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King's Bounty: Armored Princess Review
developer: Katauri Interactive
PIV 2600, 1GB RAM, 128MB video card
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Oct 30, 09 (released)
|» All About King's Bounty: Armored Princess on ActionTrip|
Before we get started on several games that arrived in 2010, we decided to use the Holiday season to return to some of the titles that hit the market in Fall 2009, but got lost in the shuffle thanks to various big-budget releases. One of these is the expansion pack for Katauri Interactive's fantasy themed strategy game, King's Bounty. Like the first game, King's Bounty: Armored Princess focuses a lot on RPG elements, with detailed character development, a skill tree and so on. It also takes the all-too-familiar Heroes-style turn-based mechanics to the next level (you move your hero in real-time across the world map).
This time around players get into the scanty armor of an attractive female character named Princess Amelie, who heads out on a quest to save her home world. To do this she must journey to Teana and seek out the legendary knight and renowned warrior called, Bill Gilbert (what an incredibly familiar name...). During her voyages, the Princess must face a variety of foes, many of which are extremely well-versed in the ways of magic. Exploring the world, you'll get to encounter Demons, Undead, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Humans and Lizardmen. Each race has a vast armies that roam the lands and a lot of them are lead by formidable heroes with exceptional magical and fighting abilities. Luckily, at the very beginning of her journey, Princess Amelie acquires pet dragon - a cute, but fearsome, assistant to aid her against many terrifying enemies. The dragon is actually a cool replacement for the Rage Box (from the first game).
Where can I get a horse with wings?
We're just about ready to summon Diablo.
Using the dragon actually represents the characters main power, since it can wield a selection of particularly devastating spells and special attacks. Among the most powerful are 'Lava Call' and 'Fiery Phantoms' both capable of dealing extra fire-based damage to multiple units and are quite lethal, especially when you improve them over time. The dragon may also be trained to sniff out treasure on the battlefield. On top of that, it can accumulate mana during combat, hatch additional units and so on.
As before, players are free to pursue the main quest using one of three different character classes: Warrior, Paladin or Mage. While the Warrior specializes in combat and battle tactics, the Mage is more adept in gaining knowledge and exploring various magical abilities. The Paladin is sort a delicate balance between the Warrior and Mage, although focusing mostly on divine magic and fighting the Undead. You'll be upgrading the hero any way you wish, once again, by distributing three types of ruins gained either by leveling the character or by exploring the land. Meanwhile throughout the entire game, Mana and Rage are still your main sources of power and the success of your army will depend on how well you use them.
The expansion pack doesn't bring anything new to the gameplay. As opposed to meddling with the mechanics of a generally satisfying strategy game, Katauri Interactive kept all the fun aspects of the game, while fixing certain glitches and adding a few cool new touches to boot. In Armored Princess the hero unit is now capable of hitting the skies so to speak, which makes traversing all the islands on the main map a lot easier. Mind you, this won't be possible until you've completed a solid portion of the game. Which reminds me; the game is still rather difficult and requires you to think each move through before you squander units and armies rashly. Save your game as often as possible - yes, the golden rule of most RPGs indisputably applies here as well.
I really dig the art style in this game.
The only way to travel, believe me.
It takes a long time to complete this game, which certainly makes it a worthwhile purchase. Also, the gameplay is as engaging and entertaining as in the original, so if you liked that one, you can't go wrong here.
Our only complaint about Armored Princess is that it did not bring nearly enough new content as we hoped. Sure, the game takes you to a whole new world with a wide choice of islands to explore, complete with fresh quests, a whole new story and different characters. This doesn't quite make up for the fact that there's only one new race (the Lizardmen) and very few new spells, powers, attacks, etc.
When you break down all the facets of King's Bounty, you get a genuinely pleasing strategy experience with strong emphasis on role-playing. Armored Princess, basically, offers the same kind of experience as the original, except this time they've added a few cool extra components to make things a more enjoyable for players.
8.2 Very Good
Delivers a satisfying strategy experience and retains all the decent bits of the original, in addition to fixing a few slip ups the devs made the first time around;
More new units, enemies and bosses would have been appreciated. It just feels thin when it comes to new content. For an expansion pack, that goes without saying... At least, it used to be that way.
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