The long-awaited King’s Bounty 2 has finally arrived on our screens! Take note that this is a title that seeks to revitalize its brand after over 20 years of life. This is thanks to the partnership between 1C Entertainment and Prime Matter, the new Koch Media label. King’s Bounty 2 does not abandon its turn-based tactical RPG soul while trying to take alternative paths. The core of the game is hex grid combat, where you deploy your troops and special powers. The developers want to inaugurate a new branch of the franchise by implementing a narrative and exploratory sector that brings the entire work closer to more acclaimed and wide-ranging fantasy sagas. By doing this, the game will immerse you in a more mature and layered fashion. Here is my King’s Bounty 2 review on PC.
KINGDOM OF NOSTRIA
From dilapidated villages to the wildest expanses, passing through abandoned ruins and sumptuous cities. There is not a single detail of the game world that you cannot admire with awe and surprise. While not boasting a graphics sector of the latest generation, Nostria is beautiful from any point you look at. Nostria is a work of profession and excellent craftsmanship made of texture and soul.
They artfully built it in every single detail. Nostria is also satisfying for your curiosity needs. There are secret trunks and hidden passages in every unthinkable corner of King’s Bounty 2. Here you can find money and useful tools for your adventure. Take note that 1C Entertainment’s title is not an open-world in the strict sense because of several invisible walls and pre-defined paths.
However, it is still really so gratifying to get lost in a forest or in the maze of alleys of one of the big cities. There are many places to visit, but they are all generally small and with really irrelevant distances between them. Is this feature good or bad? It depends a bit on the situations. There is a lot to do and explore, and it is certainly positive. But, on the narrative level, you might wonder.
For example, when an NPC tells you he does not want to travel to the city next door for fear of bandits, you lose a little suspension of disbelief. This is because the aforementioned city is literally 10 steps away from him. To accompany your adventures in the Kingdom of Nostria, there is an arcane mystery to be solved. This is the arrival of an ancient ancestral evil that only you can put a stop to.
As you may have guessed, the plot of King’s Bounty 2 is nothing more than a classic fantasy story with a good dose of mysteries to solve. However, you have some freedom of choice as the story unfolds. The results of these choices, however, aim mostly at advancing the statistics of the character and his morality system rather than having a real consistent effect on the narrative path.
CONQUER THE BATTLEFIELD
The setting is certainly the highest expression of King’s Bounty 2, but this does not mean that the game does not have other noteworthy points of interest. Let’s start with turn-based combat. In the start, I was a bit perplexed. The battles did not seem to offer many great ideas. Each unit has its particularities made of statistics and passive abilities plus one or rarely two that you can activate.
This only seemed to affect the fate of a battle with a slight interference of the character’s powers. It felt like a fight that was a little too basic in its mechanics. This was a little strange for a game that has a long tradition of tactical depth. If all this is very true in the first moments of the game, the situation changes after the first few levels. Here you get to face fights on more inaccessible terrain, with tougher enemies, and more difficult situations to face.
In King’s Bounty 2, it is the management of the battlefield that makes the biggest difference to the fate of combat. 1C Entertainment’s decision regarding the fight scenes left me a little dumbfounded. Yet, after having spent tens of hours on King’s Bounty 2, I can approve this choice with flying colors. By moving the tactics on the battlefield and not on statistics and levels, the player’s strategic thinking has shifted to an intelligible game of numbers and symbols.
This does not mean that you must not consider the type of troop, its rank, and its abilities. This technical choice of the developers also becomes quite clear when the combat areas are a really nice level design. There are heights, gradients, and obstacles that will transform each hexagonal chessboard into a complex work of art. You must study each part of the game in order to exploit it to the best of your possibilities.
AS SLOW AS A SNAIL
The fascination of world-building would be nothing without the many creatures and troops within King’s Bounty 2. Another interesting element that strangely distinguishes a strategic game is the detailed clothing of the player that always reflects the objects worn and equipped. As I’ve described it so far, 1C Entertainment’s title really looks like a great strategy video game, and it really is, but it’s not without its flaws.
The main HUD, to begin with, is a bit ugly and inelegant. It clashes a lot with the setting and annoys exploration. Even with reading a message, for example, it’s a bit alienating to read everything on a blue block instead of facing a parchment texture. Overall, the character is too slow. This would not bother you if there weren’t a lot of backtracking to do to continue from mission to mission.
I mean, they also made Nostria for beautiful walks. However, here, the walks are beautiful the first time, not the next thirty. Using the horse speeds up some passages, but the invisible walls of the paths are in the way since the creature has an unresponsive and unconvincing control system. In addition, you cannot even use the mount at normal speed in cities. This makes your movement even more frustrating.
Luckily, there are shrines that act as checkpoints for fast travel. However, there are some areas, like markets, which you will visit very often, that are far from these points. This slowness of movement, in reality, also reflects in the slow start of the game. My advice is to endure the first few hours of King’s Bounty 2 with gritted teeth, because afterwards it will be really worth it.
BUILDING YOUR RANKS
In King’s Bounty 2, there is an excellent system of scores and talents based on the two axes of order: anarchy and power. Take note that they blended this well with the provision of skills and new mechanics inside and outside the fight. Something that 1C Entertainment must resolve in future support is definitely the money balance.
This is essential to replenish the ranks of your armies, both to re-establish them and to buy new units. However, frequently it seemed a bit too unbalanced in default. It happens quite often that after a battle, you spend more money than you earn to treat wounded or deceased troops. Then things get complicated if you also consider the movement factor mentioned above.
You purchase your units at the markets, and there are really a lot of them scattered around different points in the game world. The problem is that on the map, the game does not mark which troops are from one trader or another. So you should go by heart or, worse, by walking from market to market. A nightmare! The drama, however, comes when you want to try a new type of army.
When doing this, take note that your new army won’t be as strong. This means almost certain death, because you have already completed all the simpler challenges with your stronger army. Now the challenges are more difficult as enemies do not regenerate in the game world.
King’s Bounty 2 is a truly beautiful game with interesting gameplay insights and exquisite artistic inspirations. I absolutely recommend that you try the game whether you like strategy games or enjoy fantasy works. Despite its pleasant features, this title does not seem very user-friendly at some points. Fortunately, all the negative points I have mentioned are fixable issues.
I haven’t encountered a lot of bugs on PC other than some frame drops in an advanced game area. 1C Entertainment announced that there will be DLC and modular updates, as well as new titles. So besides the technical support of this video game, I hope to find new captivating proposals soon.
Do you want to try 1C Entertainment’s King’s Bounty 2? What do you think of my King’s Bounty 2 review on PC? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. Are you interested in more games? Check out our reviews for 12 Minutes, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, Death’s Door, F1 2021, Castle Flipper, Miitopia, and Hood: Outlaws & Legends.
King’s Bounty 2
Getting lost in Nostria is a pleasure. It's a lot of fun fighting on rough terrain on a hexagonal board, mixing humanoid troops with beasts and monsters. The few defects found can be resolved quickly. The gameplay puts strategy at its center, adding a slightly more mature and engaging narrative than usual!
- The game world is amazing
- The strategic impact is felt a lot
- A classic fantasy story
- Side quests complementary to the main ones
- Very slow start and a bit confusing
- Not very user-friendly in some areas
- Slow exploration