What is Five: Guardians of David?
Five: Guardians of David is an isometric view, action adventure, hack and slash in the traditional style of similar games of this genre. Five is based on the story of, well, the five guardians of David from the Bible. Complete with both historical and Biblical excerpts, the game provides the player with a unique experience not typical of mainstream gaming. Five: Guardians of David is available on Steam for $24.99, which can be found here.
The game does an excellent job telling its story through visually appealing comic book style slides and decent voice acting (for the main characters at least). Each level also has several "caches" that continue the story while actually playing through each level. Combine this with the great level design, the art team really captures an environment that makes the player feel like they are in ancient biblical times and cities, participating in ancient battles.
The gameplay itself is also quite interesting. You eventually have control of not one character and its playstyle, but 5 characters, all different, all serving different purposes. As you your character's level, they gain access to new skills and skill points so you can customize them more to your liking. Adding into this, there seems to be a ton of loot (and bread, so much bread) that allows you to further manipulate each character's stats to fit the play styles you set up for each character.
While I didn't get to it myself, the game gets deeper beyond this, it's not just some ARPG but also has some interesting market mechanics that starts kicking in by Act II as you begin seeing coin drops which you donate for…benefits by Act III. Such benefits I will leave to you to discover. #winkyface
While Five: Guardians of David seems like it would be a good game to play all the way through and then be excited for the foretold games coming in the future, there are still a few things that may drive people away, just like any other game. So what are they?
My first concern was the Five guardians AI. I am not sure if this is intentional or just poor programming, but whenever you stop controlling a Guardian, it is just as likely for that Guardian to simply stand there and do nothing at all as it is for them to continuing to attack. On top of this, I could find no way to get the Guardians to use their skills. Maybe I just simply did not deep enough into the game to reveal some mechanic I am missing, but if so, I spent 4-6 hours playing through the beginning of the game and others like me may decided the game is just simply too broken to continue and never getting to that special mechanic.
Next, the game is extremely linear, no deviation, as it is telling a very specific story. Now, this is not just the levels and story, but the characters as well. Each character serves a purpose, you don't get a choice in that role, nor can you actively control their progression outside of the skills. So unlike the more traditional ARPG you don't get to micro manage your characters as much as you would normally. But, I believe the the fact you have control over 5 characters makes up for this, plus, if you are extremely good at RTS games and macroing various characters at the same time, the previous concern is also similarly not that big of a deal. But I have one more.
While interesting, I am afraid that the fact the game is based deeply in Biblical verse but with some added story elements will bring a lot of controversy from the Christian Community if this game gets anymore than a niche gathering. It's odd to think that the best thing for a game's success is for it to not be successful. Its this very issue that other companies, such as Hi-Rez Studios, the makers of Smite, who specifically stated that they will never add any playable characters that come from current day, mainstream religions such as Christianity because of the potential backlash of that community. A backlash large enough that it could cause a small company to lose track and go under. This is something I truly wish does not come to past. That the Christian community embraces this company, and these games as they hold so close to the actual teachings of the Bible, that the game provides actual Bible verses and otherwise, in their words, spreads the word of the Gospel.
My Final Thoughts!
As is the norm, I propose the question. I Five: Guardians of David worth picking up? I believe that if you have any interest in historical and/or biblical events and like ARPG's, the game is worth it. The main issues with the game, to me, are mostly based on either personal skill or personal preference in a game. While valid, they are common among the gaming community. In general each character seems strong enough to be able to play soly and not really even worry about macroing the actions of each character, even though that seems to be the general design of the game. If you can get past the part that you have minimal control over each character's statistical development, as is the norm of other ARPG, this is otherwise a great game and worth picking up for the otherwise low cost compared to most newly released games.
As usual, you can find the gameplay for this review below, and don't forget to like, subscribe and check back later for more game reviews.