King Arthur: Knight’s Tale takes a dark view on the aftermath of the climactic battle between Arthur and his illegitimate son Mordred. You play as Mordred raised from death by the Lady of the Lake and instructed to put the dark magical genie you released back in the bottle – the genie that has turned the once noble King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table into corrupted avatars of evil.
The game is a Kickstarter success story, having raised just under 156 000GBP for Neocore Games, a studio situated in Budapest. The game bills itself as a Dark Fantasy set Role-Playing Tactical Game and the early access version released recently certainly bears that out. The mood and art style are suitably dark and grim with Camelot having fallen into ruin and the surrounds being overrun by monsters and bandits.
The game is billed as a dark fantasy strategic role-playing game, reminiscent of the classic 1980s film Excalibur. That film, while a retelling of the classic Arthurian tale, features a dark tone and production design and this game feels and looks like the unofficial sequel to that film. You play in a world that is dark and foreboding with bandits and monsters threatening every villager you are tasked with helping; with a world blighted by pests both natural and mystical.
The colour palette is suitably sombre, mainly browns and beiges and while it certainly does set the mood, it can become somewhat bland and boring. Being Middle Ages England and Wales, I would expect to see more greens and thriving trees, games like The Last of Us showed that a colourful post-apocalyptic world can be deceptively beautiful. Despite that little annoyance, and it a small one, the art style overall sets the mood and impresses on you that the land is in desperate need for a hero - any hero.
Given that the game is a tactical squad-based game, a distinctive character design is a must and thankfully the designers have ensured that each character is distinctive and easily recognizable from the overhead perspective. Each knight in your squad’s armour is highly stylized, to the point of being completely real world impractical, but easily recognizable immediately. This makes a welcome change from the generally uniform look of the soldiers in XCOM where if you lose concentration for a second you end up picking the wrong soldier to do the wrong thing.
While art design is top notch, sound design needs work as it tends to be a bit generic with sounds shared between characters and phrases often repeated. It’s not a deal breaker but it can be tedious.
Combat is your typical grid-based map whereby you have a certain number of Action Points to move, cast spells or attack and defend. Each character has a different pool and managing that is key to ensuring your team survives. In this version it looks like death is permanent, but that’s because certain Camelot building upgrades are not available so if there is a hero resurrection facility it was not available yet.
Combat itself is not overly complex; the game tends to rely on overwhelming the party with large numbers of enemies who are relatively weak. Because the maps are large you will run into various hordes as you explore and make your way to the final battle area. These enemies are easily dispatched but will wear down your armour and health making that final battle a more challenging affair in your weakened state. This is mitigated by having up to two camp sites dotted along the map as well as shrines with the former allowing you to rest and recover some health or armour for the party while the shrines allow you to heal one of your party. This needs a bit of work in the final version as I would rather have smaller maps with fewer, yet more challenging battles. Now the battles encourage an almost turtle like tactic in that you are encouraged to group your party close together instead of splitting the apart to try and flank enemies.
If this game were simply a combat simulator like Gears Tactics it would get stale quickly and this is a double-edged sword. In XCOM I find myself hating the base building game as it takes too much time and you never really know if what you are doing is going to help you reach the endgame. At the same time going from combat situation to combat situation becomes tedious no matter the variety in objectives and maps. Base management here is simpler, you just choose which buildings you need and have the resources for, and they are built immediately. Same with the upgrades to the buildings.
That simplicity extends to the character levelling. As you complete battles your party acquires XP and that is then used to level up the characters allowing them to “learn” new skills and abilities. The RPG mechanics are simple in that you can choose skills to acquire and equipment to equip. The real innovation comes with the morality chart that you navigate by the responses you are faced with in missions and after. The responses are a simple choice between righteous and “evil” but the chart itself moves you along different paths that allow you to follow a more complex role-playing opportunity.
Grumpy Old Man who still collects toys (THEY. ARE. NOT. DOLLS), PC Gamer lured to the Dark Side of console gaming, comic book reader and fan of all things pop culture.
Please login to post comments.
Humble Bundle is such a beautiful commodity for PC gamers, offering up to 12 games per month for you...
04-03-21 Read more
Have you ever spent a moment revisiting a childhood game only to find yourself scratching your head ...
04-03-21 Read more
Outriders is everything I expected it to be, better than I expected it to be, but also highly unlikely...
03-03-21 Read more
A short while back we were allowed the privilege of playing the upcoming Watch Dogs: Legion online multiplayer...
22-02-21 Read more
Yesterday, the internet got a dose of potentially exciting news: Silent Hill is not dead, and will indeed...
19-02-21 Read more
King Arthur: Knight’s Tale takes a dark view on the aftermath of the climactic battle between Arthur...
13-02-21 Read more
Latest ReviewsBrowse All Reviews