The Russian old role-playing strategy king wants to regain the throne again.
No, King’s Bounty 2 is not the second game in the series. Not even close. But it is a clear break from previous games in the series, and an ambitious attempt to further develop the veteran monarch. From what we have seen, there is reason to be both worried and cautiously optimistic.
For those who do not know King’s Bounty so is the game that preceded the more successful one Heroes of Might and Magicseries. Unlike its spiritual successor, however, there were no more games after the original in 1990. Not until 2008, at least, when the series finally got a new part in the series with King’s Bounty: The Legend, a really successful strategy role-playing game that managed to get a loyal fan base. The game got three sequels and an expansion before the series fell asleep again in 2014. Until now, when King’s Bounty 2 has been announced.
This time, the old top-down perspective that, the series has had since its debut, is gone. The series has always been distinct from Heroes of Might and Magicgames in terms of gameplay, with more role-playing and less strategy, but this time it takes another step towards a more full-fledged role-playing game. The basics are still familiar, though, although the perspective has been zoomed in on a close-up third-person view. At least as long as you explore the world. The battles are still seen from above, where troops are moved around in a grid system.
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The approach fantasy
The way units are handled, which are recruited in cities and castles on the map, is also known from before. These then handle the rough work in the battles, while the heroes stand for magic and other abilities at the sidelines. Just like in the previous ones, you can recruit which units you want, regardless of which faction you are, but if you mix human units with undead, for example, there will be a bad atmosphere, and the troops will perform worse.
In other words, much is familiar in King’s Bounty 2, despite the new perspective. A closer camera can make the world feel more alive, and in battles, height differences can make a tactical difference – which is nice. But by all accounts, it also takes longer to get around now. Where you used to whiz on the map, you now ride at a leisurely pace. If you want to talk to someone, open a coffin or interact with something, you must kindly get off the horse first. Thus, the tempo feels more in line with regular role-playing games, rather than the rather fast hybrid that the predecessors were.
However, this does not have to be a problem, as long as 1C Entertainment is working on updating its assignment structure. Kings Bounty: The Legend and its sequels leaned extremely much towards fetch quests. I like them, but they definitely go to exaggeration with all the running back and forth to pick up one or the other, or talk to countless people before moving on. Such a structure in King’s Bounty 2 could be unbearable. However, the developers promise that they have elaborate and engaging assignments, both in the main assignments and the side assignments – where one’s choices really play a role in how both the story and your character develop. I’ve played all the predecessors and liked them all (some more than others, of course), and I really hope to be able to say the same about King’s Bounty 2 when released.
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