The First Templar Updated Impressions

We take a peek at an early level from this action RPG based on the society of knights.

If you’ve read our previous coverage on The First Templar, then you might already know that it’s a third-person action role-playing game that focuses on the Knights Templar, or more specifically, one Templar and his quest to retrieve the Holy Grail. But during that quest, the game’s storyline will begin to raise moral questions: Are men better off immortal or mortal? Did the Holy Grail come from the devil to trick men?

In our new look at the game, we saw a pair of knights walking through the countryside of Cyprus--once the headquarters of the Knights Templar and the very area our knights need to venture through to seek the Grand Master. It’s at this point that we’re reminded of the game’s cooperative play, which features drop-in and drop-out multiplayer as well as split-screen. For the purposes of the demo, we saw only the single-player, but even in this mode you can switch between the two characters at any given time whether you’re fighting or just walking around.

Since Cyprus is meant to act as a tutorial area, we got a glimpse of combat in its most basic form--a series of training sessions with another knight who instructs you how to perform various attacks. There’s a basic attack that, when timed correctly, multiplies in damage with each successful, consecutive hit. We also learned about a feature called "zeal" that you accumulate when fighting. When zeal has reached a maximum level, it fills an orb near the bottom of the screen. This means that you can then launch a special attack that inflicts special kinds of damage, such as knocking a shield from an enemy knight’s hand. Of course, you also have to learn blocking skills, which become quite invaluable later in the game as foes become much tougher and more aggressive.

We traveled a bit more through Cyprus, reaching the Grand Master, before we jumped to a different area. There are around 20 environments in The First Templar, some of which are quite different from others. In fact, members of the development team told us that some environments function as dungeons with traps that you have to dismantle. Some levels will have puzzle elements, while others will focus strictly on combat, which is the case for the dense forest level we were looking at during the end of the demo. This area had different enemy types (including dogs that your partner can knock off of you if they happen to take you down) as well as a large boss-like character. This is where both players (regardless of whether or not they’re both being controlled by people) have to work together. Thankfully, it appears that an AI-controlled partner is fairly good at holding his own, but it wasn't long before he lost all of his energy and we saw the other knight run to his side to revive him. After a few more minutes of intense fighting, the battle ended with a slow-motion flourish, and the nasty brute was defeated with a sword to the gut.

It’s worth mentioning that while much of what we saw in the demo follows much of the main storyline, there will also be plenty of side quests for players to consider. Some of these may involve taking a map and attempting to locate some sort of treasure, while another might just involve helping someone who is asking for help. We’re eager to see how these missions tie in to everything and to get a better glimpse of multiplayer co-op and the impressive-looking skill tree that grants special powers and skills (both active and passive) to your knight. The First Templar is scheduled for release on the PC and Xbox 360 early next year.

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Discussion

16 comments
setterstrom
setterstrom

maybe for once they'll finally make a medieval RPG without all this magic and fairys and all that other crap.

idontlivehere11
idontlivehere11

Looks interesting, but can't quite form a definitive opinion (at least for myself) yet. Gamespot seems to have a policy of ALWAYS being positive about previews (or maybe the staff is just that optimistic ?), so I can't really take their positive points seriously. No offense, guys.

Adam_the_Nerd
Adam_the_Nerd

The premise sounds really interesting. Loosely-based historical games are always a lot of fun. Like Assassin's Creed, or Age of Empires.

dutchgamer83
dutchgamer83

@ Duke_Dude: How are you even getting in your head to compare a third person rpg with a fast paced first person shooter like MW2 and Bad company 2? Beside what makes MW2 so hardcore? Cause with hardcore i think of a hard game to play and high realism. SWAT 4 and Rainbow 6 (not the vegas ones but the older ones that depended more on planning) those are hardcore shooters...but they are shooters not rpg's. So my friend, i sugest you stop comparing genres with each other. And slower doesn't mean its less "hardcore". Cause i dare to bet that many rpg's are more "hardcore" than your MW2 ever will be.

Taffelost
Taffelost

I'm hoping for a more realistic approach than the 'let's kill those 100 baddies ovar thar' gameplay. Thief would be a good template in that regard. An RPG where you don't get God-like powers sounds pretty sweet to me though.

bodylotion
bodylotion

This looks a lot like the game: Knights Of The Temple.

organbank
organbank

@Duke Dude: lmao, MW2 a "hardcore" game, that is a good one.

Barighm
Barighm

Every single game of this type released this generation, as in non-AAA games, have sucked so far. Hopefully this game will be the exception, or at the very least a good RPG with decent graphics. And geez, Gamespot proofread your articles!

Duke_Dude
Duke_Dude

I like the sound of this game, it looks like a nice easy going game to play in between the more hardcore games like MW2, BFBC2...

scorpgul
scorpgul

More like Assassin's Creed:The First Templar LOL

Olsenz
Olsenz

interesting.....

ISuPrEmAcY32I
ISuPrEmAcY32I

awesome. I am a console gamer because i've never owned a pc that can play newer games. And i'm also an rpg gamer. There are quite a few decent sounding rpgs coming out in the next year to year and a half that have me very excited. finally the only handful of decent rpgs will be at an end. hopefully templar will be a solid entry. they didn't really talk about any features of the game, but even if it is merely an average entry into the genre as long as it provides more of what i love about rpgs, i'm stoked.

smzee27
smzee27

Where are the assassins?