Blackguards 2 is the sequel to 2013’s strategy role playing game Blackguards by Daedalic Entertainment. At the beginning of Blackguards you will find yourself at the bottom of a dungeon and at the edge of your sanity with your only companions a jailer who hates you and spiders that want to eat you. From these humble beginnings you will wage a campaign to rule the world.
Never before has the saying “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” been more applicable in a strategy RPG than it is in Blackguards 2. Less than an hour into the game you come to the realization that you made your way to the bottom of that pit by the hand of your husband Marwan. Not one to lay down and die Cassia, you, has vowed to usurp her husband and become the new ruler of the land. When pressed by friends and enemies alike on her travels Cassia reveals that she wants power for no other reason that she wants it. It will become very clear that Cassia and her ragtag band of fellows are not good people. In fact I’m not sure I met a good person the entire time I played the game. There were assuredly bad people, and then some people that weren’t as bad, but they would still rather hang you then offer you quarter.
The game has a definite sense of dark humor to it that lives up to the color in its name. The main characters all have strong personalities and provide interesting dialogue. The voice over work is well done and I found myself chuckling at Naurim (the dwarf’s) comments.
The bulk of the game takes place on two different types of maps. There is the main world map that you will work your way across taking strategic points in your effort to overthrow Marwan. When taking these points you will fight across a hexagonal map of varying size. Not all battles will require you to use brute force and kill all of your enemies. Some will require you to free NPCs and make your escape, some will require you to maneuver from one point to another and not allow any of your party members to die, while others will require you to kill everything you see.
The character development system in Blackguards 2 is more robust than it’s predecessor. You are not locked into developing a certain skill tree. You earn Ability Points (AP) at the end of battles that you can spend on skills. You can mix and match points from a variety of paths to create a character that plays how you want to play. You can also spend points on specific spells you want to use and level up individual weapon classes such as two handed bashing or swords and sabers. You can also carry up to 3 sets of weapons with you into battle so you can switch between a ranged weapon and melee and have a third for variety. A sword and shield, a bow and arrows, and a two handed weapon would make for a well rounded set of equipment for most non magic users.
Blackguards 2 is not a monumental leap forward for the franchise but it does progress it in a positive direction. Fans of strategy RPGs that have not played the first game in the series can still jump directly in on this one and will quickly be pulled into the story.
- GAMEPLAY: 7 – Turn based combat on a hexagonal grid. Not all battles are kill them all. Strategy really comes into play.
- VISUALS AND SOUND: 8 – The game looks good and sounds good. At times the voice acting is laugh out loud funny. The inter party banter in camp is worth listening to.
- POLISH: 8 – Only ran into one bug that required me to restart a battle. Being able to rotate the map would be nice but would also run the production cost of the game up.
- LONGEVITY: 7 – Multiple different character builds allow for re-playabilty. More than one path to take across the world as well.
- VALUE: 8 – $34.99 on steam. It’s currently $5 cheaper than it’s predecessor. Replayability and moderate cost of ownership make this game a good value.