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Strategic Scoundrels: Blackguards 2

I didn’t get along with Blackguards, Daedalic’s Dark Eye universe strategy RPG. On paper, it sounded like it might be a cup of tea that was almost entirely up my street but I found the early battles a slog. Too often, I’d see my party smashed to bits and have to replay until I found the ‘correct’ method for a particular fight.

Despite that, I’ve been mildly interested in the sequel, partly because there’s a dearth of these kind of tactical combat RPGs on the PC, and partly because Blackguards felt like it might be a couple of steps from greatness. Or at least goodness. I haven’t paid sufficient attention to post any videos before now, which makes this a perfect place to plant both of the ‘New Features’ videos that have been released.

The big change is a strategic map and dynamic campaigning rather than the linear plod of the original. Slavers are attacking settlements and you’ll use heroes and mercenaries to fight back, reclaiming territory and defending areas that you’ve claimed. Maps can switch control several times during a campaign, which should go some way toward eliminating the irritation of repeated failure. Anything that opens the game up a little and allows me to experiment with characters, skills and equipment is a good thing. The original felt like it had given me an enormous banquet and then passed me a teaspoon to eat it with.

The strategic map might be the carving knife I needed all along.

The way I see it, I’ll be liberating settlements from slavers and then dropping mantraps onto every available piece of floorspace to stave off raiding parties. What could possibly go wrong?

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Adam Smith

former Deputy Editor

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