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Last month, we had a few opportunities to check out several hands-off previews for 1C Entertainment's upcoming King's Bounty II, currently scheduled for an August 24, 2021 release. But now, we can follow those up with some proper impressions thanks to a new round of hands-on previews. Have a look:
It's early days. I would imagine that since 1C have already planned out the day one patch and the game is releasing in around one and a half months, the game is all but complete. These are the final stages and what I've seen, except for a few bugs like falling through the floor or my money going into the negative one screen but not another when I bought an item (double charged me, the thieving git), is positive.
The world seems dense, not being open for the sake of being open, the story extensive and varied, and the combat being engagingly tactical. I've played the King's Bounty series a long time now, and this feels that it could be a genuine successor that expands the scope of the franchise.
There is a lot to like about King’s Bounty II on paper, but after a few hours with it some concern is creeping in. The commitment to bring a big open world adventure to the turn-based strategy games space is one they get right in form, but not always in function. The bread-and-butter combat is rewarding if you have the patience to weather its steep learning curve and are willing to work around some of its chokepoints, but it can be a devastating challenge for all but the most determined strategy gamers.
Concluding, I've found my time playing a preview of King's Bounty II generally enjoyable, but not without some recurring annoyances. I praise the game world's detail and the treat of unique areas wherever you go, either in the RPG part of the game or when doing a turn-based battle. Combat is challenging and there are plenty of different units, backed by a complex system of upgrades and unit classes. However, choices in the storyline feel limited and you're practically forced to complete side quests, as your army is too weak to continue the battles in the main storyline. Still, if you're into adventure and appreciate when a game's core elements are solidly worked out, King's Bounty II should be on your list of considerations.
Trouble is, my mind keeps wandering back to The Witcher 3. While there's plenty to admire in the battling part of King's Bounty 2, its third-person questing and exploration has, so far at least, left me feeling a bit cold. There's still time for 1C Publishing to prove me wrong, of course, and if you're here for the battles over the quests and roleplaying then this could be right up your street. As an RPG liker, though, I worry that King's Bounty 2 isn't quite doing enough to make it stand out from the crowd here. We'll find out for sure come August 21st.
I'm overall optimistic about King's Bounty 2. It seems like it wants to keep the game's tradition alive with rich storytelling and a detailed fantasy world. But it's also accommodating to newcomers like me thanks to in-depth tutorials that do a good job of explaining the game's fundamentals. And with so much written and spoken content to do with lore, the world created here is already taking up a spot in my head.