This is the latest game developed by ‘Haemimont Games’ and published by ‘Kalypso Media’.Haemimont Games was founded in 1997 and has kept to the real time strategy genre of games until now. The First Templar is an action adventure game and it greatly differs from their other titles such as Grand Ages: Rome and Tropico 3.
The story of the game follows a young French Templar ‘Celian’ during the crusades. For the duration of the game you have two main objectives, which slowly become clearer as you advance through the game. The main plot is nothing new, this is not necessarily a bad thing as the Templars have an interesting history that could be explored for a long time. However, the game follows the only plots ever used that involve the Templars (the Holy Grail and their demise). These standard plots are portrayed well enough and include enough twists and turns that keep the game interesting.
During the game you will be accompanied by two enthusiast adventurers. The conversations between these two characters are believable enough throughout the game, allowing you to become attached to them. The dialog between the characters scatters some humour at unexpected moments lifting the spirit of an otherwise more serious story.
The First Templar has a reasonable length by today’s standards, with a duration of about 12 hours depending on your speed of progression. The game consists mainly of combat, broken up by other aspects of the game.
Combat is what makes up the majority of the game, with a variety of different offensive and defensive attacks. The basic attacks are controlled with the mouse using a variety of clicks to perform combos. However, you will not be able to get through the game by just randomly clicking your mouse. As the enemies are very persistent and often come in groups you are forced to keep an eye out for their attacks and mitigate them, otherwise you will find yourself being pummelled as it can be hard to stop the enemies once caught in their attack.There are various ways in which the attacks can be avoided from simple blocking to a well-timed parry, however dodging was a more effective move as it often put you in a place where you can get back on the offense (at least in my personal experience).
As the game progresses, you will unlock more attacks that perform differently, making it important to not just click wildly in a random order, but to know when to knock people back or when to do a power attack to break a shield. These combos add enough variety to the game, stopping the combat being too repetitive. In addition to combos being unlocked you can also obtain special moves that provide you with a little something extra that when performed at the correct time can be used to great effect. Such as ‘whirlwind’ when surrounded or ‘charge’ bash to close the gap between ranged units. The game also makes use of slow-motion kill animations that provide excitement throughout the game as they are not overused and are varied enough to stop them from becoming repetitive or a waste of time.
During combat, it becomes clear that the game was not originally designed for the pc as the controls do not sit well. That said they are not as bad as some other console ports to pc, but it is very obvious that they are more suited to the console.
The combat however, is broken up often enough by levels that involve more puzzle solving than fighting, bringing a nice change of pace to the game. As the game progresses the puzzles become more and more advanced as expected and involve separating your group to get through the levels. With all the traps, navigating parts of the levels with a single character will keep you on edge as few mistakes can kill you.
As well as the puzzle levels, there are occasionally levels with a high amount of stealth involved. This again breaks up all the combat and makes the game much more varied. The game is not harsh during these stealth levels as most of the time if you get noticed it is not game over. Upon detection, often guards in the area are notified of your presence and you will have to fight your way out.
The game can be played with a friend adding to the enjoyment. However you have to set the game up to be played in a team and there is no dropping in/out of the game. This is nothing terrible but compared with the other games on the market it feels a little clunky and dated.
The game has got a nice aesthetic appeal as the characters travel across Europe and the Middle East providing a great amount of diversity in the locations that you play. With the multitude of different scenes across the countries adds greater levels of diversity to the game making each level look and feel different to the previous. This coupled with well-timed flowing combat creates a wonderfully smooth game with nice backdrops. However the graphics compared to a modern day game are not very good, this does not impair the game play but do not expect anything jaw dropping
The good aesthetics combined with the sounds and voice acting lifts the game, which portrays the feeling of the levels quite nicely. The voice acting was done well although at points the dialog seemed to be rather forced together and lacked emotion.
Taking all that has been said in to account, this is a rather good game as long as you can overcome some of the flaws. You do get a feeling that some corners were cut and could be improved however. If Haemimont Games were to build upon this and learn from their mistakes they could produce a very good action adventure game. The overall enjoyability of the game would be greatly increased if you play with others.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.