Developed by 1C Entertainment and Published by Koch Media GmbH, Kings Bounty 2 has tried to combine a storytelling RPG with a tactical strategy game which unfortunately hasn’t worked too well. The game is graphically interesting, and whilst the character designs are not breath-taking some decisions around how NPC’s behave and how foliage flies through the air are a nice touch. But I hope you have some time on your hands because movement is slow and the room to explore is vast.
You start by choosing one of three heroes; either a Warrior, Mage or Paladin. The relevance of the class is somewhat diminished by the fact your character does not fight. Instead, they command an army of troops from the sideline. What’s more confusing is you can equip your character with different weapons and armour that they won’t use – instead they provide stat increases to your commanding ability. Nothing says I cant lead my army better with a big sword rather than a crossbow right? Regardless, you discover your hero has been imprisoned, with the details around this coming later on. Short story: it seems a wizard has claimed you are the hero prophesied to save the world. Said wizard then disappears and as he pointed at you it seems you were imprisoned based on his claim. But now, your commanding skills are needed as there is a lot of evil arising and they believe you might be the key to putting an end to it.
Controlling things in KB2 is simple enough but the menu for the inventory or your troops is not explained very well. Your character moves at a dawdling pace which will make you angrily rage for a run button or something to make them go faster. Considering the game encourages you to explore the lands by putting loot caches in tucked away areas, it makes the slow pace movement all the more infuriating. It is slightly remedied when you get your horse, but your horse steers like an oversized canoe trying to navigate a narrow stretch of water. Not only that, you cannot interact with anything whilst on your horse and as soon as your horse enters a city it trots slower than your character walks. Thankfully they included fast travel stones but also added an annoying restriction that you can only fast travel from one stone to another, so you have a slow jog or steer your horse canoe to a fast travel stone before you can use it.
The dialogue seems a bit off for me too. They all have very varied accents, and some performances are way better than others. As there is a strong lean on the RPG side of this game you would expect more choices to be present, but there doesn’t seem to be any so your character responds in respect to your chosen characters personality – if you think they have one that is. The menu as I mentioned earlier needed more work in my eyes. The inventory has multiple sort options but they don’t seem to make a difference. The skill tree screen was briefly described in the game but essentially you have your 4 main areas which define how you plan your strategy. There is Order, Anarchy, Power, and Finesse. These areas affect your quest options, conversation options and, depending on where you place your skill points, your battles.
Now the battle section of the game is what made Kings Bounty stand out previously. I haven’t played that before, but I have played Fell Seal (also by 1C) and I enjoyed that game a lot. Visually, they have done something clever where certain battles with enemies have a glowing ring around them – when you get close to the ring the enemies ride close to you as if they are coming to face you down which is cool. As you enter the battle the screen pans to a top-down view and your army of troops takes the field. The correct troops, placement, magical scrolls and making use of obstacles are all key to a winning strategy.
Now I really struggled with progression in KB2. The strategy battles are clearly the best part of this game but there aren’t nearly enough of them. I put in a few hours doing a lot of fetch quests and other side quests to earn gold to buy better troops. Some of the main quests lead you to battles obviously, and this game gives you a nice heads up with a comparison of your army vs theirs. It will specify if the enemy army is weaker, equal, or stronger than yours. Two of the main quests I am doing require me to get past two enemies that are much stronger than mine. I tried to battle them and I lost and lost all my troops, meaning I was sent back to the nearest fast travel stone. I now have what’s left in my reserve army and what’s left of my gold to rebuild an army to fight again, and it won’t be as strong as my first army so I am a bit stuck. It would have made sense if there was a weaker enemy to fight and grind my level up so I can level the playing field but that is missing here. You can save before each battle and reload if you fail but there is little fun in that as you have to hope you get lucky in the battle.
Maybe I am playing the game wrong or maybe I’m not the strategist other games led me to believe I was, but with nowhere to grind and no difficulty setting in this game I found the playthrough halted due to over powerful enemies. Maybe I just have the wrong troops but there was not enough guidance on which troops are better than others. I used the troops to the order and power factions I put my skills into as I thought that made sense. But that doesn’t seem to make a difference or enough of a difference in battle.
Kings Bounty 2 have tried to add a compelling story and RPG element to this game and it hasn’t been executed very well. The slow-moving character is morale-sapping at times and it is only the strategy battle element that saves it. But considering I got to a point where the enemy is so much stronger than me and there is no way to grind or lower the difficulty, I suspect others may also find themselves giving up in frustration well before the end.Become a Patron!
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox Series X/S. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.