Blackguards 2 Hands-on Preview
Daedelic Entertainment is set to return players to the gritty strategic world of Blackguards once more in early 2015 with Blackguards 2. Based on Europe’s best-known pen and paper RPG, The Dark Eye, Blackguards 2 is a turn-based RPG with a surprising amount of depth. This time you play as Cassia, a well intentioned woman at first, who quickly learns that balancing power and sanity is difficult to handle. You’ll control Cassia and her army as they tear through the land of South Aventuria to fulfill her dream of conquering the throne and all the land, no matter the cost, even just for a day. No one bothered to tell her that maybe she should start small, run her own coffee shop at first, then work her way up to monarch. Nevertheless you’ll get the chance to march through enemy forces with a hand picked batch of new scoundrels and a few returning favorites from the first game. The Dwarf Naurim is back, now that he’s blown all his gold on parties and shady business deals, as well as Takate now that he’s killed just about everything that was put in front of him since we last saw him.
The beautifully hand drawn cutscenes will also make a comeback, adding great narrative flow between battles. The battlegrounds themselves are also well detailed and dazzling to the point that I found myself admiring the art and lighting of my surroundings mid-battle. Which is okay, because you’ll have plenty of time to gaze between planning your next move. It is of course a turn-based RPG after all, so it moves fairly slow at times, especially when there’s upwards of twenty or more wizards, archers, insectoids, bandits, and creatures on screen at once to plan and account for.
In the few short hours of the early build I got to play though, it always felt like this time could easily be put to good use by determining the best path to flank your enemies, taking note of traps and loot, or picking out the most important targets. Newly added cover and line of site systems also allow for more options when navigating and placing your troops.
Blackguards 2 doesn’t skimp on the choices department, giving you dozens of spells, tactics, maneuvers, and weapons to master for each of your characters. The top down world map also allows you to decide which neighboring territories you wish to conquer first, based on their rewards and resources. Do you need gold? Attack an ore mine. Want more troops and abilities? Go free some friendly murders from a prison. Back at your home base, you’ll have access to paid spies, prisoners of war you can interrogate, and companions to learn about. The story, characters, and gameplay of Blackguards 2 is rich with detail and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together in the full version when it releases in early 2015.
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”