King Arthur: Knight’s Tale Preview
King Arthur: Knight’s Tale developers began an ambitious Kickstarter campaign that reached $40,000 more than its goal in late 2020. Little did they know just around the corner was a huge event that would change the world. Putting that aside, it has launched into early access available on Steam right now with the full release of version 1.0 planned for the 29th of March.
I wouldn’t call myself a turn-based strategy game enthusiast. I only just really started playing games with grid-based tactics late last year with Disgaea 1 and boy is that a fun time. The story in King Arthur: Knight’s Tale (hereinafter referred to as Knight’s Tale) is what really intrigued me. As a RuneScape player and lover of Monty Python I always wanted more games that covered this mythology. Mixing my newfound interest for turn-based strategy and old flame for the King Arthur story I was ready to begin.
After starting the game, I was greeted with a breathtaking intro cinematic explaining the events that had unfolded before the player gets to control the anti-hero, Sir Mordred. The style reminded me of the amazing Dark Souls intro sequences and this got me enraptured into the game world instantly. Large mystical beasts and battles were shown and if any of these creatures are going to be enemies I was excited to battle them.
It places you into the mystical realm of Avalon where legends are true and monsters are all too real. A great battle has just taken place between King Arthur and his nemesis Sir Mordred who have both fallen. Something has resurrected you and many others defeated in this battle and King Arthur is nowhere to be found. As Sir Mordred do you rule justly or cruelty in your new position as leader of the round table at Camelot?
Starting out with only Sir Mordred you awaken in a prison that acts as the game’s tutorial. Walk around like any other top-down RPG with right-click but when engaged in battle you are greeted with the turn-based grid combat. I slice down the guard with ease and backstab the next ones as it deals extra damage for good measure. Moving towards the exit I am called by one of the fallen round table members who cannot believe I am alive. I too am surprised that he lives since we both fell in battle. We make a deal in multiple-choice dialogue fashion and he joins my party to help me escape and become ruler of Camelot.
This is fully voice acted too. The entire game is full of voice lines completely voice acted. The only one who says nothing is Sir Mordred. This amazed me because usually the main characters are the only ones who get voice acting and the rest are just text dialogues. That has not happened yet even during side missions. An awesome impression so far in the audio department.
Nothing short of quite amazing is the blend of CRPGs and turn-based tactics. Exploring the towns, ruins and forests with your party, being ambushed and having your formation and location matter is quite a surprise. The CRPG moments can feel a little bland at times. However, you are consistently rewarded for going off the beaten path and exploring the beautiful and unique environments each mission has to offer.
Keeping your Kights in good shape is integral to surviving the missions in Avalon. Resting your heroes in the Hospice or buying and trading goods at the Marketplace is key. This is all made possible by upgrading and repairing parts of Camelot. After missions and during events you gain gold and repair parts that are required to fix these facilities. Decrees can be made at the round table which also cost resources and gives temporary or permanent buffs to your roster of Knights. The whole meta-mission system of looking after the kingdom is not too overwhelming that it distracts you from working on missions and levelling up your Knights.
Speaking of which levelling up Knights unlocks a skill tree system. This skill tree system allows you to spend points on upgrades in a typical RPG style. Increase the effects of certain abilities or learn new ones. Your Knights also respond to your moral and religious choices during events and missions. Loyal Knights will be much more effective on the battlefield than disloyal ones. Keep your favourite Knights happy by choosing actions that reflect their beliefs. These choices also influence the Morality Compass which can give you buffs, heroes and resources once you make enough choices in a certain area.
The current build is unfinished but there is so much to explore that I am excited to work through. Saving during missions was only just added in a hotfix after I had played the game for a few hours and lost a missions worth of progress. As long as you are out of battle in a normal mode you can save which is a wonderful addition. I’d say the early access period for this game has done good things and the developers are looking to release a seriously good experience in March so I would keep my ear to the ground on this one.
GameHub NZ was provided with a digital copy of the game for review and preview purposes.