Tuesday, April 16, 2013

King's Bounty: Armored Princess (PC)

Reviewed on PC, available on PC

Somehow I ended up with this game during a bundle sale online, and it easily became the most fun and interesting game of them all. This game sports a Warcraft 3 cartoon appearance paired with Final Fantasy Tactics strategic gameplay. Its genuinely fun and rewarding, but with a difficult learning curve.

Enter the world of King's Bounty, where you are the princess of a kingdom that is moments away from destruction by an evil force. As a desperate last measure, you are sent through a portal, and pop out in an unknown land. From this point, you are tasked with locating magic stones scattered across the world, which may have enough power to stop the evil from conquering the world.

While the story is fairly generic, the game really excels in its gameplay and exploration. On the world map, you can explore every inch of your surroundings for anything to help your army grow and succeed. You can encounter villagers, merchants, and kings who may be willing to help you, or attempt to destroy you for their own gain. If you are strong enough, you can even storm castles and earn a garrison for your troops. With its riches comes many dangers, and frequently will you be running from enemies that can easily kill your entire army. Your princess levels up from combat and quests, and slowly you become capable of handling previously impossible fights.

Combat can be slow, but its definitely challenging and often intense
One interesting element about this game is that the player does not have any special troops. Anything in the player's army can just as easily be encountered as an enemy. Your princess does not fight in the battles personally, although her stats improve her troops and she can cast spells. To balance the scales slightly, players are given a pet dragon with special moves, but even still the fights are usually close calls. The successful player will balance their troops wisely and strive for minimum losses each fight.

Storming an undead castle is challenging, but rewarding if victorious

Gameplay - 9/10
After the game becomes familiar, it becomes hard to put down. I've spent hours and hours playing without realizing. Exploration and combat are both equally fun. There is tons of customization to be had, including your army, your talent tree, your spells, your dragon's spells, your equipment, and more. Also, the game randomizes a lot of the world map's enemies and items, so each play is fairly unique.

Design - 6/10
The story is bad - there's no denying it. The visuals are wonderful and detailed on both the world map and the battlefields. Music and sounds are fantastic, although some songs become a little repetitive. Some quests and dialogues are a little odd. The UI isn't cumbersome nor it is fantastic.

Replay - 8/10
There's a ton of reasons to replay this game, even if it does not have multiplayer. Since a lot of the world map enemies and items are randomized, you will have a unique play each time. Players may want to experiment with different talents, spells, and army combinations.

Final - 23/30 Great Experience
This game came out of nowhere for me, and has earned its place as a classic in my collection. There are expansions I haven't played yet, which could possibly alter my score. I highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys a good strategy game and doesn't mind a steep learning curve.

Recommended Buying Price: No more than 20$

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