E3 2013: Blackguard is delightfully old school

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If you’re not a fan of the usual skiet die bliksem gameplay that has defined the industry today, then chances are that you happen to like the kind of game which explores other areas of action and genre. Daedalic Entertainment makes several of them. And their next game, Blackguard looks set to continue that adventure tradition.

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Shown at E3, Blackguard is set in a rather more adult world than what gamers might be used to. A world based on the cult hit pen and paper RPG, The Dark Eye. It certainly feels more mature, as it starts out with your lead character locked up in jail for murder. A murder that he feels he may have been rightfully convicted for, due to his mental state being questionable.

Cue one jailbreak later, a team-up with various scoundrels and the adventure begins, with the fate if Aventuria hanging in the balance “You’re actually controlling a bunch of criminals here,” PR director Claas Wolter told me. As Wolter also showed me, there would be three character classes on selection, Hunter, Mage and Warrior, but all three would have skill trees and abilities that were highly detailed in order to create unique characters.

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Dialogue also plays a big part of the game and story, and will affect the outcome of the game, I was told. “We’ve seen a couple of dialogues here, and we want to have multiple choice dialogues that are important to gathering information,” Wolter said.

On the other hand, it can also determine the relationship between each character by taking certain actions within the dialogue, that can open up a lot of sub-quests and what can happen. There are a lot of multiple endings with which you can work your way through.

So it sounds like an intriguing premise then. But what about the gameplay then? Well, Blackguard is pretty much a “turn-based strategy game”, but one that occurs on isometric fields of battle. Think Fire Emblem Awakening, Might and Magic and XCOM, and you’ve got a solid idea here as to the genre.

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The appeal however, comes in the form of these fields being interactive. Hide behind a gravestone, attack a chandelier so that it falls on enemy soldiers or find other interactive elements. What makes it that bit more special though, is that these elements are not exclusive to players, and can also be used by enemies. Heck, you can even employ some of King Arthur’s holy grail tactics, and run away from battle if it looks like you might be losing.

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The game may not be pushing the envelop when it comes to visuals, but it’s not without charm. There’s a ton of detail woven into the game, from cities to dungeons. It’s decidedly old school, but not without throwing a bunch of new ideas into the mix in order to create something new at the same time.

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Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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