in which each step has cost Lily, the spirits who accompany her, hard, to the whole world of Finis.
It is precise to the spirits accompanying Lily that one of the most beautiful narrative gems of Ender Lilies is linked: Quietus of the Knights. Each boss or miniboss that is purified remains, in the form of a spirit, close to Lily, accompanying her on her journey and offering her skills to the protagonist’s service. The various abilities that make up Lily’s two sets of attacks are nothing more than spirit triplets that Lily has already purified. And it is exactly those spirits who “fight” for her. The white vestal does not fight; on the contrary, she hides, covering her face with every blow we give. An extraordinary contrast is created between the fluid and elegant movement of the vestal, who, between sprints, parries, grapples, and double jumps, shows all her mobility during exploration and the way she reacts to clashes until the end of the game. Each press of an attack button manifests the corresponding spirit ready to execute. At the same time, Lily hides her face behind her hands, hides “behind her spirit,” and keeps her (unique) purpose of purification active, and meanwhile, the spirits welcome her.
The narrative of Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights develops a lot through the environment, through the location of objects, the type of protection, doors, and guards that protect individual areas, and even though the placement of enemies in the game world. It’s not easy to interpret everything, and even now, after completing every challenge that the game offered me, I know I have not grasped all the references and answers. Still, after all, it is also beautiful.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is a Metroidvania that maintains a very high consistency all the time. While never reaching heights of innovation or particularly unique flashes, it does practically everything perfectly, offering a product packaged extraordinarily. The excellent soundtrack, perfect controls, and the almost total absence of bugs add that technical sector essential to fully enjoy Lily and her knight’s adventure. A truly recommended experience for a game that has rightfully entered the Olympus of the best Metroidvania in recent years and is highly recommended.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights is a classic game of its kind, which knows it has to confront heavyweights of recent years (Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Hollow Knight himself) and who knows how to be able not to go wrong where others they made mistakes even though perhaps they lack that flash of inventiveness that would have made it simply a masterpiece. It remains an excellent game, which practically makes no mistakes and which will give you 25-30 hours of fun, exploration, and combat within a varied world, rich and full of storytelling and ideas. The lore of the game will amaze those looking for a deep story, and the combat system is sufficiently varied and elaborate to get a place among the best in the Metroidvania genre. Absolutely recommended if you like the genre,
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights
A dark fantasy Metroidvania set in a tragic and beautiful world to explore as a white vestal.
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