King’s Bounty 2 is a turn based, strategy battle game which uses a board built out of hexagonal pieces. The aim is to eliminate all the enemy units using a mix of troop movements and magical powers as you uncover a mysterious plot against the kingdom of Nostria. From what I could tell the Lord’s Edition part is a few additional items that are in game.
To start off you pick one of three characters who all benefit from different play styles. The first playthrough will likely be a throw away as you adjust to the systems in the game. The tutorial doesn’t give much information so there’s quite a learning curve as you try to figure everything out. Using the chosen character the player will explore a sort of open world where they will travel between battles and interact with the people who’re just there to give basic quests.
A sort of faction Ideal system is in this game which uses opposing choices to dictate how a character can play. Order, Anarchy, Power and Finesse are the four Ideals. Quests often have a choice of two solutions, the choices would connect your character to the Ideal and eventually make it so you can’t choose certain actions as it’s not the way you’ve previously done things, a nice bit of role play which can change how much of the story you see. The Ideal system also changes which skill tree you’re able to follow meaning your character forms up around its behaviour.
Combat is probably the best thing about this game, genuinely challenging strategy situations happen as you try defeat powerful enemies with minimal troop loss. Having a hexagon battle board is interesting as some units have abilities that will hit more than one square which makes targeting and movement more important. Units are your expected fantasy creatures from soldiers and undead to animals and dragons, nothing too creative or unusual. There are buffs, debuffs, status effects and a Morale system which is effected by the Ideal system and can allow for additional turns or even missed turns (although this isn’t fully clear without experimentation). An equipment system is also used to add battle power to your units which proves vital to your success in battles so shouldn’t be dismissed. The worst part of the battle system is that initiative order isn’t displayed so you never know which unit will move next which could’ve helped form a strategy.
The plot is a bit basic but tries to be a shocking mystery. What we get is a dark evil power called the Blight invading the world, there’s trouble in the kingdom with betrayal and bandits roaming the land. Some of the side quests like skeletons attacking an aqueduct can be more interesting than the main plot. The game has a bit of a pacing issue with story battles being really tough until late game at which point the story can fly past and end really suddenly after the final battle which was really disappointing.
Technical problems, two back to dashboard crashes and a few instances of getting stuck on scenery. The real problem with the game is how units work; to acquire units you spend in-game currency, you use the currency to heal units after battles and all this results in diminishing returns as you spend more keeping a full set of units than you gain as battle rewards, merchants often have limited amounts of units too making it impossible to progress after a while; this all means that if you can’t protect your units then you can’t play anymore which results in constantly reloading battles to try get a better outcome. Having to cheat with reloads in the majority of battles is just a sign of an almost unplayable game.
Overall, I became really frustrated with the idea of keeping everything alive to the point that the game really wasn’t enjoyable, but in the late game as battles became more evenly matched it became a lot more fun as I had resources to play with and finally understanding the systems in place made it interesting. The story and most side quests are completely forgettable and didn’t matter even when going through them. Add in basic game problems like crashes and there’s something wrong with what could have been a really good battle game. Weirdly though, I think I will return to this game at some point to try the other characters because although flawed, the battle system is a gem.