More King’s Bounty: A Trip To The Dark Side

By Alice O'Connor on April 23rd, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

Orcn't you glad to see me?

Resist cynicism or die. Hope. Dream. Think. Act. Be vulnerable. Open yourself to risk or you’ll never truly learn, love, or live. That hip new band may very well drop a cracking second album, I can make that Cronenbergian game controller I’ve been dreaming of, my mum shall stop hinting that I’m going to die alone in a ditch, and King’s Bounty will get an actual proper sequel rather than simply more glorified expansions.

Oh. Well. Maybe the next one after this. The next in the series will be King’s Bounty: Dark Side this summer, publishers 1C have announced. Yes, it looks like another expandalone sort of dealy rather than a game building upon King’s Bounty in bold new ways.

This time we’ll get to play as the supposed evil folks, hence the name, fending off humans and elves who’ve got a bit carried away with trying to stamp out ‘dark’ creatures. Always a horrible bunch of xenophobes, that lot. Once more we’ll get to roam around the world, building an army, completing quests, and smashing foes in hexy turn-based combat.

The quick rundown of what’s different this time: a new companion system means each character has different potential pals, a different chum accompanies your hero into battle (looking a mite like No-Face from Spirited Away), and it’s got new quests and locations and units and items and abilities. You know, expandalone stuff. This time the three classes of warrior, paladin, and vampire become races too: orc, demoness, and vampire.

It’s perhaps not what I’ve dreamed of but in all honesty I’ll probably give it a bash because, well, I do want more King’s Bounty. (I will also accept King’s Bounty: Darkplace.) Dark Side also has, I must say, box art which looks like an astonishing piece of Disney-baiting.

Big on their fire creatures, these demons.

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36 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    King’s Bounty: Not Even Trying Anymore

    • BTAxis says:

      I get the cynicism over KB’s sameyness, but then how many good franchises have been butchered in the name of innovation over the years? At least I know this game won’t fall short of my expectations, as I know exactly what to expect.

      • The Random One says:

        “how many good franchises have been butchered in the name of innovation over the years?”

        Either zero or one, depending on whether you feel Assassins’ Creed counts. It’s not innovation that butchers franchises; the marketing team may call it that, but what they are actually doing will be adding features that other, more modern games have and that they think people expect of all games. That’s the precise opposite of innovation. If a game that’s a good sequel tries to innovate and fail, the worst that can happen is that the innovation will be a pointless gimmick no one plays; it cannot butcher a game that would otherwise be good.

        • SillyWizard says:

          That’s ridiculous.

        • Grygus says:

          I must be misunderstanding you, because what I read is not remotely true. I mean, what you describe does indeed happen, but the other thing happens, too. For a full rebuttal to everything you said, allow me to introduce you to Master of Orion 3. They wanted to completely revamp the gameplay, none of the innovations were copying anything popular, and they created a game which (so far) has killed the series.

          You’re at least provisionally willing to accept Assassin’s Creed, but not Heroes of Might & Magic, Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy, Fallout, or Total War? All of those series made sweeping, original changes that ruined the game for at least a large number of fans, if not enough to actually kill the series’ commercial viability. Sometimes they were chasing a bigger audience and got it at the cost of some of their previous fans. Sometimes the series was so entrenched and/or the developer so wealthy they didn’t have to care whether each and every game had anything to do with the previous in terms of gameplay, philosophy, or presentation. Reasons vary, for sure, and it’s not just down to incompetence. But to pretend that all bad innovation is chasing the leader is nonsense.

          Again, maybe you weren’t saying that. If so, feel free to clarify.

      • Premium User Badge

        Anthile says:

        Warriors of the North actually had less features and recycled most of the map from the first game. Now they make yet another game that looks like it’s doing the same thing again. Also, this is no longer Katauri anymore so most of the writing feels like it was dragged through google translate twice and presumably wasn’t very good to begin with.

        • Taear says:

          Honestly, if this is a sequel to Warriors of the North I won’t even bother. But if it feels more like Armoured Princess then maybe it’s worth picking up.

          Warriors made no sense and the new stuff to do just wasn’t as much fun and wasn’t ordered quite as well. Princess had a definite clear pattern to where to go and what to do whereas Warriors didn’t quite manage it.

        • mouton says:

          I loved writing in Legend and Princess. Not the story per se, just the dialogues and descriptions. They really surprised me as to their literary level which surpassed many native English productions. Some dedicated Russian English major, I suppose.

    • ZIGS says:

      I agree, they’ve basically released the same game several times by now. But hey, if people keep buying it…

  2. killias2 says:

    OH MY GOD DARKPLACE

  3. CobraLad says:

    From what I heard, original devs simply lost their right for the game to 1C, which milks zombified game like its no tomorrow.
    Although 1C is currently became publishing necromancer, unleashing hordes of deceased games into Steam. Those wraiths they released on Steam today were considered outdated when they came out, for crying out loud.

    • tsff22 says:

      Well, 1C DID make the NecrovisioN games, which IMO were actually pretty decent, if somewhat clunky.

      • CobraLad says:

        Dont wanna dissapoint you, but Necrovision was made by Farm 51, 1C was publisher in CIS countries only, I believe.

  4. rustybroomhandle says:

    Is Garth Marenghi going to be in this?

  5. Premium User Badge

    Thurgret says:

    I own a few King’s Bounty games from a bundle. I’ve never played them. Something tells me I should at least give them a go.

    • MattM says:

      I really enjoyed the first one and Armored Princess, but if you play them today you should skip Armored Princess in favor of Crossworlds. It contains a updated version of Armored Princess called Orcs on the March. I can’t recommend Warriors in the North. Its too similar to the previous games and has terrible pacing. It would have been better if it had had around 40 -50 hours cut from its 90 hour length.

      • Shadow says:

        I find myself in the same situation as Thurget. Those are good tips!

        • Martin Carpenter says:

          True. Warriors of the north didn’t feel as polished as Crossworlds in the end either.

          This seems as if it might be worthwhile if lucky – you’re certainly going to be starting with new unit types, the question is going to be how long they let you keep them.

          • Taear says:

            At release Warriors had some game breaking bugs that were fixed by patches which forced you to start a new game. I quit after that, it’s totally unreasonable to expect people to 100% repeat about 40 hours worth of stuff.

      • Premium User Badge

        Arren says:

        MattM’s got it.

  6. InternetBatman says:

    I’ll wind up getting it eventually, though I’ll be in no rush. Here’s hoping they lower the density of boss fights. They were all over the place in Warriors of the North, and dick moves which kill a bunch of units suck when you can’t replace the units.

  7. MattM says:

    Warriors of the North was way too long. Apparently they released dlc for it that made it even longer.

  8. Scytale says:

    I am going to buy it just for the box-art! :)

  9. The Random One says:

    They should either stop putting angry half-naked ladies in their box art, or relent and change the series’ name to Queen’s Booty.

  10. SillyWizard says:

    So I don’t play the King’s Bounty (or HoMM) games, but I loved Disciples 2 enough that made the mistake of picking up Disciples 3 some time ago.

    I recently learned that Disciples 3 has been overhauled and re-released. (With, as far as I can tell, no discounts or anything being offered to those of us who bought the original version.)

    Has anybody here checked this new Disciples 3 out? Is it worth the time or $$?

    • squareking says:

      I think that’s Reincarnation you’re talking about, which was recently on sale on GMG for nottalotta. It’s supposed to be far superior to D3: Resurrection and totally worth it if you’re into the genre. I picked it up but can’t say much because I’m buried under videogames.

      • SillyWizard says:

        Yeah, I guess I’m not really starving for something to play, either. I would really love to re-experience Disciples 2 in an updated way, though.

        Sigh. Maybe I’ll just reinstall Disciples 2. Again.

  11. Burningvillage says:

    Its more of a 4x/rts but I would highly recommend Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes to anyone looking for a Kings Bounty fix. Stardock may have messed up with the original Elemental but the latest incarnation derived from that really nailed it.

  12. satan says:

    It’ll be good to finally be able to play as demons right from the start, it was something you couldn’t do until late in the previous games and never quite worked as well as it should have.

  13. Tuco says:

    On a side note, I really wish Katauri could go back to make a new Space rangers.

  14. bill says:

    First one was good, but dragged on too long due to being very grindy. I never could finish it.

    So I’m somewhat amazed that they’re able to keep selling expandalones which basically just extend the base game… as I thought the main thing the first game needed was a bit of editing.

    I keep imagining that people get a craving for more King’s Bounty, buy the next expandalone, play the first half, stop. Repeat.

  15. Jason Moyer says:

    The modern King’s Bounty games are basically what fans of most games wish their favorite series were like – the same thing repeated endlessly for 10 years with almost no variation. This is why you never ever listen to fans about these things.