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Blackguards 2 Review

Blackguards 2 Review

Daedalic Entertainment know a good thing when they see it. No sooner had the company put out the DLC for The Dark Eye: Blackguards than there was an announcement of the sequel! I for one, am rather happy that they have.

Some of the old crew are back, dwarven bootlegger Naurim for example, although a life of plenty as the killer of the nine hordes has increased his girth somewhat. Think of a weeble with a bad attitude and you’ll be close enough.

Zebaran the wizard is back too, although he really got dumped on by the universe. Former slave that he is, his old mistress found him, shackled him, and turned him into a pound shop special by selling him on for 1 copper at auction.

Takate the forest man is back too, but he’s been spending time since the events of The Dark Eye: Blackguards back home with the folks, bored out of his skull at killing people.

Next we have Faramud, the old emirs’ guard. Having been faithful for years, once his old master was in the ground, this poor sod got thrown in a dungeon and forgotten about along with his closest allies. Some golden parachute that was.

Finally, we have our protagonist, Cassia of Tenos, enchantress, dazzler, harlot and all round bad egg. She’s out for the Shark Throne and she doesn’t mind who gets eviscerated doing it. Of course, being mad as a box of frogs and spending years thrown in a labyrinth being bitten by crazy-making spiders has really helped her world view and made her a wonderfully balanced individual.

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The pen and paper RPG stylings of the first game continue in turned based strategic roleplaying with some truly luscious visuals. Line of sight and thinking ahead play a massive part in the game and being a dunderheaded “charge in and smack it!” type will get you going back to the restart fight option more than once. While not engaged in derring do and deadly combat you’ll be taking land, building a power base and generally working from the “Junior Despot on the Rise Book for Little Psychopaths and Crazy Women Scorned”.

The voice acting is up to the developers usual standard which is to say it’s bloody awesome, and the ambient sound drags you in head first making the game enthralling and an eater of hours. Lessons have been learned from the previous game and features requested by players have been put in. Although there are some glaring “don’t look over here” bits like the repeated “character x read a book for a bit and can now throw fire at things” skill learning MacGuffinage, but this is nothing new to anyone who has played the first game.

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The game rules are still The Dark Eye pen and paper RPG, but they have been optimised and simplified for the digital arena this time and the flow works well, but there are a few niggles that could annoy the less tolerant gamer. Much as Gary found when he reviewed the original game last year.

Combat is still a little flakey, it can be frustrating as all hell at times, the issue from Blackguards seems to still apply in that damage can be a little flakey in its application, the NPCs can be a little bit on the drooling idiot side, but the general improvement in the game and its engine have polished off so many of the rough edges from the first one.

Some of the missions in the game can be annoying, snatch and grab or escape missions in the main. These require you to make it to a specific zone in the map with all of your party (and there can be up to 20 of you) to the end of the map intact will get you chewing the keyboard a times, but you’ll persevere and get it done eventually. I say this, because each map is a puzzle to be solved. Some through tactical thought, some through trial and error.

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Using your brain and the ability to pay off a spy to get information on a target that you snag in the next mission, then using that info on the target to tighten the thumbscrews a little more and get an extra access point on the next map makes you feel positively Machiavellian. Using cover and line of sight properly makes you feel like Chuck Norris with fireballs.

All in all, this is a game I can compare to a Mondrian painting. Some people will drool all over it, ignoring the bad bits like the book reading making you amazing with an axe, and some will look at it and ask “what’s with all the black lines and blocks of colour, meht?”

Piet Mondriaan 03

8.00/10 8

Blackguards 2 (Reviewed on Windows 8)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

A sometimes frustrating, always enthralling strategy RPG that has its rough spots. The time necessary to get to grips with it is well spent despite this as it rewards you in so very many ways.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Chris Wootton

Chris Wootton

Staff Writer

Vendor of anecdotes and drinker of coffee "Mr Woot" currently resides in the South West. He tends towards the sesquipedalian.

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