Taking command of military troops in a fantastical world full of strange creatures and political strife sounds exciting, offering audiences a chance to escape the dullness of reality and immerse themselves in a captivating story where they are the hero. Unfortunately, King’s Bounty 2 falls flat on that promise, only providing bland environments, frustrating combat and uninteresting characters, making for a disappointing experience for those expecting a grand adventure.
King’s Bounty 2, developed by 1C Entertainment and published by Prime Matter, is a tactical RPG in which the player chooses one of three characters, each of which has their own distinct advantages, such as magical abilities or leadership skills. The protagonist then commands military troops throughout a campaign that follows the political strife of the Kingdom of Nostria as the rumored-to-be-sick king begins to hand power over to his son.
King’s Bounty 2 is a mix of third-person exploration and top-down, turn-based tactical combat, which is an interesting twist on a genre that is usually focused on level-based battles. The world of Nostria in King’s Bounty is beautiful, too, and it’s easy to see that a lot of time and effort was put into the game’s aesthetic. Each tree, stick and flake of snow in the game is full of detail. King’s Bouny 2 successfully creates an atmosphere that makes the player feel like they’ve been transported into a fantasy world like in Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia.
However, that’s really the best part about the game, and the rest is either bland or worse. Exploring the world itself isn’t that much fun, and while the surroundings look beautiful, it begins to feel more like a vast expanse of distance to travel instead of a world teeming with life and lore. There are side quests and chests to be found throughout Nostria, but these are rather uninteresting, and their only purpose is to gather gold to buy replacement troops after a brutal encounter.
And most encounters are brutal, meaning that a majority of the player’s time in King’s Bounty 2 is spent gathering gold, slogging through side quests and roaming the barren, beautiful world instead of progressing through the story, which is meant to feel time-sensitive as political tension in the kingdom comes to a head.
The battles aren’t difficult in a fun way, either. It’s not that the combat requires an innate ability to strategize, but that the enemy forces are often overwhelming, so much so that each encounter feels heavily weighted in the opponent’s favor. In addition, the player character has a limited number of slots to fill with recruitable troops, meaning that the only solution is to tough it out instead of evening the playing field.
King’s Bounty 2 had the potential to be something special in the tactical RPG genre but ultimately falls flat. It’s especially disappointing because the idea of combining third-person exploration with hex-based strategic combat isn’t incredibly common, and it’s clear there was an excellent idea buried in the game somewhere for what the world of Nostria could’ve been. Unfortunately, that vision didn’t quite pan out, leaving King’s Bounty 2 a bland, dull slog instead of a deep fantasy.
King’s Bounty 2 is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Screen Rant was provided with a PS4 code for the purposes of this review.