Kalypso Media's next title, The First Templar, was playable at this year's PAX East on both PC and Xbox 360. The game had some interesting features for a hack-n-slash with RPG elements, along with some aspects to make the title its own.For those who haven't heard of this title yet, the game takes place during the Crusades as you take the role of two Knights Templar on a quest for the Holy Grail. The quest is interrupted by conspiracy among the Templars and Catholic church, landing you right in the middle of the chaos.
Kalypso mentioned their goal for the game is to keep it as close to realism as possible, mainly by refraining from including different aspects in the game. There will not be magic, mythical beasts or random edibles to regain health. To compensate for these typical elements, your characters will be skilled swordsman with upgradable stats, vials of holy water are sparsely placed to regain health and any beastly looking foes are described as tortured humans.
The game is a third-person action/RPG, keeping you constant with a 2-3 person party in both single and multi-player modes. You are always able to switch between any character available, as well as handle each individuals upgrades and items.
Each of the characters - Celian, Roland and Mia - have their own abilities and traits. Celian, the main character, sticks with a sword and shield. Roland wields a two-handed long sword, and Mia is a connoisseur of knives.
The game takes advantage of it's group play by also adding a drop-in/out feature. If your friends come online, or by your house, they can jump into the game and take the role of one of your companions at any time. If they decide to leave, it simply switches back to the AI.
The combat in The First Templar is fairly simple, swing your sword. There is a power hit as well but you need to have enough energy to perform the heavier hit. Blocking and dodging is also crucial in combat since the realism weighs in here as well. With some enemies, there is a tell for when they are gearing to attack. You can also sneak up behind enemies for quick takedowns and link combo hits for more XP. The XP is useful toward your skill tree, which is appropriately shaped as the Templar iron cross.
There are also QTE elements within the game. For example, when an enemy is downed and one hit from defeat you can trigger a QTE attack that stabs them through the chest. Another example of QTE in the game is when a dog is about to attack, you have to hit the left mouse button in time to counter the bite. If you fail to counter, the dog takes you down and you have to rapidly tap the left mouse button to get the dog off.
Despite the unique aspects of the game, there are still a few qualms. The graphics aren't bad, but definitely not up to par with recent titles. The characters are nicely detailed, though some of the environments are in need of some polish.
In terms of character actions, there was a flaw where the character was to pull a lever to open a door. When the action was selected, the character simply outreached its hand and the lever magically moved on its own. The game doesn't include magic, but this hiccup doesn't support the claim.
That said, this was not the final build and these factors could be remedied in the final product. Overall, the build was decent and the gameplay was a lot of fun.
Check out the newest trailer below to see The First Templar in action:
The First Templar is set to release this May on for PC and Xbox 360.