King’s Bounty II Review

A title screen with a royal emblem

The Russian gaming industry has been “buried” for a decade now. I won’t go into the details and reasons for this incident in this material. However, it is important to remind, as rising from the ashes is not an easy task.

So, King’s Bounty II becomes the second attempt to rethink one of the most legendary games of 1990 It is KB who is the father of the “Heroes of Might and Magic” series. Surprisingly, this fact still eludes many, despite our audience’s love for the previous iteration of KB (The Legend of the Knight (2008), Princess in Armor (2009), Crossroads of Worlds (2010)) by Katauri Interactive.

Perhaps it is worth mentioning right away that the number in the title does not hint at a continuation – it would be strange to name the game simply “King’s Bounty” for the third time… and everyone is already confused!

I myself embraced the new look and change of accents with great interest. The fairytale atmosphere of the previous games, combined with plenty of humor in the dialogues, was certainly enjoyable. But the endless add-ons that brought no new ideas eventually put the series in a deadlock.

A vast world with diverse landscapes

With new strength

King’s Bounty II immediately shows the player that there will be plenty of changes. The desire to joke here is a rare occurrence. The slightly cartoonish graphic style has been replaced with a quite realistic one. The camera has descended from the sky to the ground, positioning itself behind the hero.

There are still three protagonists. The warrior primarily relies on the strength of the army. The mage, on the other hand, compensates for limited military talents with the power of spells. And the paladin is essentially something in between these classes. That’s why I am playing the game as a paladin, sticking to tradition this time as well.

The heroes now differ not only in their talents but also in their personalities. Each of them actively reacts to the events happening and communicates with others in their own way. The paladin, for example, stands out with a certain degree of naivety and a striving for higher ideals.

A multitude of game mechanics revolves around the idea of so-called “focuses”. There are four of them – order, anarchy, power, and artistry. Each focus has a scale, and accumulating points on it unlocks access to stronger talents in that branch. Many quests, in turn, offer several solutions according to one of these focuses. In the mage school, one student will ask us to forge grades in the journal. We can help him (earning anarchy points) or tell the professor about the student’s plans (earning order points).

A skills or abilities screen

Only the dead are going into battle..

The combat system also relies partially on tactics. Creatures are divided into 4 conditional factions. Brave knights and mages have inherited order, a motley crew of undead and bandits are under the banner of anarchy, strength unites animals and dwarves, and artistry consists of different elementals and similar creatures. However, creatures of different factions do not get along well in the same army, mutually lowering the morale of the troops.

The battles themselves take place on a familiar field divided into hexes. We no longer lead armies of thousands of demons and hundreds of dragons into battle. The average squad in King’s Bounty 2 consists of 5-10 creatures. At first, this prospect may seem disappointing, but later this feature reveals itself from a very interesting perspective. Battles in the game have become very positional. If an enemy squad is standing in an adjacent cell, we can no longer easily change position, as almost all creatures have a zone of control. In a situation where our squad is adjacent to 2 enemy squads, if we attempt to move to a new position, it will first be hit by EVERY adjacent squad, and only then will it move… if there is anyone left by that time.

Intense turn-based battle

The landscape matters – archers on high ground gain an advantage, and obstacles on the field help to hide from the sight of shooters. The battles themselves resemble puzzles, where you need to choose the right composition of troops, strategically position them on the battlefield, and find a winning tactic. Mindlessly sending squads forward won’t work here.

At first, these features can be irritating and seem excessively hardcore – I have lost entire squads more than once simply by forgetting about the control zone. But after a period of adaptation, the depth of the combat truly starts to please. Due to the small number of units in a squad, you really feel the loss of each fighter. Conversely, a battered squad can deal fatal damage to a high-level enemy squad by killing one of its two creatures. Such a move can change the outcome of the battle.

Walks in Nostrya

Outside of battles, King’s Bounty II aims to appear as a full-fledged modern RPG. There are side quests, exploration of large locations in search of resources with artifacts, and even generously scattered notes with the lore of the game world.

The story, although not brilliant, is logical and capable of capturing interest. The main thing is not to lose the thread of the narrative, as game designers constantly pull you out of the main storyline and throw you into the open world to gain experience in side quests. After all, the difficulty of the story battles often prevents progress without accumulating enough experience for a couple of upgrades.

Engaging story and questlines

The artists worked brilliantly – the design of the locations is impressive, and you want to believe in this world. But the project’s budget constraints sometimes prevent you from being deceived. The whole game world wants to be compared to Pinocchio – he really wants to be alive, feels like it, and has great ambitions. However, on the outside, he appears very wooden. There are numerous technological flaws, and the interactivity in the world is minimal – you will stumble upon a bucket firmly attached to the floor, while listening to the same dialogue without any facial expressions for the hundredth time. hint at a mockup Two NPCs, who repeat it in a circle every time you pass by again (even if you’ve walked literally 200 meters away and returned in 2 minutes).

Since the first presentations, I’ve wanted to complain about the interface. It’s completely tasteless, designed in the style of mobile games, and in battle it doesn’t provide enough information. It’s just not right.

You can read about the character’s movement speed in ten other reviews, so I don’t want to focus on that. Especially since this problem surprisingly didn’t bother me much. After all, I want to immerse myself in the world, even if it’s difficult.

A majestic and fortified castle

I want to love King’s Bounty II, but I have to do it against my will. The game has potential, but it requires motivation from the player. However, the efforts put into it pay off and KB II has something to offer. Let’s hope that the return of the renowned tactical series with just one game will not be limited.

King’s Bounty II
PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Tactics, Turn-Based, Strategy
1C Entertainment
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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