I know its been a long time in the making, but I have finally defeated the game that is Blackguards. In this game you will be taking on the role of a commoner who is friends with those in high places, especially a princess, but wait, what was that? Oh no the princess has been killed, and you are having the finger pointed at you. This is where the true story begins, and where you will met the first of your companions that will help you through the game with either their strength or their magical abilities.
Graphically this game has a couple of small hiccups from time to time, but the overall game gives you the feel of a dark and desolate world that is clinging to the world of old gods. Even though you don't get to actually walk through the towns, you are given 3D scenes that you can click on the action icons to interact with, they all have depth and personality. Another thing is that there is a lot of different models used when it comes to interacting with towns, you are not going to see a lot of repeats, though to be fair its not like any of the towns are overflowing with people. Now as far as the combat graphics are concerned you are placed in a 3D hex-based grid system in which you will be moving from 3/4s side view to top down view so that you can see the whole field and make sure you're not missing anything such as traps or enemies that could be hiding behind walls, plants, etc. I do like the fact that at the bottom of the screen, since this is turn based, that there are images of the enemies, and they have about 3 to 4 stock images so that the enemies have a little bit of variety to them. Sure the models all look the same with the exception of if the enemy is a specific class or sex.
The music in the game was very well made, and there were quite a few haunting tunes that as soon as they start I immediately think about the game. The voice acting for the most part was solid as well, there were a couple of over the top performances, but sometimes that's going to happen when try too hard to capture a specific type of character.
The controls in the game are pretty straight forward. You are going to use the mouse coupled with WASD for most everything while moving around a map, or on the battlefield. You will of course be using the usual 'i' for inventory and 'c' for character sheet.
So this game is pretty deep when it comes to all the little tweaks you can make to your character. There is a good number of spells to cast, there is weapon proficiency to think about, active and passive skills to learn, traits to learn, and of course stats to increase. I have to say that this was always a daunting task for me, but for the most part, once I really got into the game, I had the feel for what was really important for my party to not only survive, but to succeed. You'll also be given weapons, armor, and items galore that you will have to learn to balance. I found out the hard way that putting items or equipment on your characters does not take away much if any of the load in your inventory. So when I had my party fully decked out I almost had no room for much else, unless of course I wanted to play encumbered. That being said it didn't created THAT big of an annoyance.
You of course have your own main quest, starting off with you trying to figure out what is really going on, and then of course the twists happen and all hell possibly breaks loose. The thing is that there are a ton of side quests to keep your eyes out for. Now I will say this, until the very end of the game you might lose access to some quests, but have no fear you will regain it later on in the game. There's also many quests that you might miss out on if you don't periodically check in on all the cities. Yes, I understand that that means that you will be dealing with a ton of load screens, but none of them are really unbearable, and when you get to the end of the game, you will thank me for making you search for extra quests.
I'm going to be totally honest with you, it took a couple of attempts for me to get into this game, but once I was invested in the game I couldn't stop. I wanted to see what was behind the next bend in the road, what enemies would stand in my way, and of course it stood out to me because I've always loved pencil and paper RPGs, and this felt like a pretty good transition from sitting around a round table with friends and experiencing and adventure. So in the end I have to say that through it all I have to give this game an 8.9 out of 10.