I received this Blackguards 2 as a review code for the Nintendo Switch. I would like to take this moment to thank Daedalic Entertainment for the opportunity, and I hope I can continue to do more reviews for the company in the future. That said, I will not let this affect my review. This will be my honest opinion of the game.
Blackguards 2 is an action turn based-strategy RPG where you control a team of heroes and mercenaries through a series of combat scenarios and puzzles. The game focuses on Cassia, a wronged woman who seeks revenge by taking her ex-husband’s kingdom from him. Her husband locked her up and left her to die. Will she be able to lead her army and achieve her revenge, or will she succumb to her ever-creeping madness?
I had a lot of fun with this game when it worked properly. You can set traps, ambush enemies, and use the environment to earn your victory. Unfortunately, the enemy AI is inconsistent, and some levels will not work as intended. Sometimes I was greeted by tactical enemies who forced me to earn my victory. Other times the enemy would stand still while I slaughtered them relentlessly. If you are smarter than me (and you probably are) you can find ways to break the Ai and breeze through combat easily. There is also a light puzzle element that is heavily impacted by how the enemy AI chooses to act. I failed a few puzzles because the AI became ungodly.
My biggest issue with the combat was the pathing. There are levels where you will have to choose your pathing hex by hex; this will prove tedious. If you allow the pathing to be chosen for you, your heroes will run into fire or traps that will kill them instantly. Each level can also have invisible traps that require special skills to see. These will create incredibly frustrating moments as you watch your heroes die instatly for stepping on random particles. This game can become incredibly frustrating and impossible to beat if you are not careful or paying attention.
The graphics for the game are fine, but nothing special. On some levels, the bloom and high contrast make it hard to see enemies and traps. I felt this to be especially true in handheld mode where it would be hard to see even the pathing. It doesn’t help that the camera controls don’t let you rotate the camera horizontally, making it hard to select some units or objectives. If you are going to play this game, I suggest you play this on a bigger screen.
Customization can be overwhelming if you are new to the genre. You can buy and earn gear to customize your units to fit your play style. You can also buy skills, spells, and feats to make your heroes more heroic. I found customizing my units to be a hassle as the UI felt clunky most of the time. Unfortunately, skills and feats you buy impact combat, making dealing with the UI a necessary evil.
I enjoyed the story for the most part. I adored the voice acting, although the sound mixing isn’t consistent. I thought the characters were fine although they do fall into the same tropes you are probably used to. The world-building in this game comes from conversations you have with NPCs in the hubs, but it stops the information you gather stops being interesting halfway through. The game does offer you choices to make, but I didn’t feel like they impacted gameplay.
I didn’t hate this game, but I can’t ignore its issues. When this game worked, I had a blast! Unfortunately, the bugs make victories anticlimactic, losses frustrating, and on some levels unnecessarily difficult. This game fills a specific niche, so if you don’t like strategy games, I wouldn’t bother. If you do like the genre, I would wait for it to go on sale. It isn’t worth the $10. You can play this on Mac, PC, Xbox, Playstation, and on the Nintendo Switch.
This game is currently on sale on steam for $.99. It is definitely worth that much.