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King's Bounty: The Legend
I remember how much I loved the old DOS game King’s Bounty, and how it paved the way for the Heroes of Might and Magic series of PC games. This latest game for Windows PC, called King’s Bounty: The Legend, is as much a remake of King’s Bounty as it is a new Heroes of Might and Magic game. They are basically one and the same.
Even after countless hours of gameplay, I’m still a little torn about my feelings for this game. On one hand, it is a fun little RPG with great graphics, funny scripting, and a neat turn-based combat system. On the other hand, it’s an RPG filled with neverending ‘fetch and return’ quests, too much to read on screen, and a combat system that is mostly devoid of anything strategic.
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You play a guy who travels from place to place with your army, and you search for treasure and try to help unite the land. You gain experience points in combat that will let you rise in levels. Higher level characters with great leadership qualities can control larger armies. Dozens upon dozens of different type monsters and soldiers are at your disposal, and you have to figure out what works best for you. In the meantime, there are tons of quests that usually involve talking to someone, then talking to someone else, fighting something, then going back to talk to that first person one more time. You’ll do that over and over and over again.
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Look and Feel
The graphics in King’s Bounty: The Legend are, in a word, great. Everything has a hand-drawn look to it, combined with a vibrant color scheme to really light up your screen. I’m playing this on a 22” widescreen monitor and I think it looks great. It is also loaded with neat little animations and environmental subtleties that really enhance the overall look of the game. It wouldn’t hurt to have a decent video card, or at least a lot of RAM, to play this game.
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Look and Feel
The map exploration part of this game is presented using an overhead view much like the one in Warcraft III, and you can control the camera angle with the mouse. When combat begins, you go into a turn-based system using a small map where you must move your armies across and kill the enemy. Unfortunately, I found a total lack of any kind of strategic value to the combat, and this really brought down the game for me. The more you fight, the more you realize how very little anything changes, and it gets to be a bit boring. He who has the biggest army usually wins, and that kind of sucks.
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This game has a major difficulty balance issue. You might get into one battle and make it through without only minor losses, then the next one will wipe out your entire army. You need to save before and after every combat, because it’s sort of pot luck to see what you’re getting into. Part of the reason why it is like this leads into my other complaint about the game – there’s too much back and forth. You’ll constantly be travelling back and forth over the same maps as you go through the series of quests offered to your character. You don’t have to perform all those quests, but you’d be stupid not to do them for the extra experience.
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The bottom line here is that if you liked the Heroes of Might and Magic games, then you will surely find something to like about King's Bounty: The Legend. If you’re looking for a deep RPG, you’ll probably be disappointed with this game. I found it to be entertaining for a while, but it got to be too repetitive for me to want to invest the time to finish the game.