Knights of the Temple
“Isn’t it time for some good old medieval action?” they thought a while ago at Starbreeze Studios. They brainstormed for hours, weeks, even months and came up with a concept that’s so out of date that you’re wondering if the brains were on holiday during the brainstorming sessions. That was my initial thought when I deflowered Knights of the Temple with my Xbox. Will this thought hold out or will it have to clear the way for a more positive view?
The opening movie, rather average artworks that introduce the story, don’t give me a satisfying feeling. They remind me of a mediocre knights game on the Philips CD-I, the forerunner of the DVD player but with awful graphics and nothing but budget titles. I think it’s clear that this isn’t a good sign. Luckily the whole introduction only lasted a couple of minutes and I was immediately thrown into the action. Because I wasn’t aware of the controls, I started bashing on my controller, and with success. My enemies had to pay the piper quite fast and I noticed something: due to the short introduction and the immediate action I wasn’t aware of the storyline. Slowly it became more clear that I was a knight (duh) that had to stop an evil bishop. This holy madman had plans to take over the world and -for a sensitive touch- kidnap the beautiful Adelle.
I’m afraid to say it but isn’t this story too cliché for words? People who attach a lot of importance to the storyline can drop out already. Since it’s my duty to give you a good review I have to persevere till the bitter end though. Something tells me this is going to be a long bumpy ride. I’ll have to stop nagging and get on with it.
As a first class butcher I slaughter every enemy that crosses my path. They keep on coming and my lifemeter is running out. Thankfully the developers took this into account and placed health potions on nearly every corner making it rather difficult to see a game over-screen. As this has never been the main goal of a game I plan to keep on bashing ’till it’s over.
The constant hacking and slashing made me overlook the fact that at one point I was killing the bad guys with an axe instead of my beloved sword. That’s exactly how it works in Knights of the Temple. You won’t have to buy weapons and upgrade them, just keep on playing and you’ll find new axes, swords and bows as you progress. The same can be done for keys and new moves. Sooner or later you’ll find yourself banging against a door. A long search for a key isn’t necessary, just keep on killing and you’ll be granted with a key before you can say: aluminium. The same goes for combo’s, where it’s just a matter of patience. After defeating opponent X you’ll be granted with a new combo. People who hate these complex menu’s for updating your character can take a breath of relief.
To stop your brain cells from dying you’ll be served with a puzzle now and then. I don’t know the actual definition of a puzzle but I think that one necessity is that you have to think before you can solve it. So please, I beg you, do take a minute to solve it, because otherwise there won’t even be any diversity. And if there’s one thing this game lacks, it’s diversity my friends. I admit that it can be satisfying to put your brains on non-active and your thumb on hyper-active, but a little more depth doesn’t harm you. I even believe that if this game lasted a bit longer than seven hours I would be in an early stage of dementia.
Just when I thought I had seen it all I remembered the annoying camera. It’s been a game disease for ages but the last couple of years it looked like they found a cure. A lot of games give you the opportunity to control the camera yourself. Well, in Knights of the Temple you can’t. The camera is really stubborn and will often present the action from behind a wall, making it unclear whether you’re hitting thin air or nothing but concrete.
Enough of destructive criticism, let’s take a look at the graphics designer and see if he did a proper job. And yes, he did it quite well. I’ve seen uglier graphics than this. Take the cutscenes for instance. They make use of the ingame engine but one way or another they managed to make them look uglier than the actual ingame footage. How they managed to achieve this ugly effect isn’t really clear to me, but they did it. On the other hand they present you some fine fighting animations that – with the addition of a lot of bloodspilling – give a really aggressive edge to it. The only drawback is the small amount of animations which give it a repetitive feel.
The sound will also leave you with a double feeling. The sound effects of the slashing swords are really convincing but the voices of the characters are another story. Paul for instance talks with such haughty English accent that he can win the trophy of “assknight of the year” without a doubt. Aside from his girly voice Paul also suffers of Alzheimer’s disease. When he finds a key he can’t remember the purpose of this little thing. The closed door he stumbled on earlier on has already left his memory leaving him confused. To make it clear he then says: “hmm, what’s this?”. My inner voice immediately response is a bit like: “A key, you big, *self censorship*”. Frustrating is an understatement here.
Ah yes, that really felt good. I admit that I sometimes exaggerated a bit in my commentary but don’t forget that it has a purpose. I don’t want you to spend your money on this. If you’re really curious, just visit the local video shop and rent the damn thing. But please, don’t throw your money away. It’s just not worth it.