King Arthur Knight’s Tale Early Access Review: Legendary

Return to the legend and rewrite history as Mordred in King Arthur Knight's Tale Early Access on Steam.

It’s nice not to answer to anybody on this site, so can be carefree and admit to gushing about doing this King Arthur Knight’s Tale Early Access Review. I’m aware there’s a colon in the title.

Straight into the game, we’re presented with a cutscene on par with Baldur’s Gate 3, and quite frankly, I could watch another 120 minutes of this – it’s fantastic.

Perhaps that’s why I do this site in the first place, to relive some truly memorable setpieces from the olde days to share with others. Games that draw you into the lore almost immediately, where you’re wiping your chops in anticipation and get stuck in. 

King Arthur Knight’s Tale Early Access

The bubble temporarily popped then when I heard the cast. Some have a contempt in their voice that’s a bit lame like they’ve just attended a Games Workshop nativity and put on the dulcet tones of old. “What is this thing?” Mordred cries. Every time he sees a bloody chest.

Not that any of us know what these knights (if they existed) sounded like. In my head, all I hear is Python and Jabberwocky peasants. Anyhoo, it’s a trivial thing and preference. If this is the negative I’m focusing on, then you might be in for a treat with this game from Neocore Games.

King Arthur Knight's Tale - It's O Kay
It’s O… Kay. Source: PR

As a history fan, an incredibly broad statement, I do like it when reenactments are relatively accurate. While Hollywood can claim Robin Hood is from California, or Rome was built in a day, it’s mildly irritating that people take those ‘re-imaginings’ as fact.

To contradict this, I do like it when we can get an alternate universe version – like Watchmen or Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. We know the material but get a different take. Well, that’s King Arthur Knights Tale as it’s a ‘what if’ story.

My Knight’s Better Than Your Knight

Arthurian Legend is precisely that: legend. It’s refreshing to see the pedestal hero take a turn for the worse as from the intro sequence, and the Lady of the Lake’s rhetoric, David Mitchell’s voice came into my head: am I the baddie? Or is the Lady of the Lake? She is the catalyst to this all…

Whether you’re good or not is up to you. You play Mordred, the half brother of Arthur who was the only person to defeat him, and they both die on the battlefield. However, something supernatural occurred, and Arthur and his knights are reanimated but with a different agenda: they aren’t the same as before.

As Mordred, you rise from the dead to defeat Arthur once more and you have the option to do it righteously, or in a dastardly way. Recruiting Arthur’s leftovers, you re-hire the gang and rebuild Camelot and either rule with an iron gauntlet, or claim it for the Lady of the Lake.

Because this is the King Arthur Knights Tale Early Access version, the gameplay was limited, so the following is just a sneak peek at what to expect. Based on my experience, I can only encourage you to check it out if you’re a fan of games like Diablo.

On/Off The Grid

You command Mordred and his ever-growing posse of knights, having free reign where to take them. There’s not much in the ways of interaction, but you’ll find the odd chest and shrine to heal your party.

King Arthur Knight's Tale - Ni
The knights who say… kill! Source: PR

Ambushes are common, and when you enter combat, the mechanics change. King Arthur Knights Tale shifts to a turn-based scenario and the area features a grid overlay, indicating where you can move and your attacking area.

Action points dictate movement and attacks, though if you don’t use them all, they can stack. Set in the Dark Ages, you’d be right in assuming that these knights are melee-based, so you have to get up close for attacks, but can apply defensive overwatch moves too.

There are ranged characters, and the archer you meet early on is divine, though the caveat is having hit points on par with a slice of Dairylea. Attributes are split between health and armour. When their armour is broken, expect them to fall pretty damn quick.

Assume The Position

Manoeuvring your party around the battlegrounds is key as this isn’t a free-for-all. You have to position your knights behind objects to protect them from attacks, like in Dreadlands, but the way they’re facing counts too, as back attacks do more damage.

Between these battles, you can return to Camelot to start the rebuilding process. This is another game where you build new structures that offer advantages such as a church for healing or tavern to get rat arsed. Completing missions awards the coin and materials needed to do this.

Additionally, you can configure your loadout, and assign accessories and buffs to work on those two-handed and one-handed skills. There’s even a morality chart that defines whether you’re righteous or following the path to be a complete and utter bastard.

You Have My Sword

This isn’t the BBC, so I’m not going to give a balanced assessment of King Arthur Knight’s Tale Early Access and make all these comparisons to others. Instead, I’ll go with the fanboy stance from the opener and say that I love this. 

King Arthur Knight's Tale - Pea Soup
Pea soup. Source: PR

The atmosphere is excellent. It’s important for medieval games not to be generic, kicking potatoes and calling everyone guv. Visually, it’s fantastic, and you can flip around the screen like a capoeira master doing the dishes, rotating the maps and zooming in on these strategic battles. The voice acting is just a bit naff.

If you have a penchant for anything medieval, mystical and compelling enough where you’ll soap dodge for half a dozen hours, rinse (or not) and repeat (remember, it’s Early Access), then may I wholeheartedly recommend King Arthur Knight’s Tale

You can get it on Steam via Early Access today.