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.