King's Bounty II Review

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Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:1C Company
Release Date:2021-08-24
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay

Conveniently, when units "die" in a battle, you can "heal" them afterwards, provided you didn't lose the entire stack. This costs some gold, but it's cheaper (and way faster) than constantly returning to recruiters to refill your ranks. Some units can "purge" defeated units, preventing them from being healed later, so these units become Public Enemy #1 during battles. The healing mechanic also means you have to be careful with your stacks, both in preventing them from being completely destroyed, and in choosing your units carefully so you don't have stacks with only one or two units in them (where one unlucky critical hit might take them out).

The battle difficulty is variable. King's Bounty II doesn't have a difficulty setting, but your set-up can make the game easier -- or not. For my first game, I played as a warrior using order units, and I had an easy time. I'm pretty sure warriors are the most powerful class, and the order ideal has the best units (among other things, they're the only ideal with healers). The main challenge for this playthrough was winning battles efficiently rather than winning them at all. But then I started a game as a mage using anarchy units, and I had a much tougher time. I haven't finished this game yet -- it's taking a lot longer to navigate my way through battles this way -- but so far the spell advantage of mages isn't making up for the physical advantage of warriors, especially since warriors can do useful things with spells even with their restrictions. 1C will probably do some class and troop balancing at some point, but if not then you can always use the differences to create your own difficulty settings.

There are also some puzzles for you to complete, but they're not really challenging. Some of the puzzles can be completed in any haphazard way -- for example, by pushing four buttons in any order to open a secret door -- and for most of the others, you're given a clue that shows you exactly how to solve them, so no great ingenuity is required. Still, easy puzzles are better than no puzzles, I guess.


1C has released some nice patches for King's Bounty II since its release, and they've fixed some of the more obvious problems with the game, like the lack of a quick save button, and the poorly-implemented tooltips. I didn't have any major problems with the game during the 60+ hours I spent playing it (including no crashes at all), but a couple of skills and talents don't seem to work as described, so either they're described poorly or they're broken, take your pick.

But 1C didn't do itself any favors by having the game end with "to be continued." Nobody likes that, regardless of the medium (or maybe you're still waiting with bated breath for the Alita: Battle Angel sequel). With some developers (like, say, Larian or ZA/UM), I'd be hopeful that the game just shipped slightly incomplete, and that eventually a free content DLC would flesh everything out, but in this case I suspect that 1C is hoping that people will pay to see the ending, and purchase some extra DLC. If so, then bleh on them.

Still, I enjoy turn-based strategy games, and even with the negatives I've pointed out in this review, King's Bounty II worked well enough for me. It's not as good as King's Bounty: The Legend, with less than half the options and content, but it gets enough things right to be worth playing. So I'm giving the game a borderline recommendation, but you're probably better off waiting for some more patches and a decent sale before buying it.