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Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled preview

By Michael | May 31, 2009 at 3:45 am

Doesn’t it look like that one game?

Many gamers better know this game as Project Exile (not to be confused with the similarly named gun control law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Exile), the codename given to the project at its beginnings. Now that it has been picked up a publisher, Graffiti Entertainment, the game has been renamed Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled.

The most obvious detail about Black Sigil is its similarity to Super Nintendo games in looks. Mode 7 world map? Check. Sprites that look like they could have out of Final Fantasy VI? Check. A battle system that looks reminiscent of Chrono Trigger? Check that one off the list too. Studio Archcraft certainly seems to be banking on old-school gamers’ nostalgic memories.

But there is more to the game than meets the eye. The battle system has been termed an “Active-Time Tactical Combat Role Playing Game” or “ATTCRPG” for short (that’s short!?). This battle system is a real time, in the vein of Chrono Trigger‘s “real time”, strategy RPG combat system that factors in things such as character positioning in order to determine combat effectiveness. Each turn, players will be able to move characters around the combat map, positioning them better for melee attacks, getting the perfect angle to unleash a spell on a group of enemies, etc. These tactical choices can be ignored, however, as the game is said to function just as well if players choose to play it as though it were a traditional active-time RPG.

Story details are scarce, but what is known is that Black Sigil will revolve around Kairu, a young knight who is trying to find his way in the world. remarkable ain’t it? Deprived of magic, he reminds characters of a man who had previously wreaked destruction across Bel Lenora. Because of this, Kairu isn’t exactly the most popular kid in town. The game should feature eight playable characters whose interaction with each other, according to the developers, will be a large part of the plot.

The world map seems to be a dying breed in video games today, but Black Sigil attempts to brings it back, complete with tiny representations of towns and landscapes (or is it giant representations of characters? we may never know). There’s also a quicksave feature for easy pick-up-and-play accessibility.

Judging strictly from the videos, Black Sigil has what sounds like a very old-school soundtrack and shows off some pretty impressive sprites (which are wholly original, so back the hell of, SquareEnix legal department). It is clear, however, that gamers wanting state of the art graphics and sound design should look elsewhere.

Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled is set to release May 12th. Gamers looking to satisfy their craving for an old-school RPG, that should off a new take on the old-school RPG design, will want to check this one out. It’s finally time to set down that copy of Final Fantasy IV at last.


-Joseph Wartick

Topics: Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled, Previews