trending / - - - - - - - - -

trending / playstation 4 - ni no kuni - halo - wii u - bungie interview - ces top picks - radeon hd 7850 - woods pga tour

Blackguards (PC) Preview

/ Dec 30th, 2013 No Comments

Blackguards preview

Available now in beta on Steam Early Access, Blackguards is the latest game from the German developer Daedalic, a studio known primarily for adventure games. Blackguards is a turn-based RPG based on the Dark Eye tabletop system. That name is relatively unknown in the U.S. but in Germany, Dark Eye is a long-running big name (originally from mid-80’s) that consistently outsells Dungeons and Dragons. Therefore, Blackguards has a solid pedigree, and a time-tested game system behind it.

The game throws players right into the story and setting. A few might feel lost, but it actually feels refreshing that the writers have enough confidence that players can just figure it out, and they are correct. The setup of the story is that the authorities send the main character to jail for a crime they did not commit, and the player escapes with two other wrongfully imprisoned inmates. Because the game abstains from lengthy exposition on the setting, the worlds feels a tad generic, though there is enough of a backstory hinted at in character interactions to pluck at players’ curiosity. The game is set in Aventuria, the primary game setting of the Dark Eye; the primary settings for the various versions of Dungeons and Dragons tend more towards the iconic and generic as well, so perhaps the game should not be demerited too harshly.

Blackguards (PC)

Blackguards (PC)

The starting party is comprised of the player character, a dwarven warrior and a human mage. They play their archetypes of no-nonsense fighter and charismatic sorcerer straight. The player eventually finds a half-elf ranger looking to cure her sister of a magical affliction, but any other characters will have to wait until after chapter one. The party works together mechanically, though the mage will find himself caught between healing and damage-dealing if the player did not choose the mage starting package. The voice acting of the various party members (as well as the NPCs) is professionally done and respectably performed and never feels overbearing or gratuitous.

Speaking of which, the amount of gameplay is certainly looking promising thus far. Ten hours to finish chapter one at a leisurely pace feels quite reasonable, and if the game manages to keep up that pace through the other four chapters, Blackguards should easily prove worth the money. On subsequent playthroughs, the skippable dialogue and relatively few cutscenes help make it easy for players to zoom through to hit all of the battles.

Blackguards uses a point system where characters earn ability points that can be used to purchase character upgrades piece-by-piece in whichever order they want. Like many free-form point systems that replace standard level schemes, Blackguards’ system feels daunting at first because of the wealth of options, but the game compensates by remaining up front with what all the stats actually do. It helps that the terminology cleaves closely to the standard concepts of RPGs so fans of the genre will feel at home with terms like “constitution” or “attack of opportunity.” Characters can improve their base ability scores, skills, spells and talents at any time outside of battle, but acquiring new skills and spells requires finding appropriate trainers. Thus, players have the freedom to make odd character builds later on, but novices can worry less about poorly optimized choices early on crippling them.

Blackguards is on Steam Early Access

Blackguards is on Steam Early Access

The battles themselves are done on hex grid battlefields. True to the game’s claim of “over 180 hex-based battlegrounds,” the game does a good job of mixing up the locales. Chapter one does not have any reused battlemaps, which is a good sign. Interactive objects are commonplace and range from simple crates to masonry to drop on people to magic crystals that heal all enemies every turn. The maps are an appropriate size, and help keep battle length around the sweet-spot of between five to 15 minutes. The actual mechanics feel intuitive and balanced thus far, as should be expected of a long-running RPG system.

The technical side of the game feels polished for an early access game. Were it not for the constant presence of the words “development build” in the corner of the screen and the sound file names showing during conversations, a player could easily believe the game is retail-ready. A couple of small hiccups with the dialogue boxes showing the wrong face were the only noticeable glitch. With the exception of some scenes at night or in swamps, the graphics keep everything in a golden filter. The effect helps give the game a signature look, but the bloom shader is set too high.

Blackguards is a slow burn. It eases players into the drama rather than trying to grab them with a huge wow-factor set piece. Blackguards does not appear to have dreams of the most brilliant story or gameplay innovation; it looks to provide the solid, respectable experience of a computer RPG like a Neverwinter Nights. It’s already looking like an above average game, which means that Daedalic has the opportunity to knock it out of the park by the TBA release date. Turn-based RPG fans should keep their eyes on this one.


Ethan Smith

Ethan Smith

A perpetual over-thinker, Ethan Smith spends all of his free time playing video games like an English professor reads books, writing a secret novel, and trying to actually finish a game of Medieval II: Total War.
Ethan Smith

Latest posts by Ethan Smith (see all)

tags: , , , ,

Related Posts


Remedy Reveals Control for 2019

Jun 12th, 2018No Comments

Cyberpunk 2077 Trailer

Cyberpunk 2077 Trailer Surfaces at E3 2018

Jun 10th, 2018No Comments

Hitman 2 Release Date Officially Announced

Jun 8th, 2018No Comments

Indivisible Preview

Indivisible Preview: Straight Jab

Nov 21st, 2017No Comments

Top Articles

Garage Review: Claustrophe Jun 20th, 2018 at 10:08

Vampyr Review: Call Me Vampire Jun 7th, 2018 at 3:27

Omensight Review: Mysterio May 29th, 2018 at 9:31

Bombslinger Review: Never Forgiven May 24th, 2018 at 10:50

Laser League Review: The Future is Neon May 23rd, 2018 at 10:02

Light Fall Review: Eclipse May 9th, 2018 at 11:01

Last Day of June Review: Cherish Apr 24th, 2018 at 12:00

Flinthook Review: Rogue Life Apr 16th, 2018 at 8:00

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Review: King Back Apr 5th, 2018 at 9:48

Blasters of the Universe Review: A VR Hell of Bullets Mar 29th, 2018 at 10:00

bestjett buyeww 1460949691 link

besttrew buyhfgh 1460949691 link

bestavbe buydfgss 1460949691 link

bestjett buyeww 1058607074 link

besttrew buyhfgh 1058607074 link

bestavbe buydfgss 1058607074 link

bestjett buyeww 3461794676 link

besttrew buyhfgh 3461794676 link

bestavbe buydfgss 3461794676 link

bestjett buyeww 3750260469 link

besttrew buyhfgh 3750260469 link

bestavbe buydfgss 3750260469 link

bestjett buyeww 3878790559 link

besttrew buyhfgh 3878790559 link

bestavbe buydfgss 3878790559 link