Developer – 1C Entertainment
Publisher – Deep Silver
Platforms – PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch
Classic PC adventure games for a good long while seemed as if they went the way of the RTS. Seminal, classic genre’s of games that seemingly vanished as PC’s grew to mainstream numbers and controllers and console ports grew more numerous.
Kings Bounty, Neverwinter, Ultima and more used to occupy entire shelves at old gaming stores in the early 90’s. Rarely ported to consoles, these games thrived and provided a unique experience adjacent to RTS and Flight Sim PC only titles at the time.
As the genre developed, the hunt for the right gimmick increased. We saw everything from develop from scratch. Ultima Online took the style online. Dragon Force on the Saturn tried with a blend of awesome real time map movements with 2d sprite battles. The amount of games that occupied this space were numerous.
Kings Bounty: The Legend released in 2008, on a decline of not only adventure games but, PC only genre’s as a whole. It did a great job though, of performing a spiritual sequel more than 18 years after the original titles release. It really brought so many different styles together, from exploration, turn based combat and tons of story and characters to meet and interact with.
Kings Bounty 2 looks to build off that, and provide a huge shot in the arm to classic adventure RPG’s, regardless of platform.
Playing as different leaders provided a unique choice of play style. The characters all deal with the same over arching story but have a lot of key differences with skills and character relationships. These leaders actually provided the bulk of the game’s variety in my preview time. Each one had a special look, voice, and a multitude of different buffs and areas of expertise that touched the entire span of the game.
Kings Bounty 2’s unique flair and outstanding visual presentation aside, it also features substantial gameplay changes to each piece of it’s game. world navigation and turn based combat return, with both feeling like smaller evolution’s of systems the series has had in the past.
Thankfully, the weakest aspect of the previous game, the exploration has seen the biggest overhaul. ditching the isometric camera for a much more cinematic, third person perspective really helps bring the world to life.
Right away the world, factions and characters themselves stand out more. More unique traits and flair help them standout compared to the previous games. Each location is unique, and even light puzzle elements are featured to benefit those who take the time to explore all of their surroundings.
The entire game essentially follows on the original premise. You pick one of three main characters, and embark on a journey to fight with fractured kingdoms against a growing evil spreading across the land.
You will partake in a non linear based story where every choice will matter. Actions you perform will change how factions perceive you. some will align, and some may decide a different fate if your actions don’t satisfy what they look for in a leader.
It’s a fun mechanic, and it really provides a bridge that make the different forms of gameplay come together. Every choice in one area will have an effect on the other. Even more than different kingdoms and unit types. Those choices are what drive the gameplay variety and already want me to experiment with completely different builds and play styles for subsequent sessions.
The bit I played only let me go so far, so in a few weeks I will be able to give my full review. For now, 1C has done a great job of bringing the classic adventure rpg back. King’s Bounty 2 is shaping up to make good on the legacy of it’s predecessor.