BlackGuards – game review
Daedelic games is most famous for their point and click adventure games, but with BlackGuards they are trying to break out of their mold by giving us a tactical action adventure game set in the rich lore and universe of “The Dark Eye”, which is the famous European Pen-and-Paper RPG alternate universe to American “Dungeons & Dragons”.
BlackGuards will first of all capture your heart with its intriguing story. You see the love of your life Princess Elenore being shred apart by a crazed dark wolf. You fail to save her in time and the mysterious wolf runs away and by the time guards approach only you are found drenched in Princess’s blood. Consequently you are sentenced to death as no one believes the dark wolf story. However before the day of your execution, another prisoner: A Dwarf, helps you escape with him along with a mage. And now these vagabond heroes not only run away from the law but also take over themselves the quest to find the mystery behind the dark wolf. They start with the coffin of princess to examine for any clues, only to find that the princess is missing from the coffin.
The game puts you in a very mysterious and intriguing storyline which you will have to play to uncover. As far as gameplay is concerned the game is played on familiar hex based board taking turns. But differentiates this game from other hex based RPGs like Might & Magic is its interactive environments. Not only you have to rely on your party members abilities but also proper use of environment can turn the tide of war. e.g. you can throw chair at enemies, throw down crates to block the path, cut a chandelier rope to make it fall on group of enemies, use puddle of water on the ground to make some enemy slip etc. This makes the whole battlefield more lively than any other game for sure.
Even though battles are tactical and maps are interactive but still in the back end it is a RPG, so you can expect your usual upgrades for power and abilities ranked up via Adventure points (AP) which you gain after each battle. There are a nice collection of abilities to upgrade from magic to traps to conventional attributes etc. There is a huge skill tree to explore based on the three character class types in the game. The RPG mechanics work well as you equip and purchase different weapons and sell loot for money for further progress like in any typical RPG.
Visually the models may not be very highly detail yet overall the graphical environments are pleasing. I do have some complaints like I am not a fan of godly bloom and blur, which is quite abundant in this game. Moreover the animations are really cheap and appear to be done by amateurs. The interface of gameplay is slightly buggy. Cutscenes are the worst as the characters will not animate much while only the camera pans and zooms around, something which might have looked ok for a 2D Action comic but with 3D characters and areas, this doesn’t look pretty at all.
Daedelic has done a nice job at using their adventure game expertise and make a tactical action RPG out of it, while at the core you will still enjoy a sense of adventuring and intriguing storyline to keep you tied to your seat; but the game does need some polishing in both visuals and gameplay to be perfect.
This review is based on Early Access Build of the game, the full game will be released like episodes with each chapter coming after 3 weeks. You can grab the game now @ Steam