Surprised? Me, too. I caught a squib on Blues News earlier this week that Mage Knight: Apocalypse was shipping. The title was new to me, so I poked around the ‘net for information. This morning I picked it up at a local store.

Opening the box, I found six CD’s inside (and I thought TQ was bad with five). There may be a DVD version, but this is what the store had. Almost brings back memories of those good old days when you’d open a Sierra game and find ten 3.5″ floppies ;).

Minimum specs are:
Windows XP or 2K
512M System RAM
128M Video card
1.8G CPU

Recommended specs:
2.4G CPU
256M Video Card
768M System RAM

And for the most playing experience, at least graphically:
2G System RAM
1G Video Card

So I installed the game and went to the screen where you choose your hero. It’s one of those with pre-genned characters, something I’m not really fond of, but I can live with it.

Unfortunately, I could hardly see anything. You know those smears I got in Titan Quest? Well, they were a LOT worse here. It looks like I can’t put off getting updated drivers for my card, and last time I looked, that was 40 megs+. It’s gonna be a loooong download, and I don’t have the time for that tonight.

Meanwhile, I’ll pass along some info from the manual. As mentioned, there are five heroes: Amazon, Draconum, Vampire Nightblade, Dwarf, and Elf. The Amazon and Nightblade are female, the others are male. No gender choice here, and they all have their own names already.

Each comes with three skill trees, unique to that character, though there is some crossover in martial skills. Unlike TQ or Diablo, there are no points to put into them. The skills are unlocked up the tree by using current skills and/or raising particular attributes.

That also means no experience levels. Everything is “get better by doing”. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this method.

The Amazon has both bow and melee trees. The Bear tree is up front, tank-type fighting, the Jaguar is more dodge and slash, and Eagle is bow skill.

The Draconum is the mage. He’s got Earth, Fire, and Storm (air and water combined) trees.

The Dwarf has trees for Physical (your typical fantasy Dwarf tank), Gunnery (yes, this seems to be somewhat mixed media), and Explosives (grenades and bombs).

Vampire Nightblade is Assassin (stealth and melee), Vampiric (life-leeching) and Necromantic (call up undead, and other nasty abilities).

Elf is the cleric type, limited to blunt weapons (how silly), with trees for Martial (blunt weapons and buffs), Holy (healing and buffs), and Aerial (archery; go figure, he can use piercing weapons but not swords?).

According to the manual, it will take the better part of the game to master one tree, and it’s possible, with replaying or online play, to master a second. But it says, no one can get all three. I’m sure someone out there will, sooner or later. Designers should have more faith in the totally obssessed (not me, though).

Anyway, tomorrow sometime, if all goes well, I hope to have some actual game experience to post.