In between running the FGM and playing Combat Mission I do try out a lot of games and the one I have been playing a bit of recently is Black Guards. Black Guards is a role-playing game where you take the role of a character who is in a relationship with the daughter of a noble Lord and you find yourself accused of said fair maidens murder. Pretty staple fantasy fair to be honest and certainly nothing new to be found in the storyline.
The game is basically a tactical combat game. You click through the dialogue and follow the story before a burning blue torch on a map tells you where your next mission is. Clicking on this takes you to a hexed out battlefield where you and your band of merry followers have to fight whatever is on said hex grid.
This combat section is the bones of the game as the story is just a conveyor belt taking you to each battle. There is no exploration available and it is a game that is certainly set on rails. You don’t have much say on the progression of the story so at times I even found myself clicking through the character interactions because at the end of the day no matter which topic I decided to speak about I would still find myself inexplicably dragged towards the next battle.
The combat system was initially fun but very soon becomes tiresome and repetitive and considering this is ‘basically’ the game then there is not a lot of hope left for it. Some of the combat levels did have me scratching my head as the enemy are constantly being re-spawned and with each new wave my characters power goes down making the battle increasingly difficult as it progresses. Some levels have additional objectives such as ‘defeat this man in 5 turns’ or fail. Numerous restarts are called for but you do eventually make it but this just adds to the tediousness of the whole package as you are pushed towards the next increasingly difficult battle.
And that brings me to the characters levelling up. The traits screen in Blackguards is nothing short of a complete mess being spread out over 5 pages. With each battle you gain XP and this can be spent on making spells more powerful, your vitality better or your swordsmanship exquisite. Knowing what to choose is nothing short of pinning the tail on the donkey and hoping it stands your character in good stead during the game.
Another thing that annoys me is the in game currency. Instead of having just gold (gained after each battle) to spend in merchants the designers of this game have decided to build a currency system of gold, silver and bronze coins. I have no idea why they have done this as it adds absolutely nothing to the game and is only a nuisance.
I played a good few hours of Black Guards but eventually it was uninstalled as I found myself just not enjoying it. It is repetitive, unimaginative and at times has severe spikes in difficulty.