Often, the end of a relationship is accompanied by such familiar, cliché-ridden sentiment as "It's not you, it's me", "You're still my best friend" or "I love you, I'm just not in love with you". Occasionally, that parting shot is less bittersweet and altogether more final, something along the lines of "I don't love you anymore, so I'm casting you into these labyrinthine catacombs to have your face and mind vandalised by giant-spider venom." So it is for Cassia of Tenos, who thankfully is a resourceful lass and one for self-empowerment so that after just four years and a 30-minute tutorial she's back on her feet, a tad miffed and crazy enough to frequently argue with herself.
What follows is a single-player, turn-based tactical jaunt across a sizeable world map, seizing control of towns, fiddling with stats and choosing just how dastardly anti-hero Cassia will be as she beats a bloody hexagonal path to her former beloved's door. Accompanying Cassia is a bunch of shady reprobates who all have their own reasons for signing up and whose fate will ultimately be decided by the choices you make along the way. Each of your companions, from the greedy dwarf with anger management issues to the mopey but dashing mage, have their own thoughts on the wider world and on Cassia's tenuous grip on her sanity, not all of which are complementary. There are also a band of mercenaries brought on board to help bolster your numbers and provide the mainstay of your forces when your meddling provokes your deranged-ex to strike back against some of the settlements that you've "liberated".
Interaction with your ragtag bunch takes place when you set-up camp or in bigger towns that you capture along the way. Here, you'll also visit the blacksmith, merchant, alchemist and trainer and uncover the main crux of the story as you question townsfolk and make some ugly choices that will affect how your new subjects perceive you. The scenarios are suitably grim and take in ritual slaughter, torture, and your own fragile state of mind but Blackguards 2 is not without moments of humour. These are mostly deliberate, although the occasionally wonky script and voice acting conspire to turn it all into a bit of a pantomime that undermines its otherwise dark overtones.