Legend returns! King’s Bounty II is the long-awaited sequel to the legendary King’s Bounty video games franchise, one of the most iconic representatives of the turn-based RPG genre.
Reviewed on: PC
Also available for: PS4, Xbox One, Nintnedo Switch
Developer: 1C Entertainment
Publisher: Deep Silver
King’s Bounty 2 is a third-person tactical RPG set in a high fantasy world, changing the narrative from previous games in the series. King’s Bounty 2 aims to guide you through the world by following the story of one of three protagonists, each with their own skillset and story to be told. A third-person perspective is taken up behind the central character, while battles are undertaken from a top-down or three-quarter perspective adjustable over the hexagon laden battlefield.
The story starts with the player choosing a character. All characters start with a lacklustre plot, differing slightly depending on the protagonist choice. All three begin in a cell and follow the guard as you are released into the service of the king after being pardoned for your crime. Unfortunately, this is where the problems with the story in the game start. The first portion of the game is set up as a tutorial. While it does a good job explaining what is needed for your journey and hinting at other items that might be required, your hand is held until just after the first battle. Hints are displayed on regular occasions until the first main cut scene.
The first battle is a tutorial on how to set up your soldiers effectively on the battlefield. The instructions are forced and step you through each movement until the first attack. After which, you’re left to fend for yourself. While the battles are relatively easy to understand, the preparation before is key to success. This preparation includes selecting the correct soldiers and ensuring they are the right faction. Choosing incorrectly will put your team at a disadvantage and may doom you to a loss. While some battles are fun and challenging, I found the game was leaning on this aspect far too heavily.
While the world sometimes feels alive and beautiful, the story is often unremarkable and tedious. To progress anywhere in the story, you must complete side quests; many of these quests involve battling. The game has a separate mechanic based on talents (anarchy, order, power, and finesse) which adjusts the story. The choices made in-game and while building your character stats all pertain to these. In general, the “choices” you make affect the world as you interact with it, but you’re often left to a single choice during a conversation or an option during a quest or battle. The role-playing is seemingly tossed during this time as you are left feeling like your choices are unimportant.
Gear and loot are plentiful in-game; not all of it is useful, and much of it is used to sell as junk to merchants to purchase items of use instead. Gold is hidden in various locations and as a reward for completing quests and battles. Gear is found by searching the world, via purchases or from completing quests and battles. Equipment contributes to the protagonist’s stats and has various functions pertaining to the character’s chance of winning a conflict.
There are many books and scrolls throughout the world, but the game restricts you from collecting them to review later. A lack of an in-game library makes collecting these totems frustrating as you can not check what you have found and makes completing a collection of little interest. These tales fill out the world, but without the ability to return to them and read them in a more orderly fashion, the arbitrary way they are discovered and tossed aside is just one more unimpressive way of handling the world at large.
King’s Bounty II might have an interesting overarching tale, but the game’s build quality and the world don’t outweigh the game’s problems. You visually see the loading happening every time you move to a new area on the map with a visual stutter. Quests are seemingly only there to get you to the next battle, and the battles leave much to be desired. Audio glitches can be heard during characters speeches, and they’ll sometimes end sentences halfway through the last word.