The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Before playing King’s Bounty: Armored Princess, I’d have called you
a dirty liar if you told me a second-tier Russian company buying the
rights to the classic title would result in a great game for Heroes of
Might & Magic fans. I’m ecstatic to be proven wrong. This title is
a solid followup to last year’s under-the-radar King’s Bounty: The
Legend, tweaking many things for the better and providing a fabulous
setting in which to adventure. The turn-based tactical combat is as
entertaining as anything HOMM ever did, and exchanging that series’
empire building for a single-hero RPG-like approach works better than
From your humble beginnings as the god-sent princess of
a fantastic kingdom, you’ll slowly become the kind of world-dominating
conqueress that sends brutal usurpers running in fear. Adventuring
through the game’s many unique continents reveals enough quests,
monsters, treasures, and secrets to make a Baggins blush. As your
princess grows in experience, she gains the ability to lead more
powerful troops and grant better bonuses to them in combat. Each level
also grants a certain number of runes, which can be spent to advance
along three parallel skill trees. You can customize your progression
along the Might, Magic, and Mind paths to become a mighty warrior, wise
leader, skilled mage, or some combination thereof. Every choice you
make impacts your battle strategies, as well as how you build your
army. Magic-focused characters can make exceptional use of troops with
unusual powers or disabling attacks, whereas emphasizing martial
prowess allows you to dominate battlefields with beefy melee troops.
is a carbon copy of HOMM, with a few additions. Troops take actions
according to their initiative, moving along a small hex grid as they
bite, shoot, immolate, and otherwise assault the enemy. The princess
(and her enemy, if she’s facing an army led by an opposing hero) can
cast a single spell per round, ranging from simple protective wards to
army-incinerating fireballs. The big twist here is the Rage system. As
blows are exchanged, the rage meter fills. Your pet dragon (who has
been leveling alongside you the whole time) can consume that rage to
unleash awesome powers. Depending on how you’ve customized its
abilities, the dragon can build walls, drop eggs that hatch into huge
troops of disposable allies, or even raise volcanoes to burninate your
enemies. Using your army’s special abilities, spellcasting, and rage
effectively in concert is necessary to overcome King’s Bounty’s
This surprising title does so many things
right that it’s easy to forgive its minor flaws. A few gems of clever
writing peek through in the story, but the plot is often conveyed in
dry text boxes and hackneyed prose. Some battles feel similar to one
another, leading to unpleasant déjà vu as you crush one encounter after
another using the exact same tactics. I appreciate the encouragement to
fight efficiently and minimize attrition, but no matter how strong your
strategy is, you’ll regularly have to run back to town and replenish
your depleted army. Still, in the grand scheme of strategy gaming, the
tedium King’s Bounty subjects its players to is well within acceptable
This is the latest example of the European development
community stepping up its game as American PC studios flock to consoles
on a seemingly daily basis. Complain all you want about Rage or Call of
Duty relegating their PC versions to second-class status. With
outstanding creative titles like this coming from the most unexpected
sources, I wouldn’t trade my PC for anything.
Email the author Adam Biessener, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.