Still Consumed By King’s Bounty

By Alec Meer on October 13th, 2008 at 11:19 pm.

Finding myself, for the first time in at least two years, with a weekend in which I didn’t have an insane amount of work to do, I idly returned to crazed Russian RPG-strategy delight King’s Bounty, which is continuing to entertain me more than any game this year outside of World of Goo. Without quite realising it, I managed to clock up something like 14 hours of play over the weekend alone, which I feel awful about – especially as that’s on top of the 25 or so I put into the game a couple of weeks back. I haven’t been this bad with a game since the height of my terrible WoW addiction a few years ago.

I think the reason it’s eating so much of time is because it’s doing the MMO thing of filling my head with short-term personal goals – my mind’s forever tracking the simultaneous goals of upgrade character, upgrade army, access new areas, find new spells, divorce wife for a sexy buccaneer – but presenting me with a brilliantly unhinged world of my own to do it all in. It’s more RPG than it is strategy, and it really is ticking the Adventure! box. Diablo 3 is doubtless going to seem terribly drab by comparison.

The combat’s been growing in complexity, and I’ve now got more skills and spells at my disposal than I can actually keep track of, but it’s agreeably strategic. Unfortunately it can also get a bit monotonous after playing around 40 hours all told (oh God, did I really do that?), but the fighting isn’t actually what I’m in it for. I’m in it for The Crazy. Here are just a few of the pub anecdote-fuelling experiences I’ve had since my last post about the game. Recently, I have:

Become a pirate
Killed a Kraken
Met a man who puts make-up on frogs
Gained the ability to summon a giant robot sphere made by an AI construct from the future
Resolved a miner’s strike
Had rides in a submarine and a zeppelin
Resurrected a dead dragon as a skeleton dragon
Been defeated by an army of 3000 fairies
Fathered eight children
Ended a dwarf-human war
Had a conversation with a waterfall
Purchased a tiny castle that I carry around in my pocket. On demand, I can shrink to doll-size and wander around it.

It is quite the thing. Sadly I’m now wandering around the Elf zones, which so far seem an awful lot straighter than what went before. Bloody Elves – always reliably boring. But hey, the Land of the Dead is next. Things can only get better.

If you’re looking to buy King’s Bounty – and you should – your best bet is probably a download through Gamersgate.

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40 Comments »

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  1. Alex Mirror says:

    I wuz all like imma go lvl upmy magicky guy on dis game cuz monies and stuff u get from it.

  2. Larington says:

    I really should create a “Why the hell haven’t I played these games yet?” list for myself.

    This and Mount & Blade would go straight on it.

  3. newt says:

    No, Larington – you really should go & play them!

  4. Confidence Interval says:

    I should play these games instead of doing work at this time of night.

  5. qrter says:

    Even those scrubbers at Penny Arcade have linked to your previous King’s Bounty post!

  6. Larington says:

    I might wait until the summer comes around – When publishers forget how to publish games (until christmas 09 appears and they suddenly all remember).

  7. Confidence Interval says:

    Is this game actually available in the UK yet? The only place I can find it for sale online is play.com, and they list it as due for release on 13/02/2009…

  8. Donald Duck says:

    Totally feel your awful-feelingness, had a similar weekend.
    I married a frog, she has awesome stat boosts with the kids. Just killed the Kraken, but I’m having trouble getting strong enough to take on the mines. Think I’m too fond of my army to see too many of them die. Especially the Evil Beholders I have, since I have no idea where to get more than the ones I hired. One spell I’ve come to love by the way is Bless at level 3, where it becomes mass Bless. Bless.

  9. Satsuz says:

    So are we permitted to chant “DIABLO III IS NOTHING COMPARED TO KING’S BOUNTY!” now?

  10. Turkish Superman says:

    Anyone wishing to purchase King’s Bounty via digital download can pick it up through Gamer’s Gate: http://www.gamersgate.com/index.php?page=product&what=view&sku=DD-KB&cat=all

    Read good things about this one, but my computer is probably too old to run it.

  11. Digit says:

    I’ve got this game and concur it’s quite awesome. I keep finding new things to do, and can’t help but think we are very lucky they didn’t voice any of the dialogue because I’m not sure it would have been a good thing. Some of it’s quite silly, and as soon as you put a voice to it, there is a chance the narrator doesn’t align with your mental narrator and it comes across as quite bad.

  12. M. P. says:

    Those screenies and Mr. Meer’s description make this sound a bit like an 18-rated Disgaea. Which is all you can ask for from an RPG really.

  13. Tannrar says:

    @ M. P.:
    Except it’s rated the same as Disgaea, or at least it is here in the states.

  14. Michael Pearson says:

    Wait, what kraken? I’m up to the dwarves and haven’t seen a kraken yet…

  15. Turin Turambar says:

    The kraken is the second boss, in the Freedom Islands.

    I am finishing the game here, after… 47 hours of play. I only have the last zone to play.

  16. Mort says:

    Kings Bounty best of the crop so far for me, better than Goo (there, I said it), Hinteryawn, and Multiwinia.

  17. Cunningbeef says:

    So this makes my last 3 game purchases (this, World of Goo and WAR) all bought entirely due to this site.

    And I’ve had a right blast with the latter 2, so I’m having no doubts about this one. I don’t know what I’d do without you, RPS.

  18. UncleLou says:

    “Finding myself, for the first time in at least two years, with a weekend in which I didn’t have an insane amount of work to do,”

    What an Earth are you doing with your weekends? Madness! :)

  19. Ian says:

    Why have I not got this game yet?

  20. Uglycat says:

    Donald Duck:
    Evil beholders can be found in the Dwarven mines or in the castle next to the alchemist in the Marshen swamps.
    I’m not sure if they are there from the very beginning, but it took me about 15 hours before I realised that there was a left and right arrow on the troops for hire section.
    There are also some near the Orc embassy somewhere in the western/eastern islands (can’t remember which)

  21. Heliocentric says:

    I don’t know why but is great as a yarn this game spins its still one yarn. A similar game to the one i imagine this to be is final fantasy tactics(a2 on the ds). The game is not afraid to let you screw up your clan. Nor is it afraid it give you powers which totally out class everything you have again and again. There is no in game way to learn this bar trial and error. I hate these 2 factors but they are also the reason alongside the stupid side quest slots, that i play the game. These games with a main story and epic sides die to me once the main arch is over. And with no multiplayer i lose interest so i’m caught in a constant “avoid the finish” existence.

  22. Dan says:

    @Uglycat
    There’s a left and right arrow on the troops selection? Wow, I never noticed that, I’ll have to check it out.

    I’ve also been playing the game quite regularly, and it really is as fantastic as others have said. I really love some of the music too, it’s the sort of game music that gets stuck in your head for weeks.

  23. Kieron Gillen says:

    I actually bought it at the weekend. It’s good fun.

    KG

  24. Steve says:

    @Uglycat

    Damn! I never even noticed that!
    Off to check it out now..

    P.s. Just in case anyone has missed his one, you can speed up the combat animations through the options menu via a drop down menu… Makes large scraps a little more tolerable.

  25. Homunculus says:

    Yeah, this is the game I’ve spent most time playing this year as well.

    I’ve found a ring that gives a serious boost to anyone in your army that’s female. So my current killer strategy involves loading up a giant stack of turbocharged fairies and using the level 3 Phantom spell and the double casting hero ability to duplicate them out twice every turn until the enemy is overwhelmed, whilst Dryads shut down most opportunites for retaliation by sending most of the opposition to sleep for two turns (which I can repeat earlier than it naturally resets by cloning the Dryads out as well). As fairies prevent automatic retaliatory hits, they can swarm with impunity over much tougher opponents, damaging them to insignificant numbers before they get to even move. If the original fearsome stack receives significant damage, being a level one unit I can use the Ragebox grim reaper’s ability to turn back time two turns for one level one stack to make them full strength again.

    Essentially, it’s the Imperial Guard approach writ Fae; choke the enemy with tiny, angry winged corpses.

  26. Tore says:

    Like Alec says, the Elven zone is a bit more depressing than the previous three. Maybe it’s because of the constant fighting. Unlike, say, Heroes, combat takes much longer the more troops you get and there’s no option for the NPC to leg it, so you actually have to go through ALL the fights.

    The game is most gorgeous though.

  27. spd from Russia says:

    yeah the RPG/story part is well made and very amusing, but the combat is tedious :( i never got into the HOMM style combat ;/

  28. Julian Montebartholemieau, Esquire says:

    Didst thou mentione KRAKEN!!!??!?! Forsoothe, thou hast sold this game to me.

  29. Turin Turambar says:

    Combat is the core of the game. The plot of the side quest are amusing, some times, but that’s it. You have to like the combat for this game.

  30. Andthensobecause says:

    I feel like King’s Bounty is more of a romp and Diablo III will be more of a foray.

  31. Mr. Manglapuss says:

    Really, King’s Bounty is one of the finest examples of a well executed game in years. It looks, sounds, and feels fantasy. If I could smell it I am convinced it would smell like fantasy. It’s funny and serious, deep yet with a casual feel. It is nearly perfect for twenty minutes or twenty hours. I haven’t felt this good about a fantasy title in a long time.

  32. Hamsterfury says:

    I found myself hitting this game like crack over the weekend….. Brings back the childhood HOMM2 days. Eat Ice Snake b**ches!!

  33. K says:

    I’m enjoying my hypnosis then sacrifice combo. I gain units from combat, haven’t had to recruit for ages, hurrah!

  34. Tore says:

    I very much suspect that playing the game as a Mage hero is much more fun than the other two classes. I’m playing it as a Warrior and I really miss the spliffy magic of Heroes III. In fact, ever since I divorced my frog princess wife I can barely cast anything but the most basic magic.

  35. Donald Duck says:

    @ Uglycat : Wow I’m as surprised as anyone else here, never saw those little arrows! Thanks.

  36. noom says:

    Now, I really want to play this game, but last night I made a list of all the games that I’ve started playing and not finished in the last few months, and there were 28 of them. Think ima spend some time workign on those before I get round to this one.

    I does love the slightly overlooked small-budget RPGs though; Wizardry 8 remains to be one of my favourite game to this day ^_^

  37. Sky Keeper says:

    This was the best game of RPG/adventure/tactical combat I’ve played in a few years. It becomes a bit boring closer to the end, but that just makes you run away more – you don’t HAVE to fight all. Also, for some strange reason Paladin is Blizzardified here too – the easiest class to play on impossible.

  38. Alarik says:

    Sky Keeper: Did I hear Blessed Hammer mentioned? XD

  39. Yak Jazz says:

    The UK version is supposed to use Securom. Is there any word of installation limits?

  40. pkt-zer0 says:

    It’s SecuROM, but without a limited number of activations, as far as I know. You could just use the latest Russian patch to get rid of the DRM limitations, though SecuROM is still going to get installed.