LifeisXbox’s King’s Bounty II review | When turn-based strategy meets RPG? I would imagine grandeur all around. Huge sprawling cities, big massive and beefy armies for you to command with a huge and deep storyline paired with mind-boggling dialog options. Customization options up the wazoo… So on and so forth… And, seeing that King’s Bounty I was kind of a thing, granting the option for a sequel? I would imagine it to be a pretty good game all around, no? Developed by 1C Publishing EU and brought to us by Koch Media, King’s Bounty II tells the story of you, the protagonist, being the last savior of Nostria. As the hero, you get to choose between 3 personas. A warrior, a Mage, and a Paladin. Being the knight that I am in real life (yes, Maui, this is true!) I obviously chose the valorous Paladin to introduce me to the game’s story. What I found, wasn’t really what I was expecting it to be, sadly enough. Though the game tends to look pretty big and jam-packed? It couldn’t really grab a hold of me… Want to know why? Then don on your favorite sash, saddle up your horse and prepare to ride with me, fellow knights. For this is our review of… King’s Bounty II.
ℹ️ | We played King’s Bounty II for 7 hours on the Xbox Series X. This game is also available on Switch – Playstation – PC
What we liked!
- A lot of content… (1/2): Right out of the gate, King’s Bounty II throws a lot at you. There’s always something to read every 100 meters or so. Albeit a notice paper on the town’s notice board, a book laying around, or a scroll that you find amidst some pile of debris. Needless to say, on the lore department? 1C Publishing did an AMAZING job fleshing out the game. Having a hard time finding a quest in other open-world games? Not to worry, because chad King’s Bounty II’s got you covered as well. I couldn’t find a quest every few meters or so. It felt as if the entire kingdom of Nostria was helpless without my valiant aid. Fetch an amulet or gather some praised chickens? No problem dear sir/madam. I, the valiant Alexis shall bring you thine requested item, or kill thy enemy. So believe me, you’ll have a LOT of sidequests to run around with if you ever tire from the main storyline!
- Quest options: And while I’m on the subject of quests? Did I tell you that some quests can differ? Not every quest of course, but you do get the option in how you treat quite a few of them. This can be from either choosing to take on a battle head-on or gather ingredients to concoct a conjuring potion to aid your struggles. Or, defeat a thief that is holding a … Yes, I’m going to say it, cock (the bird!) hostage by sitting on it… Well, technically not ON it, he’s sitting on a barrel where this bird is under or talking with the cities magistrate to help deal with this menace. How do these quests end differently? I don’t know, but you’ve got multiple paths to go on, it’s up to you on how you deal with things!
- Easy TBS: If you’re looking for an easy TBS that has been released recently, and that looks a bit more mature than Fort Triumph (be sure to read that review as well if TBS is your thing), then you mostly won’t be disappointed with the curvature that King’s Bounty II offers. The battles are straightforward and don’t pose too much of a thinking strategy. While you can really go in-depth with this as well. You can try to find certain synergies between your magic powers and certain types of units. But that doesn’t have to be a mandatory thing with King’s Bounty II. You can, in all sense of the word, bash your way through it if you really want to. But that wouldn’t be all that fortunate for you though. Because if your unit loses every guy in it? It’ll also lose the built-up XP. So, you might not want to go full Cromagnon on the sorry bastards that are your enemy.
- Choose your army: Build your army, the way you want to build it. There are 4 unit banners. Order, Power, Anarchy and Finesse. Under these banners, different types of unit options are possible. Do you want to be a necromancer? No problem, the undead has got your back. Feeling rather elementaly? Don’t worry, there’s an option for you! Want to be “all boots on the ground”? Check! Keep in mind though, that while you do get to have free will on how you build your army? To also keep the unit’s morale in check. While you can technically combine everything, there will always be a penalty if you’re combining two different banners. But let that not hold you back though! This can be perfectly offset by spending talent points in the talent tree, to make your army more compatible with said different banner.
- … That feels kind of empty (2/2): Sadly, I can only describe most of the content like this. Imagine you standing in front of a huge buffet, filled with everything that you can imagine. You take a few pieces of it on your plate, the food smelling delicious and looking absolutely great. You take your fork, and the piece that you are going for just oozes delicious goodness. You finally take that bite and… Nothing. No taste, no juices, nothing. Just a puff of sale air, and nothing more. That’s how it felt during the hours that I played. The quests, the world, the lore… Everything? Felt big, yet lacking in spirit! The world, while colorful, felt dry and boring. There are vast stretches of land just devoid of anything really interesting. The NPCs mostly just stand there, looking at each other sheepishly without one word. On the off chance, they do speak? You’ll come to hear a pretty bland story… On repeat. There just is this lack of life, that final oomph.
- Messy UI: I just couldn’t come to enjoy the UI or inventory system. Everything just felt awkward and clunky. The navigation in the menus is experienced as clunky and overall unpleasant. The switching between the left and right sides of the inventory is cumbersome at best. I don’t know who pulled the trigger on this one, but… yeah. It doesn’t feel all too well thought through.
- Visually not all that great: King’s Bounty II is created with the Unreal Engine, so I was expecting it to look really good. Sadly enough, it doesn’t… Shadows clip through bodies in, for example, cutscenes. While NPC’s have a high tendency to look exactly the same. There was an instance where I found two NPCs sitting right next to each other. Looking exactly alike, except for the shirt. Which was green instead of red. The verbal motion of the mouth doesn’t look all too real as well, giving the player a look of “oh no, I just got a stick stuck up my behind, but keep it cool”. It’s a shame, it had a lot of potentials to look great, yet for some reason, they chose to look “meh” and being okay with it.
- Where’s the music?: Ehm… Excuse me? Is my volume even on? Am I missing something in my game files? Or does it feel as if there is just no music, at all, during your wanderings through the world of Nostria? The one thing that could have livened up the place… Is absent? Why? There were a few instances where music WAS playing, but I just can’t recall it being so during my running about.
- LET ME RUN: This! All of this!! There isn’t any RUN function! When you are in a town, your stroll goes from slow to extra slow. And get this guys. There is even a WALK button. I have no clue why anyone would want to walk when your regular speed already equals a snail’s pace … And if you think that there is a huge speed increase when you walk out of the town or building you are in? Then think again. Your speedbump goes from extra to just… Slow. Sure, you could take the horse that is granted to you… But that handles like a tank, not improving on the gaming experience as a whole, sadly enough…
What we disliked
- Actually nothing…: While King’s Bounty does have a few short comings, it is in no sense of the words bad or horrible. Its just a “meh” game, and probably won’t be a high flier, and that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with being just okay.
How long to beat the story | 20+ hours?
How long to achieve 1000G | Probably double the length of the story, my best guess.
Similar with | King’s Bounty I
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