This is not going to be a full-fledged review. Why? Well, I thoroughly reviewed King’s Bounty: The Legend here. And the thing is, this game feels very much like that one. It uses the same graphics engine, it uses the same basic soundtrack and the controls are the exact same. Now, that said, I really enjoyed the first game, and this one is just a shade better in some other areas, so I’ll go over those points now.
In the first game, you took on the role of a knight tasked with helping his kingdom in increasingly important ways. The storyline was very text-heavy and not always the most easily-followed series of plot points, but the writing was generally good and there was a ton of area to explore. You could control four spirits of rage to assist you in combat as you used various troops and spells to help wage war in turn-based combat carried out on a flat hex grid. I sunk at least 100 hours into the first title and even replayed a good chunk of it immediately after.
Now, there was another King’s Bounty title that came out – Armored Princess. This can all get a bit confusing. Legend came first. Then Armored Princess, and lastly Crossworlds. Legend is standalone from these titles, but Crossworlds is an actual addon to Armored Princess – you need Armored Princess to play it. The menu then gets a bit confusing because it offers you the chance to play either title. In my opinion? Don’t bother with Armored Princess. Crossworlds is the same title, with more quests, regions and troops.
It also offers a somewhat quicker ‘arena’ mode that cuts out the storyline and travel. It’s like getting a distilled version of the game’s mechanics by giving you progression and combat without the filler. It’s a neat idea, but I actually like my exploration and storyline so that is where I spent the bulk of my time.
The game still forces you to play in full screen mode, which I tend to find annoying, but it’s not a deal breaker by any means, especially since most people prefer to play in that mode. For starters, the tone of this title is a bit more serious than Legend’s. You start off with your castle and kingdom under dire demon attack, and you are your kingdom’s last hope as you are magically whisked away to another world to find help.
The map layouts are much better in this title, in my opinion. Instead of a huge landmass that requires hours of backtracking, instead the game is played out on islands that each present their own unique paths, quests and adventures, but they feel better contained and the ability to quickly travel from one to the other by ship is a welcome change. It is easy to find a map and make your way to an island you’re not prepared for yet level-wise, but you can simply embark to a new one.
The new troops are a welcome addition, and the spirits of rage are reduced to a single dragon who you choose as a pet early on. The same principle applies, but there are some new talents available to it, but you still build rage through combat and use your dragon to unleash those abilities. I used a warrior in Legend, so I went with a wizard this time. It’s clear both have their perks, but I have to say that I am enjoying the wizard a bit more this time around.
If you liked the first title, this is more of the same but better. If you like turn-based strategy games, this might be of interest then as well. I read recently that the company is working on another sequel to this series and I for one am looking forward to it. One thing that really got me was the visual style of this game. I recall when this and its prior iterations came out, quite a few review sites were unimpressed with the visuals, and while they are perhaps not the most detailed ever, the use of color and overall level of animation taking place in the backgrounds stis well with me. Overall I rated legend an 8.5 and I feel comfortable doing the same for this very similar but entertaining title, which has me looking forward to the next release.