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If Baldur's Gate 3 is too vast, try co-op-friendly 30 hour fantasy RPG For The King 2, which launches today

Sequel to cult hit adds four-player support and new Battle Grid

A For The King 2 screenshot showing a party of player characters casting lightning magic at some undead enemies in a sewer-type environment.
Image credit: Curve Games

There comes a point when adding yet another behemothic RPG to your collection of unfinished, behemothic RPGs ceases to be a mark of eccentricity and becomes an act of manifest self-hatred. I, for instance, have just activated a beta code for 100-hour levelling fest Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader even as I make a mental note that really, I've got to make some proper headway in Baldur's Gate 3 this evening.

For The King 2, at least, seems pretty trim and digestible at a reported 30 hours in length. Released out of early access today, it's a blend of fantasy table-top gaming and roguelite, in which you lead a party of adventurers across a hexagonal map to quash an evil Queen in grid, dice and turn-based combat.

The original For The King, released out of early access in 2018, was pretty well-received among Steam user reviewers and elsewhere. The lovely Brendy summarised it in 2017 as "a shiny and modern-looking RPG that nevertheless retains a good and ancient heart. And by that I mean it has absolutely no qualms about murdering you." He was less impressed by its writing, deeming it to be "blurby fantasy pish, without an ounce of humour or character" and as such, strangely out of synch with the game's whimsical visuals. Wildermyth did this better.

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What does For The King 2 add? A new game engine, for one thing, and four-player support, for another. The co-op, which is available online and in local multiplayer with multiple controllers, sees each player taking charge of a different party member, and you'll need to haggle with your colleagues over battle tactics and where to go. While much of the exploration, questing and so forth appears familiar, developer IronOak have also expanded the combat with a battle grid system of front and back rows.

Characters in the front row can use shields to defend those behind them, and you can plonk status effects like poison on empty tiles, hemming characters in and thus, hindering usage of abilities that require you to be in the front or back row. All of which makes me think a little of the Darkest Dungeon games, though going by the videos, at least, the tactical intricacies aren't quite as fiendish. As for classes, you've got role-playing staples like Alchemists, plus the option of taming ravens and wolves to fight alongside you, or hiring mercenaries at the inn.

Interested? Here's the Steam link. I'm a little underwhelmed by the chonky visuals, but I do like me a tidily-made grid system. Hopefully they've had a bit more fun with the writing this time. If the idea of a relatively snack-sized, table-top-flavoured role-playing experience grabs you, I also recommend Armello.

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