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Telling the story of a young French templar, the game takes place during the Crusades; more specifically during the period where the Knights Templar are slowly losing clout with the Catholic Church and are on their way to being destroyed. Your templar embarks on his quest to find the Holy Grail, only to end up entangled in a conspiracy that will force him to work alongside a heretic. At this point that's all that's really known about the story, but players can expect to explore several historic areas of Europe in this action-adventure.
The bulk of The First Templar's appeal is going to be for players who love a good hack-n'-slash adventure. Combat is a huge part of the experience, and the game is hoping to grab players with a deep combo system. Players use their character to strike opponents and build up orbs, which they can then use to perform special abilities. In the demo this was used so our hero could do a power strike against an opponent, knocking his shield to the ground and making him vulnerable to the templar's regular attacks.Combo attacks are also a big part of The First Templar. Since the entire game is made to be played cooperatively (meaning that there will always be two playable characters at any time in the game's campaign), the combat is designed so players can attack opponents together. For instance one player (or A.I., if you're playing alone) can grab an enemy from behind, leaving his chest open to attack from the other character. I didn't get to see much more of this in action beyond this, but I'm told there's more to it than what we've seen so far.
The First Templar also has some light RPG elements, including a unique take on a character skill tree. Unlike normal skill trees where you start at the top and work your way down, The First Templar has a "Skill Cross," where each character can put points into four different trees that all start at the center of a cross. The hope is that giving the player this many options will allow for greater customization – especially since players get a Skill Cross for each playable character – but for now it's mostly conceptual since it hasn't been finalized yet.
If this preview seems a little light on details it's because my demo was also really light on details. The First Templar is very, very early at this point. The game is supposed to come out in February, but both visually and technically it feels like a game that's more than a year out. Hopefully it comes together in the next few months, but it seems odd for a game that's less than six months from release to still seem so feature-light in a demonstration. Perhaps my faith is shaken because The First Templar is a different type of game for Haemimont (traditionally a strategy game developer), but I think this game is going to need some divine intervention to make its tentative release date.