Adding it on
My radar last year did not include King's Bounty: The Legend. In fact, I had not even heard of the game until someone pushed it into my hands and said: “Play, you’ll love it”. That someone was right. King’s Bounty turned out to be absolutely captivating turn-based game, infused with a magical aura seldom seen in games. Wanting more, my heart skipped a beat when an Add-on, called King’s Bounty: Armored Princess was announced by its publisher.
The add-on takes players back to Endoria, but this time in the skin of Princess Amelie, daughter of King Mark. Accompanied by her pet dragon, she is on a quest to find her missing mentor and good friend Bill Gilbert, who is a knight in her father’s army. Will she find him?
How she plays
Like the original King’s Bounty, Armored Princess is a mix of Role-Playing and Turn Based strategy in the vein of Heroes of Might & Magic. You quest your way through the game, riding or flying around (more about that later!), plowing your way through troves of enemies that you may avoid some, but not all of the time.
When avoiding is not an option (or wanted), a battle begins in an ‘arena’ that is divided in multiple hexes. The looks of the arena change depending on the location where the encounter triggers, making each battle seem a little different from the ones before. Combat takes place in turns which means that you will have ample time to work out which tactic you want to follow.
One of each unit in your army is visible on screen. A little number with each unit indicates how many units that single one represents. This way, the battlefield can be easily overseen and it is a good way to get players new to the genre on their way, without scaring them off with hordes of friendly soldiers to control and equal amounts of enemies to fight.
No dirty hands
Princess Amelie doesn’t take part in the physical battle herself. For that she uses her army. This doesn’t mean she is idly standing by. She has spells available to her that will often prove to be the decisive factor. Spells can be used only once during each round and her dragon has some additional tricks up its sleeve as well.
The dragon, replacing the Spirits of Rage from the original game, starts out amusing and small, but when it has learned each of the 9 skills available to it, the beast will becomes a mighty ally. One of its most potent spells is the ability to awaken volcanoes that can cause damage of epic proportions to your opponents.
Just how many spells Amelie has available, and how powerful they can become, depends on her class. The class is chosen at the start of the game and largely determines how you play the game and how NPCs react to Amelie. The classes from the original game return and you are able to take your pick from the Warrior, Mage and Paladin. Each of these has its own pros and cons in battle and each comes with different additional skills in their skill tree. Both the Warrior and the Paladin are able to cast -some- spells, but neither can do it as skillfully as the Mage. They are, however, able to raise far bigger armies.
Checking the new
Many of the old races will return. Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Orcs, Undead and Demons will all make an appearance. In addition to these six, Armored Princess features a new race, Pangolins. These lizard-like creatures have particularly bloodthirsty traditions and are among the most ancient races in the realm. Pangolin warriors are terrifying in combat and, as such, much sought after allies. They are difficult to control but those who are able to find common ground with this fearsome race will find them to be strong allies. In addition to the new race, Armored Princess boasts 5 new bosses, 10 new spells and a new level-cap of 50. There will also be new abilities and talents as well as about 50 new items.
One of the new abilities lets you transform your horse into a Pegasus, giving you the option to fly instead of gallop around the land. This way you can reach the almost inaccessible places of Endoria, including closed clearings and mountain plateaus high up in the skies that can’t be reached via land or water.
All events on the overall map occur in real time and days change into nights. The change of the time of day is not just for decoration. Depending on the composition of your own troops and that of your enemy, some battles may be considerable easier in nighttime than in daytime.
Armored Princess does away with the wives and children, replacing them with armor-bearers that can either be assistants or mercenaries. You can hire them and get additional slots to fill with weapons or other items to improve their skills. But remember: when you can’t pay your hired hand, the extra slots and the items in it will disappear along with him.
Time slipping away
King’s Bounty: Armored Princess looks to be a worthy add-on for its predecessor. With all the new talents, spells and items, the extra levels and a pet dragon to top it off, I predict many hours to slip away into oblivion while playing this game.