While all players in the 1990s would get to know the Heroes of Might & Magic series, few people know that the 1990 King’s Bounty trampled on it. Although not a very typical example of how a student became more famous than a master, the genre turn-based RPGs with typical fights on a hex or square network, we will forever associate with the popular Heroes. The release of King’s Bounty: The Legend in 2008 did not change anything, when people from 1C got to the brand and nothing will change even after the release of King’s Bounty II, which we could try before the release at the end of August. Not because it would be a bad game a priori, but because its concept deviates significantly from the traditional concept and does not strike a nostalgic string.
Back to Nostria
The development of King’s Bounty II is again due to the developers from 1C, and they will report attention for thirteen long years after they exercised the brand rights for the first time. This is a significant break, during which video games developed in various directions, and what was considered modern and popular at the time is no longer valid in most cases today. The developers have therefore decided to design the game seemingly as a large third person RPG, in which you directly control the main character, which travels through the continent of Nostria and perhaps against his will gets involved in a politico-military game years fell into chaos. But the developers don’t add more to the introduction, which I consider a plus, given that there will be a whole host of players who didn’t have the honor of the first game, and I find revealing the story during the game more elegant than sweeping cut-scenes.
It’s up to the player to choose one of the three ready-made heroes – a sorceress, a warrior, or a paladin – with the proviso that unfortunately we can’t tell you more about the last one at the moment. That’s why I personally chose a warrior, to whom, moreover, magic using scrolls is not completely foreign, so I could have a little bit from everyone. However, the start is the same for everyone – you will find yourself in a cell, from where the surprised guards will release you on the orders of the fortress command to fulfill the will of the local prince and quickly set out on your mission. The game will introduce you quite nicely, how its basic features work, and it is quite successful in enticing the next hours of playing. As it was said a while ago, this time the movement is processed directly, so instead of driving around the map on the back of a faithful horse, in the spirit of action RPGs you will go through locations, open hidden chests and talk to others. But I must admit that the overemphasis on exploring all the nooks and crannies didn’t suit me very well, especially because you simply have to do it. The rewards for completed tasks are not very high and the units – or their treatment after the fights – cost something. In addition, it often happened to me that I faced a much stronger army than mine, without the game clearly showing its strength. The trial-and-error method thus came into force immediately after the game started, and any progress was often narrowed down to finding the path of least resistance.
Repeated playing of the same duel really brought different results thanks to the terrain and the variety of units.
If you’ve played the previous episode or the Heroes of Might & Magic series mentioned in the introduction, it’s no surprise that you can get involved in relatively large battles, which you enter with your own army hidden in your pockets until then. But the system is simple – you buy units from recruiters, put them in a gradually increasing number of active slots and get to work. The battlefield is cut into hexes and places great emphasis on terrain and various obstacles. In this respect, I was pleased with King’s Bounty II, and even repeated playing of the same duel really brought different results. I’m just a little sorry that due to the work with the terrain and the effort to make each of the locations where the turn-off takes place special, the maps are relatively small and in some places very slowly indicate what the right solution is. In the full version it may be a problem, but in the offered example I enjoyed the properties of the units much more, the dysfunction of their chemistry, when you put undead and nice effects of spells next to living people and the opportunity to get closer to the center of events. In addition, most units have secondary or special types of attacks that can reverse an unfavorable battle, or hold the enemy for a critically long time, so that other units can form and finally strike. Thanks to the traction system, you have a lot of time to think through everything and the game definitely shows its potential, but the fights are not without flaws.
This is especially a confusing control, which often uses various buttons to confirm, sometimes does not respond very well or does not provide any feedback or caption, and in combination with considerable clumsiness of animation simply does not work King’s Bounty II very well. This is most evident in the dialogues, which are dubbed and there is also a successful Czech translation in the form of subtitles, but everything the characters say has almost no acting and you are so involuntary viewers of the movie, because you can not actively intervene in the dialogues. . The only choices you make are generally related to who you challenge after the interview, which at least brings with it the immediate development and consequence of that decision. However, it was not possible to find anything deep in that on the preview version and I am afraid that the story will run after the seventeenth college even after the release of the full version. If I add to this the unfavorable feeling of the graphics as such or the jerky movement of the horse, after a hopeful but rather unmanaged effort for a more modern action RPG, only an immortal mechanism of tactical turn-based combat remains, which will have to bear all the burden of expectations. But I have to leave King’s Bounty II that, from a technical point of view, especially in terms of stability and agility, everything is fine, so perhaps we do not have any problems after the release.
But I still can’t shake the feeling that the clever effort to modernize the hitherto functional ones, and I do not hesitate to say popular mechanisms, will not fall on fertile ground. But I’m happy to be convinced otherwise, in the next tens of hours the full potential of combat units will be developed and the locations will begin to less conspicuously suggest that here and there you can find another glowing box with a few gold pieces and junk for sale.