[Review] The First Templar – Ranked First in Mediocre
Available on: PC, Xbox 360; Publisher: Kalypso Media; Developer: Haemimont Games; Players: 1; Released: May 12, 2011; ESRB: Teen ; Official Website
The First Templar is an action RPG based on the search for the Holy Grail. While this theme has been touched upon by film so many times to the point of being a simply boring topic, the topic hasn’t been visited by gaming as much. However, The First Templar is less about the Holy Grail and more about the journey and that is what makes it a fun and compelling adventure. In fact, the game itself gives a feeling more akin to that of Dragon Age. It’s true that the journey will take the player to many different locations, but this game prefers to focus on other elements in its story, namely its combat. Combat in this game can be incredibly fluid and exciting to watch and while there isn’t a terribly large variety of enemies to fight, it’s still a great deal of fun to block, dodge and pummel your foes.
The player plays as Celian who is joined by two others on his adventure: Roland, a fellow templar, and Marie. There are only ever two characters in your party at one time. Players can swap between Roland and Marie, but not Celian. Combat is the main focus of this game, and the flow of it has been developed very well. The player is given a number of offensive and defensive moves and only the correct responses to the enemy’s moves will result in victory. Any more than a few direct hits to Celian’s sternum will usually result in his untimely demise. Blocking and dodging become a major part of your daily routine, but this gives the combat an excellent sense of flow and rhythm. The visuals also keep it interesting as the game is as visceral and fun to watch as the best RPGs out there.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much replay value in The First Templar. There isn’t any noteworthy character customization and the lack of variety in loot will prevent anyone from playing again past the first playthrough. Unlike big name RPGs such as Dragon Age, The First Templar simply lacks choices. This translates to a static experience no matter how many times you play through the game.
The graphics are decent. The visuals are pleasing to look at and while the system requirements aren’t too taxing, they can give any average graphics card a sense of worth. Some character animations during conversation, however, are rather poorly done, awkward, and plain uncomfortable to the eyes. Some characters can’t tell what to do with their hands while talking to you and others have faces that look rather stiff and artificial.
The First Templar still has several problems after that, however, as collision detection is sometimes an issue that appears every so often during your journey. Sometimes during my playthrough I’d get stuck on an oddly placed log or monsters attacking me would suddenly and inexplicably gain several feet of attack range. Luckily, this can be somewhat overlooked as it only occasionally happens and can be forgiven for the most part.
There is an option to play online or with local co-op so one can share the experience with a friend. But is it worth it for the two of you? Perhaps. The First Templar is the type of game that requires a certain mindset to forgive its flaws and somewhat repetitive nature, but if all that can be overlooked, it can be a worthwhile 11 hours of gameplay.