The First Templar Impressions - First Look

We take our first look at a very early version of this upcoming medieval-era action adventure game for the PC and the Xbox 360.

It's mid-June in Los Angeles, and there are crowds of people in the Staples Center area, and that can mean only one thing: the Electronic Entertainment Expo is here, with such games as the medieval-era action adventure game The First Templar. This new game will take place at the tail end of the Dark Ages in Europe and will chronicle the rise of the fabled secret society known as the Knights Templar as they continue their search for the legendary Holy Grail while also facing an encroaching threat from the ambitious Spanish Inquisition--a powerful faction whose chief weapon is fear (or...fear and surprise) and that seeks to oppress the peoples of Europe with intimidation, paranoia, and sudden executions on the grounds of heresy.

In the game, you'll play as a noble French knight armed with sword and shield who is a puissant swordsman and a crusader for the cause of right, or so he thinks. The game will actually support cooperative play for two players, either online or on the same console for the Xbox 360 version, and therefore will feature two playable characters in action pretty much the whole time. If you decide to play the game all by your lonesome, your companion will be computer-controlled, and you can change control to the other character at any time, though you can also have a friend drop in or drop out at any time (similar to the co-op play in the later Lego Star Wars games and Resident Evil 5). While our hero starts out the game alongside his mentor, the cynical veteran knight Roland, the two men later rescue an Inquisition captive--a young noblewoman who is handy with a bow and arrow and just as skillful at using short swords and daggers. The lady becomes our hero's primary companion while Roland appears to ride off in the sunset, though publisher Kalypso Media suggests that the embittered veteran may return later in the game in a very different role.

We watched both a promotional trailer for the game and a brief demonstration of live gameplay in an early pre-alpha version. Apparently, the game will draw strongly on recorded history, and with the exception of a few huge, mutant humanoid monsters, your friends and foes will all be human, and no one will have any magic powers. The play session we watched showed the noble knight and his mentor investigate a village of terrified peasants who claim to have seen a monster prowling the nearby wood. We headed out into the forest to see whether there was trouble at the mill, first encountering a handful of angry Inquisitors dressed in the order's trademark red robes. We dispatched them with a series of melee combination attacks that can be performed with a series of button presses (as you'd expect from a third-person melee action game), though different characters will also have special abilities. Roland, for instance, can grapple and subdue an enemy character, leaving him wide open to his companion's attack. In addition, each character has three power icons that gradually fill up as you perform normal attacks. As your characters grow in power over time (using the game's extensive skill tree), you'll learn new attacks that cost one, two, or three power points, such as a knockdown attack that costs a single point and sends most enemies sprawling.

Though our path to our quarry was clearly marked, we followed the sound of barking dogs and cries for help to a side quest, which amounted to a brief battle against an Inquisitor and his trained attack dogs (which were capable of tackling us clean off our feet). After a brief and bloody engagement, we dispatched the cleric and his troublesome hounds to find their captive, a harmless monk who divulged new information about the beast we hunted, as well as their treasure, a small box that, when opened, granted us a new combat ability. We then pressed on to the clearing to see a stony structure built into the side of a foothill in which our beast most likely lived. To draw it out, we first hid in the nearby brush, signaled to another one of our men positioned above the hillside to emerge and grab the big, ugly brute's attention. We then jumped into combat and attacked him from behind. Unfortunately, the game is still in a very early state, so this boss battle didn't look quite as climactic as it probably should, but the game itself has a long way to go before it's complete. The First Templar is scheduled for release early next year.

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Discussion

36 comments
Mr_Charles
Mr_Charles

looks interesting, like the exact opposite of assassin's creed

darklord_dragon
darklord_dragon

dang first assassins creed has the templer bad guys and now this im pretty sure im going to have to see what is better

causeofchaos
causeofchaos

theres no point to post opinion before game release . Remember how many times you said "wow!! this will be epic!! " and after release you rated em abysmal... Anyway i see some interesting elements from this preview. Nothin unique but still.. somethin original

electryk_weasel
electryk_weasel

@ 8symbols nice summary, couldnt have have said it any better myself!

texasjgc
texasjgc

@Samrat_Ashok Yea I agree. Im tired of games that just cause they have a sword and shield, there has to be magic......I'd rather have a realistic game (no magic) instead of the over the top fantasy stuff.

lebeer
lebeer

very disappointed this isn't for playstation 3. this game looks like it has a lot of promise.

Samrat_Ashok
Samrat_Ashok

The hack and slash genre sorely lacks realistic medieval games. Save a few pearls like M&B most others have been too buggy or fantasy based. Looking forward to this one....hope the make it realistic and don't go over the top with the plot.

jasper-ah-
jasper-ah-

hmmm...good historic choose but game doesnt looke realistic ... just look at soldiers acts and fighting, i dont like the same thing happend to this one that happend to alpha protocol but ots looks like it will. in crusade having no side is the best ... just like altair and ezio, this game will be a normal title...7 from 10

chris98092
chris98092

I agree that this game has big potential...but my spidey-sense says it's going to bomb.

Un4givingAsault
Un4givingAsault

@Andyt535, your statement is ridiculous, all the a horrendous conflict. It was war not genocide where both sides were responsible for terrible acts. It's just funny how it easy for developers to show Catholicisms poor light it isn't judged but if you were to show Islam you get yourself blown up lol.

caityful
caityful

@Andyt535, won't be long until that happens. God forbid.

Andyt535
Andyt535

A game based on the Crusades? Its like basing a game on the holocaust..

jaybeeang
jaybeeang

This game is either going to be a big hit or a bad flop. Pray they make it good.

jernas
jernas

This game has a potential to become one of the best in 2011. I hope they don't screw it up.

SmallMafia
SmallMafia

What the hell is this? Nice idea but I cannot see this being any good...

Uhagi
Uhagi

Well put Cybrian, it looks like you know your history. I second the motion.

Cybrian
Cybrian

Hmmm, great historical niche...hope they craft a good game rather than rely on a catchy protagonist (Templars) to sell product. If they pull it off I'll man an oar on a galley to the Holy Land...

aceball69
aceball69

Its something different, possibly what we medieval gamers are seeking... Also hoping for a great game!

P8rt
P8rt

Sword,shield,catapults, and Co-op...count me in.

black_fox514
black_fox514

funny! :P :D now the Assassins and Templar's have their own official representations! :P :D

topcat51
topcat51

Hopefully this will be good I love reading about the middle ages, or before but i'm not quite sure about this one it seems like the combat may be a bit generic. Nice to see for once the Templars arn't getting such a bad rap

killer690
killer690

- Agreed, the Assassins would kick his ass -

aks_kaikini
aks_kaikini

hah ezio / altair would cream this guy

HUSKY186
HUSKY186

this could go either way...hopeing for the best though.

Hailfire704
Hailfire704

Looks like it could be pretty fun, but I think it definitely has the possibility to be a flop.

Amnesiac23
Amnesiac23 moderator

I do hope they are somewhat historically accurate if they are going to go through the trouble of saying they are. I'm working on getting my masters in history, so it's a passion for me and I hate to see facts being stated as facts when they are not. Assassin's Creed mastered mixing facts with fiction and I hope to see it again here.