Everything about the game screams "AVERAGE" but some elements can't even master those lofty heights

User Rating: 6 | The First Templar X360
Well… it's not a Skyrim beater that's for sure.

Everything about the game is average, the voice acting, the animations, the graphics, plot… average.

Yet there are areas where even hitting those heady heights is a struggle.

There are things that really wind me up in games, escort missions are heinous, being forced to use stealth when the gameplay system isn't up to it… and here, trotting off to explore to be told "You don't need to go there yet."

Maybe not… but I want to… I want to explore… I want to see everything around here before I move onto the very obvious next location.

Consequentially you're forced into doing things in a certain order.

In the same level I'm exploring a location, a collectibles guide tells me there is a chest behind the small house I'm now looking at, I go round the back and see just a small woodpile and a barrel… the chest only appears when I examine the dead body in front of the house first, if I go round the back after I do that… hey presto… one chest and a smaller wood pile.

This continues on the next level where a chest only appears after examining a clue, the clue leads you to a chest that's in the same room but was "invisible" without the clue… that's not average… that's flat out poor.

The same guide tells me, a couple of levels later, that there are 3 piles of supplies to burn for a bonus objective… I burn the first pile and then head towards the second pile… only the door is blocked by a crate… now I'm carrying a burning torch, I can set fire to things with it as I've just burnt a missile launcher type contraption… but these chests are fireproof.

Never mind, it's only a small crate, I've jumped over things bigger than that to get here… oh hang on… you can only jump when the game wants you to… not average… just poor.

Next up the stealth… I'm working my way round a Marauder camp, taking out patrols in pairs to gradually reduce the number of soldiers in the area before launching an assault… now 2 guards are on a lookout tower, it's high up and there is a shadow in front of it you could, in theory, hide in.

So logically because they're looking from a higher position they should have a blind spot right below them you can exploit… nope, this alerts the guards… but walking past them near the brightly lit coastline, when logic says you're now more likely to be spotted, is perfectly fine… no chance of them spotting you there… maybe they're all short sighted.

The game is made up of 20 levels which is maybe 4 too many, the second half of the game in particular is filled with levels that really don't need to be there, the small desert town for example looks like it's been added purely for padding, as is the aforementioned Marauder camp you have to work your way through.

On the plus side there are a couple of purely puzzle based levels, where you have to tread carefully and switch between two characters to pull levers, light pathways, disarm traps and the likes… the only problem here is that, following the cut scene with the door opening or the bridge being lowered, the camera moves around to the point it's possible to head back where you've come from as the camera is now in the opposite position it was before.

To really add to the whole "Average" feel is a bugged Achievement… there are 42 hidden "Templar Chronicles" to be found, after my first run through I'd found 41 and missed 1, I'd also missed an item of collectible clothing so I had to replay at least one level to find that… whilst I was there I examined a book stand out of habit, one a Chronicle had been on before, and the Achievement clicked… yes I'd collected 42 Chronicles but not 42 different Chronicles… AVERAGE!

There is enjoyment to be had here, co-op play may add something to the game as the AI can be suspect, rather than killing enemies my partner seemed intent on just holding them for me to kill them rather than take them out himself… and the game would be a challenge on a high difficulty run through… except there's nothing to want you to go back once you've completed the game once.

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