King’s Bounty Expandalone Expandanotalones

By Alec Meer on January 31st, 2014 at 11:00 am.

Modern tragedies:
1) That quadrophonic music never took off
2) Squirrels don’t make good pets
3) Dexys’ comeback album was boring
4) The wonderful King’s Bounty reboot has never had a proper sequel, instead just limping from samey standalone expansion to samey standalone expansion.

So, as much as my heart still performs the tiniest leap upon hearing that there’s a new expansion out, knowing it’s just a bolt on for 2012′s ambition-free Warriors of the North kills any anticipation. Sigh. Maybe I’ll try taming a squirrel again instead.

The facepalmingly-entitled Ice and Fire DLC was released yesterday, and on paper looks like a standard roster of additions. Here, see:

  • Creature skill system – lead your troops through dozens of battles and they will become stronger than ever!
  • Snow Elves – a new Elven nation that prefers snow and blizzard of the Ice Gardens instead of the green forests of Merlassar.
  • Necrolizards – a new kind of the undead, Lizardmen that have risen from the dead.
  • New locations to explore.
  • Over 20 new creatures.
  • Revamped creatures of King’s Bounty: Warriors of the North.
  • New items with unique attributes.
  • Over 20 hours of additional gameplay.

I am tempted, despite having just spat a gruesome cynicism loogie all over your screen. These things are like comfort eating to me, after all. I suspect I’ll steer clear, but if every other game on my plate looks too demanding perhaps I shall flee to KB’s open arms of samey safety.

The creature skill system is the only thing here that makes me twitch into real interest – conceptually, that losing units will hurt on more than simply a financial level is appealing. I like the idea that I have a more personal army that I work harder to protect.

Aargh, no, mustn’t talk myself into this. Over 20 hours of doing the same thing again is not the best use of your time, Meer.

Anyway! Out now, on various download services (e.g. GamersGate and Steam), for around about the £8 mark.

__________________

« | »

, , , .

41 Comments »

  1. frightlever says:

    I played a good chunk of the first game, less so Princess, even less so Warriors. They all start out okay but turn into re-supply grinds by the mid-game.

  2. atticus says:

    I played the first Kings Bounty quite a bit, but about 20 hours in it dawned on me that I was doing “work” rather than having fun.

    The grind, MY GOD THE GRIND! Grinding for levels to progress, grinding creatures to fill the army. Travelling across two large maps, on horseback and by ship, through caves and canyons, over mountains, across oceans to replenish that one important unit in your army…. bah.

    Maybe I was just rubbish at combat and losing to many units, but for me the grind totally ruined the experience.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Brilliant game, but the only way to avoid those trips for reinforcements in the late game was to play a mage and abuse the heck out of the magic system.

      • dahauns says:

        Not really. Works equally well with a Paladin. Of course, it won’t work completely without resurrection strategies – but you don’t need to abuse it.

  3. Maxheadroom says:

    I’ve picked up most of these in various steam sales (mostly on the say-so of Alec & co) but have yet to invest any real time in any of them.

    Do any of them stand out as one I should play first? or are they all pretty much the same?

    • Alec Meer says:

      Legends is the more entertaining/batshit crazy, but it’s not that well balanced and gets extremely grindy. Crossworlds is probably the most even experience of the lot.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Start with Legends and switch to Crossworlds once the campaign starts to become a slog (Probably somewhere between the return to the original continent and the elven continent, depending on how much you enjoy the writing).

      • AngelTear says:

        What about Armored Princess? How does it compare?

        I’ve also been eyeing the King’s Bounty games from time to time, unable to understand if they looked promising or generic, but I was attracted to the idea of playing with a fixed female protagonist (Surprisingly few games do that, without character creation)

        • povu says:

          I heard Crossworlds actually includes the Armored Princess campaign, making it pointless to buy AP on its own? Can anyone confirm?

          • tigerfort says:

            Originally, Crossworlds was an add-on for AP, but it subsequently seems to have become AP-plus-the-add-on-stuff. If you’re buying, check the wording. If you’re playing, Crossworlds is the one you want.

            (ETA: Crossworlds GOTY definitely includes AP)

          • Grygus says:

            This is true.

          • MattM says:

            Crossworlds includes both the original AP campaign and a version of the AP campaign with some additions called Orcs on the March. IMHO the play order is KB:The Legend, KB:Crossworlds:Orcs On the March, and then KB:Warriors in the North. The original AP game should be removed from sale to reduce confusion.

    • Kefren says:

      The first was okay, but only gave me half the pleasure that I am currently getting replaying every map and campaign in HOMM3. I never get bored of that, and by doing separate standalone levels (there are hundreds) you never get bored of a particular character, map, setup etc. Amazing. Available on GOG.

      • atticus says:

        HOMM3 is of one those games I load up now and then just to take in the sights and sounds…

        So many good memories, and such excellent game desing both visually and technically.

        • Kefren says:

          Yes: I’m currently playing a level called Titan’s Winter. I thought I was doing well, conquering all the snow lands. Then I discovered a hero with an unbeatable army of Angels and Black Dragons (plus other troops) in the lands to the south east. He utterly destroyed me. I almost gave up in rage after seeing all my titans wiped out in a few rounds. But I played on. I couldn’t use the tactic of teleporting from city to city because that spell wasn’t available in any castle in the land (plus I had no heroes good at earth magic). For the latter reason I also couldn’t use resurrect effectively. So I turned to hit and run, making my armies as fast as possible and flying around. Every time the unstoppable army was in the dungeon area I whizzed around with one of my two heroes conquering castles and building up an army from them; every time his unstoppable army moved to the castle land I went and conquered the dungeons with my other army, building up dragon forces. I tried to stay a turn ahead of him (especially after a few disasters), or to retreat to the ice lands if he seemed to block me off, since for some reason he never invades them – if he did he would have won the game by now! A few evenings later he is still unbeatable but has been weakened because often I have stolen the troops he would add, or he doesn’t have enough resources, so his army has stopped growing. He is always on the run following us as we lead him a merry chase, conquering and reconquering the same castles. I gradually get more useful magic items from artifact sellers, boosting my speed, luck and morale. I also managed to steal the grail from his own lands under his nose, and install it in one of my titan castles out of his reach. Because my two armies only equip from the two types of castle on his lands it means I am building up masses of money from the grail and sacks of endless gold and all my unused titan castles (which have up to 40 unbought titans in by now). I have even turned the tides a bit and delivered a few blows to him – an army of five black dragons, spaced out; wait until he is near a castle I own where I can respawn; attack him, and cast armageddon, doing lots of damage to all his creatures (apart from his black dragons), survive his counter attack, do one more armageddon then run away. Respawn in the castle, repeat a few times, then when I am low on action points respawn further away. Doing this has damaged his armies loads. He lost 1000 harpies, hundreds of minotaurs and mounted knights, and around 50 arch angels. I even used a few armies to take out a handful of his black dragons, at massive cost to me. But that is what I love about this game: I am an experienced player and thought I had lost and would need to start again. But then I came up with an idea and tried it, and it started to work. And now, if I keep it up, I will end up winning. It will be a tremendous victory, and I’ll really feel I’ve earned it. Not bad for a game I have been playing for over ten years! A few more evenings and he’ll be down to just his black dragons, around 125 of them. Then I will spend all my money on the biggest titan army I can build, split them into black-dragon-hating stacks, and go all-out for the final battle.

          • Assaf says:

            Nice story. Good luck.

          • Kefren says:

            I lost one of my two great heroes – he was in a castle, the enemy moved further than I expected and cornered him. No way to retreat. On the plus side I put up a good fight, took out almost 20 black dragons and 80 arch angels. Almost at the point when my titan army can step in for the coup de grace.

        • Moraven says:

          Missus and I still play HOMM3 using GameRanger. Works great.

          One day I will play the entire HOMM 1-3+Chronicles and M&M 6-8 in order of lore.

        • Jonfon says:

          This week I’ve been (re)playing homm3 a lot. Damn, it’s addictive.

          I’m thinking of trying out 5 over the weekend but the GoG price scared me off. I’ll try Warlock at the same price instead I think.

        • teije says:

          Yep, still the pinnacle of this genre. I too play a few games of it every year. And it’s still awesome.

  4. Soulstrider says:

    Damn I still have to finish the original modern King’s Bounty, dunno why I never completed it since I was loving it.

  5. JonathanStrange says:

    I loved Legend and I loved Armored Princess, but the developers really do need to do something to freshen the franchise up some before it becomes too stagnant. I just can’t see myself buying yet *another* iteration on the same basic game I’ve been playing since 2008, new units and hero or not.

  6. Vexing Vision says:

    I haven’t yet finished any King’s Bounty game. I think I’m at around a total of 150 hours across all titles, but I always run out of energy to continue after being around 80% through.

    I’ll still buy this, I suppose. I always end up doing so.

  7. CobraLad says:

    I believe that makers of original are all dead. 1C still has trademark to milk though.
    Katauri last project was strange beast named Royal Quest, which was MMO purposely styled to be like korean MMOs both in style and gameplay. All talented people left company long ago.
    Although you all should check out minesweeper/rpg Dungelot 2, which has art from one of Katauri former artists
    http://dungelot.com/

    • sleepisthebrotherofdeath says:

      Was there some sort of explosion at the office? meteor fell on the building? The team was made of octogenarians who succumbed to old age? Really bad case of food poisoning?

    • Frank says:

      Eh, 1C can hire talent back once talent’s needed, for Meer’s “proper” sequel. The endless expansions tell me that this is a successful brand, and I don’t think they’re tarnishing it, so… meh. I can wait.

  8. dE says:

    I really loved the fairy tale style of narration in legends. Played it all the way through and enjoyed it greatly. Sadly the later titles didn’t click with me anymore. I don’t know, they seem so horribly fragmented to me. Go to this island because… I don’t know? Stuff. Just go. They lacked a strong narrative connection as to why you were going where you went. And that dragon had so much potential but ended up as cutesy pet because… I don’t know?
    The Viking one got better in that regard but I just stopped playing, without really knowing why.

  9. Snids says:

    My ex-girlfriend was bitten by a squirrel. It was quite traumatic.

  10. InternetBatman says:

    Warriors of the North just gets really boring by the end. I’m tired of fighting the same undead units in ever increasing numbers until my magic and armies can’t keep up. Also, they don’t stock enough dragons in the vendors. Everything else can be restocked through sacrifice, but not magic immune ice and black dragons.

    • MattM says:

      I enjoyed the ending of Warriors in the North but getting there was a slog that took me 90 hours. They should have cut 40 hours out of the game.
      The people who get frustrated with constantly resupplying are probably letting obsessiveness get the best of them. It isn’t important to keep your army maxed at all times, and you can keep reserve forces for two types of troops. I got the “Destroy 25 enemy troops in a row without replenishing your army” achievement without any deliberate effort.

  11. Drake Sigar says:

    Get Kings Bounty The Legend and Crossroads for like, £2 on GoG!

  12. RobF says:

    Ah, I dunno about the Dexys thing. The run from I’m Always Going To Love You right up to Free is pretty bloody strong and She’s Got A Wiggle is fantastic. Give or take the rest, mind.

    Problem is, how is anyone supposed to beat This Is What She’s Like anyway? It’s got to be downhill from there.

  13. Morph says:

    The promise of Necrolizards is enough to get me excited.

  14. malkav11 says:

    To me, as long as the original was good and the followups maintain that level of quality or slightly below, more of the same is just fine. But I guess the latter is kind of the issue, yeah?

    • Ksempac says:

      That’s not exactly the problem.

      The thing is #1 was good, but very long/grindy, and by the time you finish it, you used lots of dirty tricks to keep your important units alive, and killed every type of enemies creatures a thousands times.

      So the problem is that all subsequent games are exactly the same. Same spells, same creatures, etc. There is a few different mechanisms but on the whole that won’t make much of a difference. Having played only the first game, you can watch every trailer for all the sequels and be able to name almost every creature and spell they show in theses trailers (and graphics/animations are the sames as the first game).

      So you went through a long grind to finish the first game, and the others ones offer only more of that grind. There will be almost no new creatures, no new spells to discover, and you already know which units you wanna combine to create good armies. That discovery/army building aspect was what made the first game worth it and you don’t have it anymore.

  15. Thadeus says:

    Never again! I’ve played KB, KB:AP and KB:WOTN. Even Armoured Princess a couple of times. Using the same map for WOTN from the first KB just seemed lazy, and then the time you lose your entire army to a plot line:( It became a total grind just to finish the game, but my OCD would not be defeated. In the last quarter of the game, each battle was just going through the motions, as I had a mage and was taking minimal loses in my army. Time could be better spent with some other game. Save yourself for Age of Wonders 3.

  16. edwardh says:

    While I love the genre and really enjoyed both The Legend and Armored Princess, the latter already felt more like an expansion pack rather than a sequel to me and when the next expansion/sequel/whatever came around, I just thought “seriously guys?!”.

    I get it that the company may be small and needs to build up their reserves for future projects but it seems to me that KIng’s Bounty probably didn’t do so badly and that they really could’ve afforded to do a proper sequel by now.
    As it stands, I usually don’t even read King’s Bounty news any more.

  17. Darth Gangrel says:

    Was it just me who read “Expandanotalones” as some kind of contracted version of “Expand pantalones”?

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>