Blackguards - Preview @ RPG Codex
The RPG Codex has posted a preview of the Early Access version of Blackguards. Just remember the usual warnings of crude humor, and bad language apply.
Roxor: Blackguards surprised me many times when I played it. In fact, the game was the complete opposite of what I expected – I assumed it would have been at best an RPG-lite, more of an adventure game with stats, with plenty of dialogue, puzzle-solving and a very advanced narrative. Instead, the combat system turned out to be great, but the narrative part disappointed me, or at least the parts of the narrative that I saw. The main plot seems to be an unexciting mess, the way it progresses makes little sense, and the whole “bunch of criminals” aspect is underplayed.
Felipe: True, it strikes me as odd how the game is constantly being marketed as a “dark story”, in which you play as a convicted murder, testing your moral compass and all that. The first 10 minutes of the game have you being unjustly arrested, and after a short while your group of fugitives is acting just like any other RPG party, helping out random people, and even attacking slavers without any really good reason besides “slavers are bad”. Some of your party members (especially Takate) seem to have no reason to even follow you other than the fact that you’re the main character in a game.
Roxor: This is a shame, because at this point in development “fixing” any combat and mechanics flaws is the only possible thing Daedalic can do, as the narrative is pretty much set in stone. But to be honest? I don’t care. I swear, I haven’t had this much fun whacking enemies in turn-based combat since Knights of the Chalice, and while it would obviously be ideal for this RPG to cover all the bases, I’d much rather see one with a combat system that actually puts some classics to shame while sacrificing the story, than another drop in the ocean of pseudo-choice oriented storyfag LARP simulators.
Felipe: Same here. However, the game does hint at a darker, larger scheme in the background, and I would be very impressed and forced to swallow my words if they manage to execute it well in the end. I do fear that the long and linear story might diminish the game's replay value, and I would have certainly preferred a game where I could create my own party and explore different paths, but in the end, this is still quite an impressive title.
Overall, it's amusing that after all those RPG veterans on Kickstarter promised a return to old-school RPGs and all that over a year ago, in the end it's only in a semi-obscure title, from a company that has only made adventure games, that I find a good hardcore old-school turn-based RPG experience.