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The First Templar – first look

We got a chance to see The First Templar recently for the first time. Hmm, we can predict at least one comment following this article. Anyway, our time with the game was brief, so it’s currently hard to tell much about the title. It’s a more realistic take on medieval hack-and-slashing, with no magic or monsters from what we could see. Based on the real Knights Templar who were protectors of the Holy Grail – think the old dude from the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - it follows an adventure across various locales around the Mediterranean. For instance, the first area we saw takes place on the island of Cypress.

Although it’s an action game, it uses the Tropico 3 engine, which is a bit weird but regardless the game looked quite pretty during the few levels we got to see. Vibrant forests, a weather-worn city, and a huge firestorm all came to life with sharp detail. The combat is said to be inspired by Batman: Arkham Asylum, but it was hard to see how that really plays out – there wasn’t any hanging from gargoyles or leaping over enemies. Perhaps the focus is in rhythm and timing. It’s certainly bloody – that’s for sure – although it won’t be overly gory with limbs and entrails flying about.

A big focus of the gameplay is to always provide you with an AI partner, which seems to be all the rage these days. The difference here is that you can switch control to the second character at any time, and both characters earn experience and allow you to level up their various abilities. It also supports drop-in, drop-out co-op, where a friend takes control of your partner AI.

In a kind of Mega Man mechanic, you’ll learn new special attacks by defeating an enemy who uses it. In the game’s semi-open-world, exploring alternate pathways to take on side quests provides opportunities to murder henchmen and acquire their skills. We can’t really say how it plays yet until we get a hands-on opportunity, but it definitely looks good, with screenshots not quite doing it justice. The First Templar will be releasing on PC and Xbox 360 in early 2011.

Oct 21, 2010