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Blackguards 2

Score: 84%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

Not too long ago, I did a preview for Blackguards 2. Finally, we have a full candidate release available now on Steam. Actually, they are doing a really good job of keeping things up to date and patches are already available. Blackguards 2 is a turn-based strategy RPG that is a sequel to Blackguards.

One area that PC gaming has traditionally been stronger than the console is in the graphics. While I am not going to claim that the graphics are better than all console games, the graphics are quite well done. The world and its inhabitants look just like they did in the first game, which gives it a very cohesive feeling. Since Blackguards 2 picks up right where Blackguards left off, this is a good thing. You can definitely tell the difference between your characters. Cassia starts out very beautiful, but what remains now is a sight to behold. The teams she recruits would never be mistaken for a family as they are quite varied in size and appearance. Your NPCs are a bit more generic, especially the enemies, but they are still well-crafted.

When I play an RPG, I want a well done story. I want to play a game where the characters feel real to me, as if I could picture them being a real live person. While I wouldnít want to meet some of these people in real life, I can picture them being real. Their conversations flow smoothly. You really believe in the interactions, good or bad, between them. The conversations make sense and are logical to the story, which is important. All of the voicework is very well done and your characters do speak out loud (in addition to the on-screen text), which I like.


Gameplay:

After a bit of a gruesome opening, Cassia of Tenos wakes up to find herself not in the soft bed where she fell asleep, but instead on the cold, hard floor of a dungeon. She has no clue how she got there and even less of an idea as to why. She is also surrounded by extremely poisonous spiders. The only person who she can even talk to is a cantankerous old guard, who is of no help. Cassiaís first task is to get out of this prison that no one escapes. While it wonít take you long to get her out, in in-game time, it is quite a number of years! After so long with the spiders, sheís not the same person as when she was incarcerated.

The minute she is out, Cassia determines that she wants to rule the world. Cassia has no small ambitions! She knows that to do this, sheís going to have to have a lot of manpower. This leads us to whatís left of the heroes of Blackguards. You will need to seek out Naurim the Dwarf, Zurbaran the Wizard, and Takate. Of course, convincing them to join you isnít going to be easy, so get ready to fight for what you want.

Once you get your group stable, basically you will journey from town to town gathering information and trying to achieve your goal of taking over the world. This is not a free-roaming kind of game. You will go from towns to battle grounds. In towns, you can do a whole bunch of things. I recommend talking to everyone you can for information. Supposedly your choices can affect the game. So far, I havenít seen that it changes anything major, but you do get different choices and you canít always do all of them, so choose wisely. You can also go shopping. I recommend choosing wisely there as well, because it can make or break your game. Once youíre ready to leave town, simply choose where you want to go next. You donít have a linear progression, per se, but you will have to beat some areas before going to the next. Travel between places is instant. Battle is a complex strategy and beating the game will all depend on how well you can strategize.


Difficulty:

As I have mentioned, Blackguards 2 is a turn-based strategy RPG. While I do love the challenges, I freely admit I am not the worldís greatest strategist. I prefer to play the brawny muscle and act rather than think (at least in games). I found Blackguards 2 to be a bit on the difficult side to start out. You start with a certain number of AP and you earn more each battle. There are just so many things that you can use that AP on that I found it overwhelming at first. I just saved it all up and hoped that after a few battles, I would know better which character needed what. This worked to a certain extent, but really, you can specialize your characters in so many ways that you can make whatever kind of fighters you want. Itíll just take some work to figure out what you like. I am still working on it myself.

When a battle starts, you have complete control of what your characters do from the very beginning. You even choose (within a small range) where to place them to start the battle. You can also place traps that will hinder your opponents, potentially giving you the advantage that you need to win. I recommend just saving your game before each battle. If all of your characters die in battle, it is game over, so a quick save is well worth it.


Game Mechanics:

The controls arenít the worldís easiest, but once you get the hang of them, itís not too bad. You will use both the mouse and the keyboard to move your characters around the board. Basically, you will click where you want the characters to go. They have a limited movement range. You actually have two turns, so you can move a short distance and then attack or you can move a long distance and use both turns at once. I found it just depends on your goal as to which you want to do. Youíll probably mix things up so that you can get the most treasure and still meet the goals. Pretty much everything you need to know about the controls will be well explained in the game. They do a really good job of letting you know how to play.

If you like strategy games, you really need to check out Blackguards 2. The story is compelling, which keeps you coming back to find out what Cassia and company are going to do next. You can spend a very long time just customizing your characters so that they fight exactly as you want them to. I found that I had to replay a few boards until I could figure out the right strategy for each area, but thatís all part of the game. For someone with strategy skills, youíll probably go through it a lot quicker, but either way itís fun. If youíre looking for a good strategy RPG, check out Blackguards 2.


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

Minimum System Requirements:



OS: Windows XP 32 Bit; Processor: 2 GHz Dual Core; Memory: 4 GB RAM; Graphics: nVidia GeForce 8600 / GT, ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT; DirectX: Version 9.0c; Hard Drive: 12 GB available space; Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c Compatible Sound Card with Latest Drivers

Additional Notes: Using the Minimum Configuration, we strongly recommend using minimal settings in order to not experience low frame rates.

 

Test System:



OS: Windows 8.1, CPU: Intel Core i7-3630QM 2.4 GHz, RAM: 16 GB, Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M, Hard Drive: 400 GB free

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