PC ¦ PlayStation 3 ¦ Xbox 360 ¦ Wii ¦ DS ¦ PSP ¦ Others ¦ DGC Grade Table

Mage Knight Apocalypse PC DVD-ROM

Published by Deep Silver
Developed by InterServ
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Mage Knight Apocalypse, an introduction.

Action RPG’s (also known as hack ‘n’ slash RPG’s) have always proved to be very popular. Despite only having one Diablo title during the period that Deaf Gamers has been up and running, we managed to see some really good titles in the genre. Sacred, Titan Quest, Dungeon Siege and Divine Divinity are just four that spring to mind. Here we have the genre’s latest title, Mage Knight Apocalypse and whilst it shares some aspects with other titles in the genre, it has enough original aspects that prevent it from simply being a clone of Diablo (something most action RPG’s have a tendency to be labelled as).

What’s the game about?

In Mage Knight Apocalypse you’ll play as one of five guardians who have sworn an oath to seek out the evil that affects the land. They are guided by the Solonavi, strange mystical beings, that have summoned the guardians and requested that they seek out and defeat the evil that is led by an Apocalypse Dragon, a huge five headed being that threatens to destroy everything in its path. The five heroes you can play as are Janos Freeborn; a Dwarf Gunner, Kithana; a Vampire Nightblade, Chela; an Amazon Huntress, Sarus; a Draconum Mage and Tal Windstrider; an Eleven Guardian. Regardless of whom you choose to play as your goals are the same. You must travel the land and gather the support of the various factions as well as recruiting any brave heroes to fight at your side.

What’s good about the game?

Mage Knight Apocalypse isn’t just another hack ‘n’ slash RPG. Aside from being a game based on the Mage Knight collectable miniatures from WizKids (which in itself will lend appeal to the game), the game throws a few RPG conventions out of the window. For one your characters don’t level up in the traditional sense. Your character has strength, agility, health, stamina, wisdom and intelligence attributes. Using the appropriate skills develops different attributes. As a result if you play through the game using mêlée attacks you’ll have a character whose appropriate attributes will reflect this whilst the other attributes will be neglected. Some will probably not like this method of character development as it can lead to an unbalanced character if you rely on the same skills throughout the game but in fairness it is a rather logical method that makes you think about how you play the game. During the game you’ll be able to forge your own weapons and create your own potions and such like. These features are by no means a deal clincher but they are certainly quite useful. The game can also be played online with five players in a co-operative fashion.

What’s bad about the game?

Unfortunately there are quite a few negative aspects that prevent the game from being a noteworthy one. The story simply isn’t that interesting. Granted it’s not the most important aspect of an action RPG but still we would expect a certain standard and Apocalypse falls short. The lack of character customisation is also disappointing. You can’t create your own characters and you don’t have a great degree of control over character customisation. Basically you’ll pick one of the five characters and you’ll be able to edit their hair style, hair colour, face type, skin colour and eye colour. You won’t be able to select their class or other distinctive qualities. As we’ll mention in a moment the camera is rather woeful and another source of irritation. The enemy AI seems rather dumb at times. Enemies seem to just rush toward you without employing any kind of strategy. Experienced hack ‘n’ slash gamers will probably find the game too easy as a result. The AI of your companions also leaves a lot to be desired and in truth they may as well not be there as you pretty much have to defeat your enemies yourself.

How does it look?

Apocalypse doesn’t look too bad in all honesty. With the graphical details turned to maximum the character models and environments all look good enough. The same can’t be said for the interface as it looks rather basic and feels a little clunky to say the least. The default game camera is a real pain and frequently throws up views that are less than ideal. Instead of keeping the camera behind your main character it simply remains in a static position. Go to the left or right and the camera will simply move left or right. It doesn't follow behind your character. This means that there are times when you just can’t see your character that well and it’s very irritating. It’s also quite annoying when the first notification of an enemy is an arrow that hits your character. It kind of feels like you’re being cheated. You can turn the camera by holding the space bar down and moving the mouse. To some degree this does lessen the aforementioned problems. However, the camera won’t change its angle automatically so you’re constantly turning it around yourself and it becomes rather cumbersome to say the least. The game’s cutscenes seem to appear rather abruptly making the transition from game play to movie very uncomfortable.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

The introductory cutscene that plays when you load the game isn’t subtitled but otherwise there isn’t much to complain about. The game’s cutscenes are subtitled. They are shown in a letterbox format with the text being displayed in the lower border. Conversations outside of the cutscenes are displayed using white text in black dialogue boxes. All tutorial messages are shown in text. All quest info is shown in text and can be recalled at any time. As your character's stats increase you’ll see floating text to inform you of this. There are times when enemies can be heard before they are seen. There are no captions for this but in all honesty the awkward camera angles are more of a problem than the lack of captions.

Final thoughts.

Mage Knight Apocalypse isn’t going to go down as one of the better titles in the action RPG genre.  The poor camera, the rather dumb enemy AI and a story that isn’t that interesting (although it may have some value for fans of the Mage Knight miniatures). According to the official forums for the game there will be a patch arriving shortly that will enable a chase camera (meaning a camera that will remain behind the character). If this is the case it will certainly improve the experience quite a bit. As it stands though, Mage Knight Apocalypse looks like it could have done with a lot more work. It’s not a bad game as such but there are issues that should have been sorted out. Maybe, after the forthcoming patch, it will be a game worthy of attention.

Overall Game Rating: 5.8/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

(Click the letter or here for details)

In its current state Mage Knight Apocalypse is going to be a test of patience for the action RPG fan. The camera is just plain annoying and the enemy and companion AI are disappointing. These are problems that could be fixed (and indeed it certainly appears the camera problem could be solved in the forthcoming patch). Had these problems been fixed earlier we would have had a much more desirable game.