King's Bounty

Let’s start with the good news: the tactical component of King’s Bounty 2 generally works roughly as expected. Turn-based battles on F95zone, units move taking into account speed and initiative, their abilities and perks must be taken into account, and once a round you can use the book of magic. The battles themselves, as promised by the developers, have become noticeably less. But with new design elements and the fact that arenas are handcrafted rather than randomly generated, many of them feel like puzzles. 

Before each collision, at the moment of placing units, the player has the opportunity to study the battlefield and think over tactics: “ The enemy arrows are located here, you need to arrange the troops so that they do not come under fire. The attacks of fast mounted units must meet units with strong defenses. On strong melee units, we castan acceleration to close the distance, while the mages will occupy the tactical height in the meantime. Go! 

Then you have to quickly respond to the constantly changing situation on the battlefield. And if the chosen tactic works and losses can be minimized, or even completely reduced to zero, the feeling of one’s own contribution to victory will be very pleasant. This gameplay loop and constant progress in leveling and strength of the army is enough to keep you interested from battle to battle.

One of the most disturbing mechanical changes seemed to be the new magic system. Recall that the hero’s mana in King’s Bounty 2 is not restored after a battle, but is a limited resource that can be obtained for winning a battle, found in chests or received for completing a quest. There was a feeling that by limiting the use of a familiar tool, the developers were driving the player into some not very comfortable framework.

So, we report: judging by the first hours of the game, for combat classes, the limitation on mana will not be a problem at all. A warrior, apparently, does not shine to learn high-level spells anyway, and there is enough magical energy for the cast of simple, but useful buffs / debuffs. By the time of this writing, having made his way through dozens of battles and not being particularly shy about opening the book of spells, our warrior has saved more than five hundred units of mana. For context: exactly two units are spent on the first level healing cast.

For a magician, the situation is somewhat different, this class generally seems to be the most unique of the whole trinity. He cannot collect a large army, like HuniePop 2, and he cannot pump up primary skills, like a warrior, so he has to rely on a magic book more often than usual. Accordingly, mana management will become much more important and difficult. Passing as a mage seems like a risky but exciting endeavor. Whether the game is balanced enough for this will become clear only after the release and at the later stages of the passage.

It is also unclear whether the squad cap mechanic will pass the toughness test. In the first hours of the game, it does not create any problems at all, if only because the protagonist’s leadership that determines the size of the army is not yet too great. And the system of pumping units and an endless reserve for additional units, on the contrary, make the selection of troops for a specific battle much more exciting and, importantly, convenient. But what will happen when the number of fighters in the main units runs into a tight limit?

The developers’ stake on the role-playing component looks a little less convincing. The plot is intriguing in the first hours of the game, but does not have time to really unfold. The dialogues are bearable, but nothing more, and, unfortunately, there are not so many bright characters and scenes. The humoresques that occasionally slip in the notes or optional tasks are sometimes amusing, but on the whole they look faded against the background of the same “Legend of the Knight” .

Quests often present opportunities for non-linear passage, but taking into account the pumping ideology built on the system and the fact that the player always knows in which ideology the game will write this or that action, his decisions will most likely be subordinated not to role-playing, but to numbers in menu. If you urgently need to pump a few points into the ideology of order in order to unlock an important skill, it would be logical to solve the next quest in a law-abiding manner.

Conclusion:

Hoh, perhaps the strangest battle took place in the dungeons under Marcellus. There the player is met almost for the first time by impressive detachments of the undead. Bearing in mind that watering skeletons with arrows is not the most productive activity, it was decided to meet the melee attacks of enemies with tanks that had left in defense – dwarves with shields and thick-skinned bears. In the rearguard, there was only one long-range squad left – healers with an increased attack on undead. Imagine the surprise when the ghouls also decided not to move and each move went to defense. Of course, the sorceresses easily shot them, and not a single friendly detachment received damage. It is especially offensive that this battle initially looked quite thoughtful: a cramped arena, powerful enemy formations a couple of moves from the player’s initial positions, one squad on the flank … The developers clearly provided space for tactics here. But something went wrong.