The First Templar Hands-On Globetrotting

We take a pair of noble Templars across the countryside to right wrongs and search for the Holy Grail.

Life was rough in 13th-century Europe. With all of the plagues, famine, and complete lack of the Internet, it's no wonder folks took to warfare so often. The First Templar, a third-person action game with a strong cooperative online multiplayer component, is set in these dark times. To help bring a bit of light, we took control of a pair of Templars traveling the countryside righting wrongs and searching for the Holy Grail. While the story plays fast and loose with plot points, these are simple trappings for you and a friend to grab a couple of broadswords and smash some unlucky rogues upside the head.

You can swap between the two characters in single-player with the Tab key.

In the opening act, our duo set out across the countryside slaughtering groups of renegade "butchers" wholesale--pausing only to aid someone in need or chow down on his or her discarded food. Combat was a simple affair, where we bludgeoned enemies to death with the basic attack as our tactic of choice. As we collected experience points, however, we were able to build a little complexity into this system by learning advanced two-button combos, counterattacks, and additional ways to build up zeal--the currency needed to perform these special moves. All of these abilities are unlocked via a large skill tree, which splits off in four directions. And you won't know what lies ahead in any one branch until you start dropping points into it.

Next, our journey took us into a dense forest where we found ourselves hounded by an adorable pack of killer attack dogs. Some locals put us on the trail of The Beast, the source of evil in these woods, which we tracked and confronted as our first boss encounter. Unlike the enemies thus far, this hulking giant required a bit more teamwork--especially when it cut down one of our team members. Once downed, we had a limited amount of time to revive our comrade, at the cost of one point of zeal, or it was game over. In the end, not even The Beast's army of cuddly canine killers could save it, and we continued onward.

We arrived next at an abbey operated by the church and its infamous Inquisition where we discovered a plot to undermine the Templar order. Aghast at this treachery, we snuck into the abbey's underground dungeon and used some simple stealth mechanics to take out our silent frustrations on a few guards. Our next order of business was to free the prisoners, including the skillful and deadly Marie, before making our escape to the city of Acre.

With no rest for the wicked, Acre was under siege upon our arrival. Marie's addition to the party gave us our first taste of ranged combat in the form of some handy throwing daggers. Alternating between the two attack buttons, we were able to work this new skill into a handy combo of knocking enemies back and peppering them with sharp objects from afar. At this point, we also had enough experience to start learning special abilities for our heroes, such as our Templar's ability to pray and regain a little health at the expense of zeal.

Get this absolutely adorable killing machine off of me.

As we fought our way through the city, we managed to retake control of the trebuchets on the city walls. With these deadly siege weapons, we got to play a simple point-and-click minigame of blowing away enemy forces as they marched their way up to our walls. Our quest ended with Acre secure, but it was just a taste of what lay ahead. And while The First Templar's basic mechanics currently seem to be pretty basic so far, we're still interested in seeing how they work in cooperative multiplayer. Be on the lookout for The First Templar on PC and Xbox 360 early this year.

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Discussion

63 comments
1valiantknight
1valiantknight

me and my g/f are really looking forward to this

Krinnium
Krinnium

also i wonder if this game will cover the inevitable arrest and murder of most of the templar order. nothin like a quest that you know will end in complete dissolution of what you stood for x] nd sorry for all the double posting and such nonsense

Krinnium
Krinnium

im just sick of games where swords are like nerf bats. we need more RPGs that have a hint of realism, in my opinion. a game where they get rid of all the flashy moves and create a skill based sword game. one in which you can use sword and shield as a weapon, and both are deadly. im tired of wailing on stuff with a "sword" and having to beat it into submission. i also think its more fun if you are just as vulnerable to said attacks... watching myself get hammered with a sword only to stand back up and walk it off is kinda getting old. not to rant or anything, but im just really hoping for a realistic sword-play game that has RPG elements, and maybe some light strategy? perhaps a non broken Mount and Blade? idk it just seems that dev teams have made a realistic game in almost every other genre but that. perhaps a game like that is out there and i missed it? or maybe Darks Souls will deliver the way Demons souls did?

cdog5386
cdog5386

The aspect of religious stories in games can be very interesting, but it can also be done quite horribly. The writers and developers need to keep a keen eye on the actual history of this awful period in human history. I hope one can play as characters from all three Abrahamic faiths. A Christian and Muslim warrior, or maybe even a Jewish mystic or something. You cannot leave out the Jewish in a tale like this. Let us hope this game is great!

Solamon
Solamon

I don't know about this one. I really want to play it because I always love discovering great new IPs but I've read a lot of criticism about the preview copy so far.

smp13
smp13

This doesnt sound like it has elements to classify it is as a full RPG, nor does it seem like it has the combat depth to make a decent action/adventure title. Me... I will wait for reviews/player opinion.

mhslax
mhslax

its gonna be hard playing as a templar after killing so many as ezio...

samuraisami
samuraisami

Interested about this game. There arent many medieval rpg:s out there that dont have somekind of magic/fantasy setting in them. Altough waiting how the gameplay turns out.

kyphe
kyphe

Incorrect, when Acre fell and negotiations between King Richard the lion heart and Saladin failed, Richard ordered all Muslim prisoners of war to be killed, no one even at the time was really sure why he gave that order but religious zeal was never considered to be a motive, in retaliation Saladin then had all christian prisoners killed. The Templar Knights had no influence over the decision of King Richard, indeed their grand master had been killed during the siege and it is believed Richard used his influence to have a new grand master of his choosing installed who had only been a Templar for a year. I believe when you talk of a great massacre you are talking about the talking of Jerusalem in 1099 where many civilians were killed indiscriminately regardless of faith for several days following the victory, few Christians died in that massacre for the simple reason most of them had been forced out of the city before it fell, this was an act of barbarism, and is often seen where troops run out of control following a victory, yet the Templar had not been formed at that time so your accusations against them are without basis.

Arab-man666
Arab-man666

Templars? Blakh. I hate me some Templars. On a serious note, when Acre was captured, everyone in the city was murdered. I understand making games set around historical events, but this (from a historical point of view) is a lot like making a game from the Nazi perspective about the Holocaust. It's not a good Idea. It's going to give some folks the false conception that Templars were heros- when in reality, they were religious extremists that are a kin to the modern day Taliban (They broke their religious codes with violent acts, but believed they were God's chosen)

kyphe
kyphe

Ah don't worry about it mate, the roman and Persian empires had been fighting it out for hundreds of years before the adoption of Christianity in Rome as a state religion, and long before Muslims came from out of the Arab peninsula. I'm pretty sure that even if they all had converted from paganism to exactly the same Abraham faith they would still have found an excuse to fight for control of land wealth and power.

darkassassin911
darkassassin911

This is why I don't want a religious discussion. Going against my own "holy" book. My "holy" book says that I need to worship Allah, and yours says that you need to worship God, we are all worshipping one God or Allah, we are just doing it different ways. You ever heard of the story of two blind men trying to describe the features of an elephant simply by touch, one touched the elephant's leg, he said it was like a tree, the other touched the elephant's trunk, he said that it was rounded. Even though they described the elephants differently, they still described the elephant. This may be a very rough description but you know what I mean. I don't even know why I'm replying to this

assasinaaron
assasinaaron

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

darkassassin911
darkassassin911

Yea your probably right, anyway I don't want to turn this into a religious debate Anyway, I just wanted to point out 1 thing, that I never said that a Muslim is also a Christian, I said that you cannot be a muslim if you don't accept the Christians, I mean this in a sense that we are all a part of the abrahamic religions. I know this because I am a muslim myself

kyphe
kyphe

@darkassassin911, firstly you are misrepresenting the truth when you say all Muslims are Christians, that is simply not so, it is more accurate to say Muslims believe Jesus to also be a Muslim, the messiah-(redeemer) of the children of Israel and a prophet of God. However Christians believe Jesus is the son of God a manifestation of God on earth, whilst in Islam that idea is a blasphemy, and as such is a totally irreconcilable division between the two faiths. So you see you absolutely cannot be a Muslim and a christian at the same time, it is a utter theological impossibility. Secondly, no one has called the conquest of the middle east evil, indeed many historians credit Islamic states at the time in question to be more socially advanced and more respectful of human rights than the equivalent Christian states. I suppose what was contested is the right of the Christians to mount the crusades in the first place, as the person I responded to indicated that the Muslims at the time of the crusades were innocently going about their daily lives being no threat to their christian neighbors, which is far from the truth, the reconquest of Jerusalem was in fact a secondary objective, kind of a side story that went on to take precedence in the minds of the public at the time, and from then to now, the main objective was the defense of christian Anatolia, which is now a Muslim nation called The republic of Turkey, clearly an indication that the main crusader objective was ultimately a failure, although they did hold onto what were called crusader states for quite some time.

kadiablo
kadiablo

Before I play this, I would get a real crossbow, shoot it to the sky and try to catch the arrow with my head

DKant
DKant

Looks nice, but for god's sake please allow full-screen pop-ups for the screenshots? I had to zoom in x100 to see what the "adorable killing machine" referenced in the embedded screenshot was! And I'm reading the site at a comfy 1680x1050 resolution on a 22-inch screen. Is there a feature request section on the site somewhere?....

PiFaceCanFlick
PiFaceCanFlick

So know you are a Templar hunting for Assassin? Aww, it's not an Open-World, Parkour game....

darkassassin911
darkassassin911

@Rufus_the_rat No offence, but wow you are so dumb. First of all, the muslims wanted to expand to land that was meaningful to them, such as Jerusalem. Areas like North Africa were expanded to try to spread the word of their religion. Muslims regarded Christians as their brothers, they wanted to live peacefully with the Christians, in Islam, if you do not believe in Christianity, you are not a true Muslim. It was the Christians that first attacked Jerusalem because they felt that Islam was a new threat to their domincance thus starting the Crusades. In 614, the Sassanid Persians sieged Byzantine Jerusalem with the help of the Jews. After that, in 644, the Arabs take control of the Sassanid Empire, thereby annexing Jerusalem into the Arab Empire. The Arabs never tried to destroy Christianity. Sure they conquered Spain and Sicily, but instead of looking at that as a evil act, why don't you acknowledge that its an incredible feat. You people consider the British Empire as an incredible feat, they had vast territorries but they didnt try to wipe out all the religions in their territory. Only the Turks actually tried to annex all of Europe. Anyway, I'm SORRY for posting religious stuff here but I had to IM SORRY

darkassassin911
darkassassin911

@Hm1911 Yea, I agree with you, I like the setting, that's why I liked Assassins Creed so much. As long as it doesn't take the game to a religious ;evel, I'm fine with it

Master_cheat001
Master_cheat001

@Hm1911 You and I have the same taste. I don't like Christian much, but I love the way the Templars protected their faith.

Hm1911
Hm1911

I like such games, I mean the setting, you know...templars, saracens, third crusade...etc

ricardo-sene
ricardo-sene

@sircyrus, @Rufus_the_rat, @LEXIP- It's good to know that there's still ppl out there that defends the true historic facts of this matter so injured and misunderstood in these days. It's true that is a mistake try to reconstitute the history of the TEMPLAR without considering the behaviors and standanrds of the time. But with the main audience and media in general having a so wrong vision about the Templar, it's tough to believe a producer would consider these facts without thinking about the reception the game would have.

Capt_BALI
Capt_BALI

Hey look a TEMPLAR !!,,,, lets stealth assassinate him .... LOL

LEXIP-
LEXIP-

Generally speaking, I just think that video game designers and producers should be careful about what they describe in their games when they reconstitute a historic environment (I'm not only talking about this game). Some (young) people tend to believe what they see (movies) or what they play, and maybe not too much what they’re taught at school ;-) There will always be endless arguments about history, and that’s ok, but everyone has a (even the slightest) responsibility towards it. On the other hand it would be silly not to play with historic environments….

AgentPix
AgentPix

I don't know If I'll be able to play this and not think of Assassin's Creed at some point. xD

dragoonslayer19
dragoonslayer19

I have to ask, what kinds of swords axes, etc are you going to be able to use??? I hope the makers of the game is going to give you a wide variety to choose from, using the same broad sword over and over can get a little old, options are always a good idea.

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

while reading other users comments below, i noticed that people are getting a bit hot under the collar over religion! it was hundreds of years ago, why disagree over this? this is what religious debates do, it creates a hatred between each other's way of life... i just want 2 say that this is just a computer game and it has not much basis on fact nor in the real world. No need for heated debate over what the templar's were... Just try and enjoy the games? Peace amongst gamers... lol

GabrielOnuris
GabrielOnuris

It's being cool to read some historical comments by the users in this page about the Templars lore. It shows how didactic a game can be to players. About the game, I think it's still early to build an opinion; I thought this game would introduce a world free of fantasy, and full of true facts. The second pic with the giant boss made me think the other way round, as @Rufus_the_rat said.

ziadpayne
ziadpayne

This does not look promissing.

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

i would like 2 play this on the xbox but i'm not so sure about it on the pc, seems like it could be a good game to me as i think all true-ish history based games are right up my street...

Igrat
Igrat

You can see the quality of the game by looking at how the archer uses his crossbow as a club to bash someone's head in instead of just shooting the guy from a distance. Bravo Kalypso for bringing in a game that looks mediocre at best into our lives.

kyphe
kyphe

@JangoF-76 you are not correct on some of your points, the first crusade was instigated at the request of the Byzantine Christians who were facing the expansionist attention of the Turkish Seljuq dynasty which began empire building in 1037. However the empire began to fall apart just before the first crusade, after the death of Malikshāh the 1st in 1092 causing inheritance squabbles, an event which probably made the recapture of the conquered lands possible. As for the the Islamic invasion of the middle east, it began around 613 Jerusalem was lost in 614 and the entire middle east was lost by 638, though you are correct in that the Templar like the Hospitaller were formed to protect pilgrims, the order was founded by two knights who took part in the first crusade Hugues de Payens and Godfrey de Saint-Omer, it ended up being one of the most powerful military organizations on the planet.

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

@Rufus_the_rat There was no 'Islamic expansion' - what you're probably referring to is Muslims retaking their own territory in the so-called Holy Land after the Europeans had invaded it during the crusades. As far as we know at the time of the Templars Islam had no designs on Europe, and was concerned mainly with routing the occupying European forces and reclaiming their own land. Implying that the Templars were the only thing standing between Europe and some kind of Islamic invasion is completely erroneous. The Knights Templar were founded in order to protect people making pilgrimages to the Holy Land from bandits. But yeah, this game looks a bit crap.

MagicTestacle
MagicTestacle

Graphics look really outdated... And it sounds really "basic", a word often written in this article. I think the author is trying to relay a message... :)

lindallison
lindallison

"And while The First Templar's basic mechanics currently seem to be pretty basic so far..."

Rufus_the_rat
Rufus_the_rat

@ heidious_heid, as Sircyrus explained, the Templars were not any more imperialistic than any other group of soldiers of their day or any other. Don't believe the puke you saw in Kingdom of Heaven. The Templars ended up becoming the first organized professional army since the fall of the Roman Empire but it happened as much by chance as design. Without them providing the first line of defense against Islamic expansion for over 200 years, there's a possibility that most of Europe would be Muslim today. There's a lot of silly falsehoods and myths out there regarding the Templars, most having their origins in the false witchcraft accusations made up by the traitorous King of France so he could have an excuse to have their Order destroyed. Since then countless fiction authors have tried to turn them into some sort of conspiratorial illuminati organization which is all a bunch of silly bunk. In terms of the game, I hope it doesn't go down that road of supernatural fantasy but the giant troll in one of the pictures and mention of the Holy Grail does not leave me with a lot of hope. Anything would be better than the absurdity that is Assassin's Creed though.

sircyrus
sircyrus

@dalebridger That was the eventual outcome, but originally the Templars were created through the Catholic Church as basically an order of warrior-monks. Their job was to patrol the roads around the Holy Land to keep the roads safe for people on pilgrimages. When the Crusades kicked into full gear, the Templars expanded their duties to not just protecting the roads, but to now fight for control of the region. Why they became bankers was as one of their rites of initiation, new members had to give up their possessions and wealth to the Templars. That was used to maintain Templar holdings, horses, to forge armor, weapons, etc. This resulted in the Templars having more money than they needed, so they started lending it out. That lending led to them becoming wealthier than all of Europe's kings combined. This concerned the Catholic church, along with rumours of what went on behind the Templar's secretive stone walls. The king of France of the time was heavily in debt to the Templars, and he put together a scheme with the Catholic church where the Templars would be toppled, his debts would be forgiven, and the Catholic church would take ownership of the Templar wealth. That was a big source the Catholic church's wealth throughout the centuries (not to imply Church taxes, tithes, and land ownership had no effect on their coffers). As for the game, I'll wait for a PC demo. I'm afraid it may have been developed mainly for the 360, as commonly happens with multiplatform titles.

dalebridger
dalebridger

I thought the Templars were the first Bankers and they were whiped out by the Catholic Church because they were becoming to rich and powerful, powerful enough to challenge the pope. And talking of vicious, the Spanish inquisition jumps to mind, no one survives the Spanish inquisition

heidious_heid
heidious_heid

Weren't the Templars vicious imperialists? Also, why is the game called "The First Templar" (as singualr) when you can play two-player?

Corenz
Corenz

if the fighting is better than just another button masher i'll prolly pick it up

Cybrian
Cybrian

I'm intrigued by this game and its potential, but my zeal is tempered by the consideration that so much can go verily FUBAR in its realization. Throw in a storyline that proves overly cliche and banal, and it becomes yet another Quest for the Holy Gruel.

Masenkoe
Masenkoe

Interesting idea but the screenshots don't look great on technical side...