A Hex On You – Blackguards: Untold Legends

By John Walker on March 7th, 2014 at 8:00 am.

Alec rather struggled to enjoy Blackguards. A far too dull game, despite offering some oft-loved turn-based RPGness, it failed to find that King’s Bounty love. However, the game continues on defiantly, and has just launched its first DLC – Blackguards: Untold Legends – only a month or so after release.

Untold Legends offers seven new quests, more weapons and eleven new battle maps, for its hex-based turn-based combat set within The Dark Eye universe. These expand on the original story, and they look a bit like this:

The idea here is to explore central character Takate’s past, and apparently “fight against rebellious slaves”, which doesn’t strike me as the most immediately sympathetic storyline. Being enslaved is generally considered a bad thing these days, by my understanding. Rebelling ones sound like the people whose side I’d rather be on.

Anyhoo, it’s going to cost you another fiver on top of the main game’s current discount of £27. Did you get into this one, despite Alec’s quite clearly instructing you that you’re wrong to?

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26 Comments »

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  1. JadedPrimate says:

    I haven’t actually played this game, but considering it seems from the tone of this article that the fellows at RPS consider it to be a poor one, and as such don’t think the release of a DLC for it is worth much more than a half-hearted “There’s a DLC out for this game we think suck. Er. Do with that as you please.” this article strikes me as nothing but filler. Maybe someone at the (virtual?) office instructed mr. Walker to do an article on it, and he grudgingly set to work determined to spend the absolute minimum of time on it.

    • bill says:

      True. But I guess having to have one post an hour is the nature of the internet business. I’m not sure people should be allowed to post about things they haven’t personally experienced.. that way we’d cut down 90% of the internet filler in the world.

      • araczynski says:

        but…but…think of all the poor ads that would disappear with that 90% :(

    • otto_ says:

      Incorrect assumption. Alec Meer got a lot of flak for the first impressions article on Blackguards. A lot of people seemed to like it for its niche appeal. RPS didn’t like it much but that doesn’t mean it’s bad in the end this is a blog with opinions not facts.

    • John Walker says:

      Good grief, conspiracy theory nonsense on a post about a big update to a game people are playing?

      Oddly enough, as a founding editor and owner of RPS, nobody gets to tell me what to write. So you can put that one aside. And just because we don’t like a game, doesn’t mean others don’t as well, and doesn’t mean that a big DLC update isn’t relevant to lots of readers. So do hush.

      • SominiTheCommenter says:

        > nobody gets to tell me what to write
        How can you write anything at all then? How can you avoid procrastination?

      • bill says:

        You have to write about Robots and Dinosaurs and Thief. So there!

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Don’t know what their problem was, but it’s actually a really fun game.

  2. Pneuma_antilogias says:

    I’ve struggled to like this game, ever since I joined in Early Access.

    The whole point of RPGs (to me, at least) is to have choices and move around in the world; not just from hotspot to hotspot and have stilted “conversations”.

    plot SPOILERS below (not that it’s a groundbreaking scenario, but anyway):

    You are -unjustly, needles to say- accused for the murder of a -rather good-looking, needless to say- female friend. You manage to escape. You walk to the neighboring town, with two other escaped prisoners; you are recognized by one merchant as the guy who was arrested for the murder of that noblewoman. The ensuing “conversation” boils down to this: “oh, a murderer on the loose, I dislike you, what’ll you be buying?”

    Overall, It’s not a horribly bad game, but it’s not particularly good, either. Lukewarm perhaps describes it best.

    • Mangoose says:

      What you’ve described is a very niche view of RPGs. RPGs are a type of game system or genre where you have a character build – that is customized/developed/leveled up by the player – that affects how successful your character is in tasks in the world. Now, this results in a wide variety of gameplay, as stats can influence your choices in plot, stats can influence just general sandboxy actions, and of course stats can influence combat.

      And this is why we have different TYPES or RPGs despite being in the same genre, just in the same way that Dark Souls does not play like Devil May Cry, and how Chess and Starcraft, how Counter Strike and Battlefield 1942 do not play the same. Not to mention there is a wide spectrum of just combat-focused RPGs.

      So do your research and figure out what TYPE of RPG it is. Genre does not spell everything.

      Note that I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with your preference of a what type of RPG you like. Just that at the same time, it’s not the fault of the developer that he designed for a different target audience than yourself. Don’t act entitled.

  3. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    It’s an SRPG based on the Dark Eye rules and setting, and I really couldn’t imagine many ways to make this premise work better than Blackguards, to be honest. Personally, I am very much enjoying it.

  4. Zeewolf says:

    “A far too dull game, despite offering some oft-loved turn-based RPGness, it failed to find that King’s Bounty love.”

    Did you play it? Because it sounds like you did. If you didn’t, and that’s just Alec’s opinion (as in Wot I Think, not Wot RPS Thinks), then you should probably point that out. And actually, the game is very good.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      I think the problem is people thought it was supposed to be an RPG, but it’s a tactics game. It’s not adventures and exploration, it’s just battles. But it is a really good game.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        My question is: why are all the tactial RPGs not RPGs? I like the tactical combat but I can never stay interested when the RPG is missing.

  5. Viroso says:

    I don’t know about this game, if it’ll go on with the rebellious slaves plot to the end or if later you become sympathetic or something, but an impressive amount of games make a villain out of the ones on the bottom of the food chain.
    The poorest usually become demented, mutated, caught in some cult like insanity and so on.

    Some examples: Dishonored, Remember Me, Batman Arkham Asylum (when you fight the mentally ill).

    Then there are games like Deus EX HR that revolves around the plights of the obscenely rich who exchange their limbs for upgrades. Not that just because you’re rich your suffering doesn’t matter, but it’s just that this is really the most un-cyberpunk thing I can think of for a cyberpunk-ish game.

    • Zekiel says:

      Wait a minute, Dishonored? The one where you’re going around assassinating the high priest, nobles and the lord regent? How is this making villains out of the downtrodden? Sure Dishonored is an excellent counter-example to your point.

      The withstanding, it is interesting point though and has me trying to think of other games where the oppressed are also the villains.

      • Viroso says:

        The poor people who got sick all became unthinking animals. Usually in games you end up fighting some stronger power, and that may be represented by wealth, higher class.

        But at the same time, the moment you have something like insanity, some illness or extreme poverty in a game, it may be the moment you’ll get crazed raging enemies.

        There’s always a reason for it. In RE5 innocent people got turned into zombies, and zombies are a long standing thing in the series. In Dishonored there’s the plague. The leapers in Remember Me are people who used a certain technology too much. In Batman there are a few insane enemies you fight, and Arkham Asylum is a place for the dangerously and criminally insane.

        There’s an explanation but at the same time the inspiration for these characters is obvious, this cruel and disgusted view of poverty, impairment, substance abusers.

        So think about it. In Dishonored, most of the poor people you find are either diseased monsters or eventually become diseased monsters. Not that the game is exactly nice to the richer people, they’re mostly assholes, but at least they’re still human. The only lower class people who don’t eventually become monsters that I can think of are the ones who serve the wealthy.

        I’m not saying games should portray the privileged as evil and the poor as nice. Also doesn’t mean that it is automatically wrong to turn victims into enemies.

        In Half Life 2 there are the stalkers, they’re obviously prisoners of the Combine, they’ve been tortured and turned into monsters. But in this case it serves to show how cruel the Combine is and it doesn’t really have an analogue in our world, they’re not really like people in concentration camps after all.

        It just bothers me that there’s this trope of turning the disadvantaged into animals.

        • Premium User Badge

          Grey Cap says:

          It’s a lot less straightforward than that in Dishonored. The plague that makes the poor into dying animals was released by the spymaster, who considered the poor to be animals (or criminals, or both). And his socio-political views are thus not only self-fulfilling, they destroy the city and ruin life for all layers of society. So, technically, yeah, some of the poor in Dishonored are turned into zombies. But the player is never expected to sympathize with that process.

          Edit: that said, I do think you have a point about the overall problem where the poor etc are used as a sort of template for ‘scary horde antagonists’ in fiction.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Blackguards is not trying to be cyberpunk at all, it’s medieval.

    • bhauck says:

      You spend a lot of Arkham Asylum fighting Joker’s non-mentally-ill henchmen who were supposed to be in Blackgate Prison, but something something so they had to be stored at Arkham for a while, which worked out GREAT for everyone involved. Also, being Batman, you don’t kill anyone, so the patients you do fight are at least left alive at the end.

      That specific disagreement notwithstanding, this would be a disturbing trend. I remember hearing similar complaints levied at a couple Resident Evil games I’ve never played.

      • Viroso says:

        I remember you fought blackgate guys, but during one point in the game you venture into an area where the actual “criminally insane” are, and they are all rabid monsters, IIRC. I know they’re supposed to be both dangerous and insane, but the very concept, and their portrayal, is part of what I’m talking about here.

        It’s frequent in games to have the sick, the mentally ill, the poor, turned into irrational rabid monsters.

  6. Rymdkejsaren says:

    I can’t speak for or against the quality of a game I have not played, but it seems to me that the moral values of fighting against a slave rebellion has little to do with announcing a DLC? Are we not often cast as villains in games, many of which have received great praise on this very site?

    If it was a DLC for a game you loved, might you not have written how awesome it would be to beat down those pesky slaves who keep insisting on rebelling? Just saying.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Not sure about the expansion, but the character in it is from the base game. He is a slave/gladiator that you help free.

  7. Tokidoki says:

    Well i’ll say one thing, the game is outstandingly fun if you like old school tabletop style RPGs.

    But this DLC centers around a character that was hamfisted into the storyline, has no character, personality and is absolutely boring. The character only exists to replace another one of your companions (who was atleast 10x more interesting and i would have happily played a DLC about).

  8. Mangoose says:

    Why are you looking for a sympathetic storyline in a game named “Blackguards,” not “Paladins”?