Review: King's Bounty II
By: Laura Collins (Blu3Rizing)
Developer: 1C Entertainment
Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
After never having a chance to play the original King’s Bounty II that was originally released on the SEGA Genesis in the early 90s, one cannot possibly imagine how excited I was when the chance arose to try the title on the Nintendo Switch. Given my love for most things involving turn-based RPGs and remade titles, this seemed like a dream come true.
On starting King’s Bounty II, you are given the choice of three heroes: Aivar the Warrior, Katharine the Mage, or Elisa the Paladin. Each of these characters has different stats and abilities, based on their class. The story doesn’t really change no matter how you pick, but for my fellow magic-based preference players, it is worth noting that the Warrior has none for himself aside from scrolls that can be used during battle.
Once the story begins, you find yourself in the kingdom of Nostria, having just been released from prison for a mission of the utmost priority and importance. You are claimed to be the last real hope for the kingdom and on release, find that the kingdom has been plagued with treachery, conspiracy, and general disquiet and dispute amongst the populace all over Nostria.
You, as your unlikely hero, are tasked with building an unstoppable army, from their recruitment to their development and deployment. These recruits each have their own class and do best when paired with others of the same class as they do not get along well. This made the experience more immersive and kept to the lore of King’s Bounty II, as they would not have been of like mind in any case, which would also decrease morale and the chances of victory in battles.
In turn, this also raised the tactical thought required to create and supplement the army in order to derive the best possible collaboration of units, very much important as Nostria's last hope and even more so given you don’t have a choice of which unit moves and in which order they move in. You also have no real control over your chosen character in battle, as they watch and cast spells or skills from the sidelines; both of these things a vast difference from what I’d become used to during my love for the Fire Emblem and other similar series.
If you’re not careful, you’re likely to find yourself, much like I did, traversing the map back and forth when I came across an enemy that I wasn’t quite prepared for, which could be quite a time-consuming endeavor, given the character’s slow pace, which often seemed just a bit faster than the speed of the mount that you acquire.
That being said, there was certainly no lack of side quests, things to do, and people to talk to through my travels to keep me busy and ever-increasing rewards, experience, and leadership level. Increasing leadership level made it so that more units could be hired and kept of the same type and was also the only way to recruit more powerful units. Such that I was almost always ready when I went back to the previously offending battle of higher difficulty.
Your choices in these quests determine the class of points that you acquired upon completion, those being Finesse, Power, Anarchy, and Order. In turn, these points allowed you to level up and use skill points in the skill tree that corresponded with those awarded points. This made it great if you were trying to stick to one specific playstyle and less encouraged to jump back and forth between the skill trees or play a more balanced character, which tends to be my own default.
Despite some complaints of overall performance and a few quirks, I feel that most of the voice acting and the story itself, coupled with how vast and full the world was, more than makes King’s Bounty II worth looking into for anyone with a passion for the genre.