February 13, 2014


Lasting First Impressions

As soon as I received Blackguards, a new turn-based RPG from Daedalic Entertainment, for review, I jumped right in and put in about 30 minutes of gameplay which took me through a tutorial type level to learn the basics of the game from movement, combat, inventory management and other key tricks.  The story was pretty typical with a guy waking up over a dead body not knowing what happened and consequently thrown in prison for his crimes with his amnesia making him the perfect criminal. Queue the prison break and we’re off into the story and glorious turn based combat.  To be honest after that initial gameplay I didn’t get the urge to jump back and learn what else the game had in store for me but in the spirit of Lasting First Impressions I had to give it another half hour of my time.

Blackguards Screen (4)

Blackguards battles take place on a hexed map with turn based combat combined with RPG elements which all sounds really interesting to a D&D player like me considering the grid based combat with mini’s and so forth that D&D has grown into.  However, usually with D&D you got a great story and during the first hour of play I wasn’t really drawn into the somewhat generic storyline that I was presented with.  When the main character whom I named Caine is set up for murdering the daughter of a prominent Count who presides over the area he lands in prison and in prison he meets up with his supporting cast: a dwarf named Naurim and a mage named Zurbaran who you escape with to prove your innocence. I jumped into the basic game mode where I could choose a Warrior, Mage or Hunter for my hero and also customize them by selecting their name, appearance and gender.  There is an expert mode that allows veterans or ambitious players to access more character classes but for the sake of time and my inexperience the basic game was a good place to begin.

The gameplay in Blackguards is enjoyable and it does a great job of taking what I would imagine a tabletop style game would be and transporting it to a video game platform. It did take a bit of time to get used to the command entries via keyboard and mouse but eventually I got the hang of it and I was entering combat with ease. Everything in the environment comes into play as well as your strategy: switches to drop chandeliers or to open jail cells, using trees and rocks as cover, or spells to block narrow passages.  Planning your next moves is key in this turn based game and I am someone who likes to read what everything does to optimize my actions rather than winging it, especially with strategy games. Along with the combat there are the typical objectives you would find in a RPG such as new equipment, selling your loot for better items, and gaining experience which in turn helps you train new spells, abilities and talents. The overall gameplay for Blackguards is nothing new, but it is done well and I liked it.

Blackguards Screen (5)

Visually, Blackguards doesn’t look very sharp but to be honest I don’t have the best gaming PC in the world so I can crop it up to the lack of power under my hood. However, with that in mind, I could make out all the visuals clearly with the backgrounds, animations and I really enjoyed the movie vignettes throughout the game that told some of the story. The voice acting, while I wouldn’t call horrible, lacked some much needed connection and chemistry between the characters. Some notable mentions, though, would be Zurbaran who was absolutely hilarious against the sea of stale one-dimensional characters making for a very boring series of interactions between the characters.

Blackguards is a game that has a really great combat system that I can see myself wanting to play often and would want to use as a tool for running my own D&D campaigns and playing them out in their gaming engine. However, the story didn’t grab, captivate or keep me pulled in and that is a must for me when I play an RPG that could end up taking up many hours of my time.

In the end, Daedalic Entertainment, I gave you an hour and I am NOT IMPRESSED.

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About the Author

John has been a gamer for years and can often be heard reminiscing of the old days playing the Nintendo family of systems with his buddies growing up. With a bustling family of five, finding time to game is often tricky but luckily his family shares his passion for gaming. John is active in several gaming communities and can be found on Twitter and Xbox Live as JohnnyXeo.



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