King Arthur: Knights Tale Review

Developed and Published by NeocoreGames, King Arthur: Knights Tale is the latest entry into the tactical role-playing genre. King Arthur: Knights Tale is a dark fantasy take of the Arthurian myth which takes you and your team through many dangerous battlefields whilst also having elements of moral choices and the rebuilding of Camelot. So, let’s break it down shall we?

Unlike most tactical roleplaying games, KA:KT has more than just the story mode to dig into; we also have Skirmish and local PVP modes which we shall touch on later. So what’s the story about? You are Sir Mordred, a once evil nemesis of King Arthur, and during the opening cutscene you manage to fell King Arthur in battle. However, with his final action he’s able to bring you down also.

Death is not what was fated for you though, so after being revived the Lady of the Lake has one simple task for you: to finish what you started: To kill the also revived King Arthur once and for all. The tables have been turned and you are now supposed to take the mantle of the “good guy”. Very early on it is apparent that you were once the bad guy as Knights once loyal to king Arthur don’t take warmly to you, especially those who you struck down yourself.

I mentioned morality earlier and throughout the story you’re given opportunities to either lean towards being a rightful ruler or reckless tyrant and within that you can also chose to become either being a devout Christian or a follower of the Old-Faith.Doing so will grant you extra abilities, buffs and Knights that aid you in your quest. Although one word of warning – I would stick down one path as changing your mind halfway through the campaign will mean missing out on some of the better perks or a particular knight that you wanted to recruit.

You’re also tasked with rebuilding Camelot with resources you receive from finishing quests and exploring the battlefields. There are 6 parts of Camelot for you to rebuild and upgrade from the Hospice, the Cathedral, or the training grounds. If you’ve played games like XCOM before then you’ll know that these are vital to making your journey through the story smoother.

Once you start a mission, so be sure to double check you have the equipment you want equipped and any characters you want to take with you are levelled up as once you’ve started a mission, the only way back is to load an earlier save and that could potentially lose you a ton of progress.

The battlefields themselves aren’t particularly inspiring when compared to other games I’ve reviewed in the last year like Miasma Chronicles, Warhammer Daemonhunters or even Jagged Alliance 3. You can find items around the map, but none were any better than the mission rewards I received at the end of a mission, though they are worth hunting for in case you find ones with gold in.

The battles themselves are what you would expect from a medieval tactical game and can be fun playing around with different abilities before hacking your enemy down. The front-line knights are meaty tanks capable of taking numerous hits which makes KA:KT stand out from the rest. With Knights you pretty much have 3 health bars to see you through battles; first you have your amour, and once that’s depleted you have a hit point bar and then your vitality bar, only once you get hit into your vitality bar does your knights become vulnerable to such things as injuries. Being forced to tip toe your way around battles in other games, potentially sniping 3 or 4 enemies before the fight starts to avoid injuries can be frustrating, so having characters here that can take hits without risk of injury and potentially missing a key mission is refreshing.

Not all characters are tanks of course as you have you ranged fighters which don’t get armour and go straight to having their hit point bar reduced when hit. Preparing for battles can give you a slight advantage. When you’re approaching a fight you’ll see red tiles on the floor, touching these will start the fight. However, if you’re able navigate around the map and find the other red tiles, this will give you other starting options and will be able to place your characters in different starting positions.

Fights can start to feel repetitive as you progress through the story, despite being able to have 30 characters to choose from you can only ever take 4 of them onto a battlefield and only the 4 you chose will receive XP. Even if you have your favourites, I’d advise to change your team up when you can which is where the side missions come in.

As with any tactical games, difficulty spikes do exist, especially when you go from one act to another but there are plenty of difficulty options to help decide what kind of experience you want. First off you must choose between Classic mode and Roguelite mode. Roguelite mode disables your ability to save manually, so every decision, mistake and death is permanent. Once you’ve chosen between those 2 you’ve then got 5 additional difficulties ranging from Story to Very Hard. Each difficulty will make the AI more ruthless and decrease the amount of hit points or armour you can recover from Campfires.

Onto the other modes now and first up we’ll look at local PVP. To not have online PVP is a shame but this mode pits you against a friend in a 4vs4 battle. There are 4 pre-loaded teams available if you want to chose one of those but there is also ‘Draft mode’ which lets you and your opponent pick from 12 characters such as Sir Lancelot, Merlin and Lady Guinevere. I also found this useful for the single player campaign as I found it a great way to test abilities before potentially putting a talent point into it.

The final mode we have available to us is Skirmish, although if you’re familiar with RTS games then this is not the Skirmish you’re thinking of. Instead, what we have here 10 mini scenarios that get harder as you complete each one. Each scenario has multiple maps and unique party members so offers up a different challenge than the campaign.

 One final word is that there are no microtransactions! (HUZZAH!) I dislike praising companies for not putting microtransactions into games but there were multiple chances for NeocoreGames to do so and they chose to be the good guys!

Conclusion

King Arthur: Knights Tale is a good but not quite great medieval take on the tactical RPG genre. The Skirmish and Local PVP modes add value and longevity to a game that can feel repetitive if you stick solely to the campaign.

This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • Lots of Knights to choose from depending on you playstyle
  • Skirmish mode adds more longevity
  • Local PVP a good training tool
  • Characters that can tank without fear of injuries
  • No Microtransactions!
Bad
  • No online PVP
  • Battles can feel repetitive after a while
  • Battlefields seem plain
7.9
Good
Written by
I first got my hands on a gaming console in ‘91 with the NES and haven’t looked back since, playing on a variety of consoles and PCs over the years. Once a year you will also find me doing a trilogy play through of either Mass Effect or Dragon Age.

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