previewed on PC
From card game to PC game
If you're a fan of tabletop gaming, you have probably already heard of Mage Knight. If not, here's a 'fast and furious' introduction; Mage Knight is essentially a 'card game' (like Magic the Gathering) in which the cards have been replaced with miniature figures that can be used within the game itself. Launched in 2001, Mage Knight has a pretty long list of impressive credentials - including 14 expansion packs, two nominations for Origin awards, and the Best Graphic Presentation of a Board Game Product 2002 award. Recent times haven't been as kind to the game, as 2005 saw its last expansion and termination of tournament support. Despite the drop in player base and sales, several new products are in the works - a tabletop RPG and an Action RPG for the PC.
The PC version will be called Mage Knight: Apocalypse
and has been making some waves since it was first seen in 2005. The game blends familiar Action RPG staples with the lore of Mage Knight. The world's background story is unique, while maintaining the familiar themes of found magic, rebellion, schisms between learned schools, and the never-ending battle between order and chaos.
The quickest path to explaining the base gameplay mechanics of Mage Knight: Apocalypse is to liken it to a similar game - namely Dungeon Siege. Like Dungeon Siege, the player's character has skill areas that acquire experience through use, which unlocks new abilities and/or spells. On the other hand, character selection more closely resembles Diablo - the five characters each have three different skills, for a total of 15 different skill sets vs. Dungeon Siege's four.
Speaking of familiarity, if you have been around the RPG block a couple of times, many of the characters will seem like old friends. You've got the Dwarf Gunner, Janos Freeborn, who is skilled in physical combat, guns, and explosives - his tragic past offset by determination to see the future a better place. Scantily clad Kithana is a Vampire Nightblade. Exiled and the last uncursed member of her lineage, Kithana relies on necromantic and vampiric skills, as well as roguish physical combat abilities. Chela is an Amazon Huntress. Though the Amazons have been known to provide black powder to the dwarven rebellion, they don't show an affinity for it themselves - instead, they rely on three animal "stances": Bear Stance (strength and power), Jaguar Stance (speed and skill), and Eagle Stance (bow).
The role of Mage is filled by a Draconum named Sarus, a creature that (predictably) looks like a half-dragon, half-human. In a way, he's a tragic character born under ill portents; Sarus has been heralded as a Watcher, one who is destined to be present at historical events but powerless to change them. This is a very odd fate for a player character, and I'm curious to see how this develops in the game. One would expect that with his knowledge of earth, fire, and storm magics, Sarus would be able to effect just about anything around him. The last character is a traditional archetype with a little twist - Tal Windstrider is an elven paladin. Torn between being unquestionably loyal to his isolationist race and being sworn to do what is right and good for all the people in the land, Tal has quite the decision ahead of him. Whichever path he takes, he'll be able to draw upon his skill in melee combat, protection magics, and holy ranged combat.