I played the original Templar Assault a few years ago, when I first started getting into Trese Brothers games. However, something about it didn’t really capture me the same way that Star Traders RPG had. That said, I was still quite excited to play this sequel, because I know how much attention they put into each title.
With humanity finally finding their place in the universe once more, after being almost wiped out by the Xeno decades ago, things were looking up. Until the fleet was attacked by the Xeno! The Templars break away from the fleet to run interference, which is where you begin -- just after things have gone wrong. It’s a turn-based strategy game with a top-down view.
A minor gripe I have is how everything is set out as if this is a mobile game, despite the fact it hit iOS and Android weeks later.. It makes things look a little simplistic, which is something Trese Brothers games never are. And although the controls are all mouse-based, there are some hotkeys you can use. This makes things easier, and faster.
As you make your way through the ship, and eventually onto planets, your squad members level up individually. You can equip them however you want and choose their abilities between missions, as they gain experience. It’s easy to do and it always tells you when you have unspent points to allocate, though the sheer amount of choices is quite daunting for genre newbies.
The storyline is full of lore, with frequent mentions of the fact the Templars have the knowledge of their ancestors and more. I enjoy a well-crafted world very much, so am quite happy with how it is handled.
What breaks immersion is when they get into the nitty gritty. For instance, a few missions in it finally decides to explain -- in painstaking detail -- about hitpoints and how they were displayed on-screen. By all means explain everything, but by mission four we’ve already seen it all in action.
Up until now, we hadn’t really seen the xenos that humanity had escaped from. In Star Traders 4X Empires, we had seen their ships and read the horrors they were capable of, but they seemed like a vague, distant threat. Getting to go up close and personal with them, despite the top-down viewpoint, shows quite how menacing they really are. Inspiration for their designs does seem to come from the Alien movie franchise, but they are far from the only threat that your squad will face.
If you happen to be awful at strategy games, like me, you will lose people. So long as you don’t lose anyone critical to the story, you can carry on. However, as I mentioned before, everyone levels up as you go, so doing that will leave you high and dry when you have to spend resources on a fresh-faced recruit, because you didn’t know when to pull back. All of the carefully chosen levelling, the skills chosen just so; gone forever, replaced by a nobody…
The music is enjoyable, and happily the Trese Brothers have learned not to let it loop too obviously, as I mentioned them doing in my Heroes of Steel review. Graphically, it actually improved during my playthrough, due to them literally improving the art assets. Yes, as well as updating nine times since release (and who knows how many more times since I wrote this), they released some graphical tweaks.
Speaking of their updates, they went and added five levels, set after the campaign, three weeks post-launch. Not as DLC, but for free. Not that I’ve actually reached those levels… That makes it about 50 levels in total, and some of them are very long, if you want to get your Leviathan’s through it in one piece. The developers reckon about 40 hours for a single playthrough, and that was before the extra campaign was added. At my current rate, I won’t be finished by Christmas, and it’s not even Halloween...
For the price, you cannot do better for length or fun. If strategy is your bag, then you will want to play Templar Battleforce.
Templar Battleforce (Reviewed on Windows)
Excellent. Look out for this one.
Frequent updates to refine a solid title, with free additional levels. Missed a 10 by a very narrow margin.