King’s Bounty II is a bold and ambitious sequel to a two-decade (going on three!) year old tactical based RPG that is adored by critics and fans alike, which manages to maintain the magic of the original whilst revolutionizing the series and propelling it to new heights.
As someone who is not exactly an expert on the game’s lore, I was thrown into the deep end of the sprawling open world that is the kingdom of Nostria as it is plunged into political chaos, which, in classic RPG fashion, only the player is able to save it. The gameplay and, in particular, tactical based combat are significantly more nuanced than it may seem at first, with a steep learning curve that offers an opportunity to experiment with which strategies are best to deploy at certain times against. Not every battle is smooth sailing as you might expect, and I would say the majority are simply a course of trial and error which can be frustrating at times since, after each loss, we are sent packing without the units who died in the battle. This means we are often caught in a slightly tedious cycle of quests that can start to feel repetitive after a decent number of hours. However, this also offers us an opportunity to refine our skills. With more time spent, I started to gain a clearer grasp of the information hud, which, whilst not perfect, can help turn the tide of battle when used correctly.
The world is meticulously crafted and ensures every environmental set piece (some of which are up there with the best I have ever seen in a game) and drop of land has a purpose that enhances the experience rather than bog it down. I had a slight problem with the quality of some of the voice acting largely down to the characters they had been paired too which did not match the performance, but I found this easily forgivable in the context of the scale and scope of what 1C Publishing was aiming to and for the most part successfully achieved.
I am extremely impressed with the state the preview is in with no major (or very many minor) bugs presented, and with the launch just about a month away, this is a great sign for things to come on that end. The game, unfortunately, does not feature the ability to rebind keys as of, yet which led to some uncomfortable experiences adjusting to their layout and something I would expect to be rectified before launch – particularly on pc.
Overall, this is a game I have had an absolute blast playing and whilst I was initially unsure, and I plan to pick it up within the first few days of its release due to a fascinating storyline that stuck true to RPG traditions whilst enticing us with its own fascinating tale filled to the brim with intrigue and shock, a marvellously stunning world to adore filled with life in every corner and a terrific take on nuanced tactical combat which whilst challenging, never becomes a grind due to it being rewarding of our time.