Amazing visuals and great battle mechanics might be enough to engage you into the turn-based combat role playing game (RPG) King’s Bounty: The Legend, but constant rewards and high replay value take this fantasy to a higher level. You always have to be prepared for battle in this sequel to the 1990 PC game, King’s Bounty, which features more than 60 creatures including dragons, fairies, vampires, killer plants and even vampires. The character classes include humans, orcs, elves, dwarfs, undead, demons and neutral entities, consisting mostly of animals. Each character has basic actions which can be expanded and/or enhanced as you accrue power and points. The Warrior, Mage (magician) and Paladin (champion knight) all strengthen their corresponding might, magic and mind (luck) focuses as you advance through a talent-based tree.
A kingdom in increasing duress provides the story backdrop while the bright visual style allows for great visibility and detail…a lot of detail. The gameplay format has a lot happening, which can be overwhelming at times, plus some details can be easily missed in the heat of battle. Luckily, you get more time to search while your minions do the destroying. Calls to various monsters provide helpful assistance while spells (more than 70 total) let you strike with overall sweeps against your enemies. The "spirits of rage" can also turn the tide in battles at key points. Taunts are great blanket actions too, but you’ll likely spend most of the battle time discovering weaknesses, strengths, advantages and escape tactics on a group and individual level.
Pay attention to the types of seemingly endless items and allied fighters you acquire because variety is the spice of this fantasy life. The battlefield settings require some strategy as terrain, enemy type and even wild card elements like bee nests that attack everything. So, after the dust has cleared, you win some troops and lose you some right? Not so fast — defeated troops are gone for good in this fantasy soiree. Yes, those precious and costly upgrades don’t mean a thing now. This harsh fantasy reality adds a nice strategy spin that promotes higher strategy and even some unexpected creativity yielding a lower emotional connection with your brothers in arms. You can always purchase more troops (five different class types are available) once your points increase, but it’s best to make them stretch if you want to go the distance.
This game does not include multiplayer mode and could use some better tutorial materials. It’s best to navigate around enemies until you build up a strong, battle ready army while exploring every area then acquiring a wide range of items and personnel (otherwise plan on some backtracking). You should also explore indicator options to properly gauge enemy strength before engaging them in battle. Also, careless grammatical errors and computer installation issues should be considered, but won’t be enough to deter you from experiencing this incredibly deep RPG. After experiencing some initial Vista issues, the game patch I received late last month (1.6.5) eliminated nearly every issue while adding some enhanced gameplay elements. The onscreen text is full of typos, but readers cna tsill udnerstadn it… and even be entertained by it.
Travel can be slow at times, which increases game time. The default “get everything you can” strategy does not work when your equipment inventory fills up with items and even family….yes, you can also marry a wife and have children in this game, which, predictably, open up different bonuses. Side quests, special chests and even nanotechnology factor into the game as well. The basic storyline could use some enhancements while teleport points and map markers would improve down time and navigation. Look for the planned King's Bounty: The Armored Princess expansion pack in the first quarter of 2009.
King's Bounty: The Legend is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for drug reference, language and mild fantasy violence.