Blackguards 2 Review | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Blackguards 2 Review



Sequels. Gotta love ’em, am I right? Coming as a follow-up to the last-year’s beginning of a new IP sourced from The Dark Eye universe, Blackguards 2 is here to fix the things its predecessor did wrong and provide some sustenance to the turn-based strategy fans. As you might have noticed, there’s a severe drought of such games and this title couldn’t have arrived at a better time.


You know shit’s about to go down once glowy green magic spheres start flying around the combat zone.

Building upon the pillars of storyline and character development set in the first game, Blackguards 2 begins with the protagonist, Cassia of Tenos, having her kitten killed and getting thrown in a dark, grimy dungeon. The Cassia you control at the beginning of the game is a witty, intelligent and curious woman that does her best when it comes to dealing with the difficult situation she’s facing. With months passing by, she turns into a crazed valkyrie intent on leading an army and crushing the person who threw her into the dungeon. This development is brought upon the protagonist by an interesting MacGuffin in the form of a poisonous spider. I’ll leave the exact details out of this review because it’s a fun, albeit obvious revelation that’ll entice the player to delve into the game head-on just to see what happens next. The rest of the storyline works on a similar modus – while nearly everything that’ll happen in the future can be seen from miles away, it’s interesting regardless and pushes the game forward valiantly.

Rest assured that this is the same dark, bloody and ‘gutsy’ universe that was established partly with The Dark Eye and partly with the original Blackguards twelve months ago. Cassia will run into the anti-heroes we’ve met in the first title in ways that don’t really speak saviour when you finally find them. Expect swearing, disembowelments and torture. Hell, you’ll get to make people suffer yourself during the interrogation sequences – which are just as awesome as they sound. Significant parts of the game are played out in a manner not dissimilar to that of a point ‘n’ click adventure, with Cassia being able to interact with nearby objects, critters and characters – sometimes for humorous effect (not often). The voice-over present in these scenes is masterfully implemented and I can only applaud the voice-actors this time around. All in all – the game won’t make you roll over in excitement as you reveal the twists and turns of the story, but it certainly will keep you interested while enjoying the parts of the game that arent about… well, slaughter.


Are you… are you taking drugs again?

When it does come to combat, however, few people are going to be disappointed. Gone are the days of rolling the dice for chances that your attacks won’t miss their targets. RNG has been ‘upgraded’ to a point where most basic attacks and spells always hit their designated targets, while the effects and damage vary depending on the numbers you’ve rolled below the hood. Blackguards 2 offers its players a lot of freedom when it comes to setting up troops, outfitting them and leveling their skills up. Aside from Cassia and the original heroes, you’ll also be able to employ all kinds of mercenaries to bolster your ranks – a welcome addition to what is a genuinely difficult game. Not only will you be fighting a lot, often jumping from one clash into another without recuperating completely, you’ll also be facing what will often seem like impossible odds. Blackguards 2 pulls no punches, throwing spiders, skeletons and enemy soldiers at you without faltering – the bad thing is that you cannot save mid-combat, and with these fights often lasting twenty minutes or longer, you’re in for a lot of loading screens. While the combat module itself has seen massive improvements, I cannot say the same about the ‘character creation’ present here. First of all, there’s the obvious change that you’re no longer able to fully customize your in-game avatar. This somewhat limits your gameplay options, but isn’t that much of a deal in and of itself. The heavily simplified skill-trees, however, might throw a wrench in your cogs. It’s not that you won’t ever be able to create vastly different character builds or anything like that, because there’s plenty of variety still present, but it seems as if it’s been streamlined just a bit too much.

Visually, Blackguards 2 is a pretty, if not an especially beautiful game. Most of the time you’ll be facing enemies in dank caves and dimly lit catacombs, where no texture helps regardless of its resolution. The effects themselves, however, are shiny and definitely can be defined as ‘eye-candy’. What befuddles me, on the other hand, is the fact that it runs worse than some of the truly ‘current-gen’ titles I’ve been playing these days. I am playing this on a laptop since I’m at college at the moment, but it’s a laptop I play Dying Light and Ground Zeroes on, at high settings. I’m guessing this will be alleviated somewhat when the game gets patched further, but still.

To summarize, Blackguards 2 is a hardcore turn-based RPG with lots of content under the hood, but comes with a couple of splotches that may or may not ruin your experience somewhat. I’d recommend it to those of you who’re looking for a new fantasy storyline to look into, since it’s set in a masterfully crafted universe and sports a fair amount of interesting characters. The interactive sequences aside from the combat module are a fun change of pace, but might leave you feeling a tad queasy when the especially graphic scenes arrive. And the combat itself is a definitive upgrade compared to the original Blackguards, guaranteeing a more streamlined and satisfying, but still a difficult and intense experience. All in all, a very good addition to the sub-genre it fits in.