The First Templar XBox 360 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 7.0
Graphics 7.0
Sound 7.0
Value 6.5
Distributor: AFA Interactive
Classification:
MA15+
Review Date:
June 2011
Reviewer:
Peter Bourke

6.9


The First Templar

The First Templar is a standard action adventure game with a touch of RPG thrown into the mould by developers Haemimont Games which sees the player taking on the role of a holy Templar as he makes his way through medieval Europe to uncover the secrets of the Holy Grail. Joining you on your quest is your brother in-arms and together you must piece together the whereabouts of this holy relic by interacting with non-player characters and embarking on a variety of quests in classic RPG style. As you do progress, you gain a third party member called Maria, a French noblewomen who has been declared a heretic by the church but she is a key to your quest. This adds some great dynamics to the story and best of all, each of the three characters are relatively quite different to play.

As opposed to the main storyline, there are also plenty of sub quests to engage in and some of these are character specific. If you want to get the most out of your game, than you should definitely try to complete as many of these as you can because it will assist in making your characters more powerful, not to mention add good value for money. Another highlight of the game is that is set in the rich backdrop of the Crusades so the places that you visit are inspired from real-world environments. Not so much with the enemies and magic but more the locations. In terms of locations, the first few levels are quite amazing and as you progress, these change from forests to deserts and everything in between as you fight your way to the truth.

The First Templar has a sturdy combat engine and each of the characters has a different fighting style, however my favourite is Maria, as opposed to Roland or Celian. The third perspective view of combat works well as you get an overall view of the area and your opponents that you are fighting. There are a variety of moves for your characters from your basics blocks to melee attacks. You do have a health bar and should you happen to get defeated, your party can revive you, provided that they are still alive. Orbs play a key role in The First Templar and health is measured by toughness orbs and characters can wield up to four of these. Once exhausted, your characters becomes incapacitated. Zeal orbs on the other hand allow you to access special manoeuvres for your characters or for healing. Orbs can be charged by successfully hitting your enemies in combat. It's a nifty system.

As you engage and defeat your enemies, you are awarded experience points which can then be used to "level-up" your characters and points are awarded for other classic RPG elements. Levelling up does make your characters more powerful and there are plenty of unlockables for your characters to beef them up. The interface on the XBox 360 has been setup well for The First Templar and everything is quite accessible with the 360 controller such as the skill tree which has been shaped as a crucifix. By upgrading one ability, it unlocks another one in the chain so there is some minor customisation options for the player. Some of these customisation options lead to some impressive attacks, depending on what skill branch you are fine tuning. I also like the mini-map on the game screen as well which helps point you in the right direction, especially when you are engaged in quests. Add in magic and a variety of weapons and armour and The First Templar is quite varied for what is available to the player to find.

Although this is a single-player game in essence, The First Templar does support a multiplayer mode with co-op that allows another player to take control of the second character. This does enhance the linear gameplay and it makes battles a much more thrilling experience, especially when your fighting a boss as one player can play the tank. I really love performing one of the finishing manoeuvres, especially in the co-op mode because it does provide some bragging rights of finishing the last enemy. If a player does leave, the AI will jump into the control seat and in single-player, you can swap between characters in order to use their skills for a particular puzzle or fight. Apart from fighting, The First Templar has an interesting stealth aspect to the game which requires you to sneak around and hot raise any alarms. This does remind me of Assassin's Creed and Thief and for a smaller developer, they did quite a good job with this.

Graphically, The First Templar looks good on the XBox 360, although there are a few nuisances with the graphics and it doesn't look as sharp as some of the big name games such as The Witcher 2 or Elder Scrolls of Oblivion. However, the gaming environments still look gorgeous and sometimes you do need to stop and just look around as there is some decent attention to detail.

Your characters, NPC's and enemies that you face have some nice texture designs and they move with a human-like grace. One issue is that your main character seems to glide at times which does look a little disconcerting. The soundtrack is your traditional RPG sounding epic that suits the story perfectly and the voice acting ranges from mediocre to excellent. Add in a variety of sound effects from battles and the background ambience of this interactive world and all in all, it's not a bad game for the XBox 360.

In the end, The First Templar retails for around $60AUS and is not a bad price, considering the competition its up against with the larger developers. It may not be the most memorable action adventure RPG game available but it does contain an enjoyable story with some interesting characters that you will meet along the way. The combat system is sturdy, although a little lacklustre initially, especially with the button mashing but once you level-up, your characters do start to become tanks in their own right. Graphically, the game does look good on XBox 360, although it does have a slightly dated feel and has a few graphical problems but it's still nothing you should scoff at. For those that need their third person action RPG fix, than you might want to check out the The First Templar as it delivers good old fashioned gameplay.






 
 



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