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Blackguards 2 Gameplay Preview

Blackguards 2 Gameplay Preview

Blackguards 2 is a turn-based, tactical RPG based on the rule book of The Dark Eye, the increasingly popular German role-playing game that challenges even Dungeons and Dragons for it’s fantasy crown. Made by Daedalic Entertainment, Blackguards 2 is a follow up to 2014’s original and is due for release almost exactly one year later in January of 2015. Various additions and improvements have been made since the first game was released making Blackguards 2 a more accessible and understandable game than its predecessor. As a newcomer to the series I was glad to see there is an in depth tutorial that explains the basic mechanics of the game including any changes and while I did feel there were portions missing that could really have been of use, this really helped me settle into the game with a basic understanding of how to move forward once I was set free on the world map.

For those unaccustomed to Blackguards 2‘s gameplay style the main portion of the game takes place in two places; your campsite and the battlefield. The battlefield is of course where you test your skills on a tiled map using a turn-based system. Your characters can be strategically placed before the first turn is taken and the map can also be fully viewed before you start. One stumbling block I ran into early on was that I would quite often find myself taking a couple of turns on a new map then restarting once I had a better gist of what my overall goal was. Blackguards 2 does allow you highlight interactive items on the map, but only once characters have been placed and turns are in play. There is also occasionally a bit of dialogue before the first turn, but in many cases neither of these fully explain the maps end goal and on the hardest difficulties this can be a death sentence if you make a tactical error early on.


Once clear on your map goals the combat becomes really enjoyable and the twists and turns of the story elements don’t seem so harsh. In a way it’s both a good and a bad thing that maps need to be scouted before you fully commit to them. On one hand this of course means that the overall goal is not well explained enough to begin with, but also means that maps and not just straightforward affairs and vary in approach, difficulty and layout to the point that after six hours of gameplay I don’t think I approached a single battle in exactly the same way.

The campsite is the second area where you will spend a lot of your time learning about your characters history and getting to grips with the very detailed and open ability system. As with the action based portion of the game this area holds a lot of positives and a few negatives. For starters the aforementioned ability system is great once you get to grips with it. You are basically open to build your characters as you wish, without having to stick to strict class restrictions. Of course this doesn’t mean that you can just spend your ability points without thought, as this will most likely cripple your effectiveness later on when the game takes a difficulty hike. Carefully reading over abilities and choosing a path for each character is your best bet and this is where one of the negatives comes into play. The specification options and statistics are just not explained well enough. For example what is the difference between offence and damage and how do they effect each other if at all? Do main-hand and off-hand attacks have the same stat values? How many points of endurance do I need to gain in order to raise my health? These and more are all the types of questions I wanted to ask in order to improve the way I levelled my characters and so improve the way I played the game. Blackguards 2 certainly seems like it’s pushing itself toward the hardcore tactical RPG crowd, but in order to please that crowd you have to be overly informative and highly detailed in every aspect of character building.

Blackguards 2 also allows for moral choices when dealing with certain aspects of the games storyline. As the leader of a group of growing power within the kingdom Cassia often has tough choices to make than can effect the story later down the line. The game is also not as straightforward as choosing which point you want to advance to after every successful battle, occasionally the kingdoms forces will try to take back one of your controlled points on the map and then it’s your turn to be on the back foot and defend what you have fought so hard for.

Blackguards 2 is currently in development and I have no doubt that come release day there will be advancements and improvements from what I have seen in the preview. For me if they are to get things just right it would be nice for there to be a bit more detail in the statistics side of things and continuation of the varying map styles and encounters. Blackguards 2 is clearly confident in what it wants to achieve, that being a solid tactical game set in a fantasy world with a rich backstory. Characters are likeable, combat is enjoyable and the game is generally well designed and I can’t wait to try out the finished product next year.

Memoria Hands On Preview

Memoria Hands On Preview

I admit that I may have jumped into the adventure gaming scene some fifteen years too late and as a result have been participating in a lot of pointing and clicking lately. It’s a wonder that my mouse hasn’t worn itself out from the constant release of great new games and discovery of old classics. As of late most of my finger tapping has been directed at Daedalic Entertainment’s releases and with each new arrival I feel duty bound to report to you with my impressions.

Memoria is Daedalic Entertainment’s latest tale of adventure and is the second game in the series to be based in the world of popular role playing game The Dark Eye. In Germany The Dark Eye really holds its weight amongst a band of loyal gamers, outselling Dungeons & Dragons with it’s dice rolling fantasy jaunts since its conception in 1984. Indeed the continent of Aventuria has been around for so long that it leads me to expect detail and complexity when considering anything linked with its name and based in its world.

Memoria tells us the story of Geron and his wish to break the curse that currently traps his friend Nuri in the form of a raven. In order to do this he strikes a deal with a wizard who will teach him the spell he requires, but only if he can first solve a riddle. This riddle tells a second story of Princess Sadja and her attempts to acquire the mask of Malakkar, a powerful artifact that will supposedly change the course of a great battle her people are engaged in. In historical tales Princess Sadja disappears from the face of the earth with no trace or explanation as to where she might have gone. It’s up to Geron to discover her fate and in turn solve the riddle and free Nuri from her curse.

Having not yet played the first game in the series Chains of Satinav, I am lacking a bit of background information of protagonist Geron and his past exploits that have him branded as the hero of Andergast. In fact quite a few of the characters themselves don’t seem to be all that well explained, possibly due to the developers assumption that I have played the previous game and already have knowledge about them. In contrast, the fresh story of Princes Sadja and her band of would be heroes is very interesting and contains plenty of information about its characters. Hers is also a story more focussed on mythical beings, magic and undiscovered ruins, adventure and conquest and I find myself longing for each new part of the princesses story as the game progresses. As this is only a demo I still expect a lot more from Geron in the full game and am sure this will be the case.

Memoria screenshot fortress pc steam gog daedalic entertainment adventure point and click

If there’s one thing that continually shines throughout Daedalic’s games it’s the intricately hand drawn backdrops that stand out and give the games much of their charm and distinction. It’s the same case for Memoria and the developers have even chosen to go one step further and have rendered the characters with a computer, breathing new life and movement into the 2D world of Aventuria. At this stage in development English voice actors have not yet been added to these characters, but I’m happy to say that the script kept me thoroughly engaged to the point where I would have happily played the whole game without them.

If there’s one gripe I have at this stage it’s that the puzzles are a touch on the easy side and lack a little depth. Sure the developers have done a good job so far of removing much of the illogical decision making that has dogged past games, but in doing so have made the road to solving the puzzles a little too simplistic. It feels as if they need to add something to beef them up a little. Of course this being only a preview version I fully expect things to have changed come full release or at least advanced in the later parts of the game. There are also a few missed elements such as the previously mentioned voice actors and dialogue options that don’t exist.

All in all, Memoria is shaping up to be a great addition to the adventure gaming scene, with a strong story and a well imagined world. Before the full game releases on 30th of August I fully intend to play through Chains of Satinav so that I can better understand the characters and story of this game. Until then I recommend you check out the official web page and forum for up to date info on the series.