KING'S BOUNTY II
PC Gamer US Edition|September 2021
Mutiny on the bounty
Tom Sykes
It came as a shock to open King’s Bounty II and discover it had switched to a scaled-up 3D world. The compressed, cartoonish fantasy of the previous games has been blown up to realistic proportions, and you can now hop off your horse and saunter between its traditional turn-based battles on foot.

All in all, the result is an odd game, sitting in the borderlands between the RPG and strategy genres. I’ve played ten hours or so of a preview build, sticking my toe into all manner of sidequests and sending dozens of humans, animals, and monsters to their doom in battle. I like it, I’m pretty sure, although I’m saddened that a lot of the more fantastical elements of King’s Bounty: The Legend appear to have been sanded away.

Speaking of which, this is the belated direct sequel to the 2008 tactical RPG in which you could marry a zombie— or, if you preferred, a frog. Just one bonkers sidequest in a game brimming with fairy tale weirdness. A game that played a bit like Heroes of Might & Magic, as you roamed a fantasy world gathering resources and units, before employing those units in turn-based battles.

I won’t bang on about the story of this sequel, as I found it stilted and a little dull, but it begins with your character being let out of jail to run an errand for the prince, and that’s as good a reason to start adventuring as any. There are three characters to choose from—a warrior, mage, or paladin—although you only ever support your troops from the sidelines in the King’s Bounty series, flinging spells or magical missiles onto the battlefield.

But while they do the fighting, your role, as in the previous games, is to traipse around the world, resolving troubles, and gathering resources and additional units for your army. It’s a beautifully rendered setting, particularly after you escape the wintry tutorial area and find yourself in the more varied Crown Lands, which feel huge and non-linear, but without quite reaching the daunting scale of an open world.

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