by Derk Bil
reviewed on PC
A bit like…
The recent release of King’s Bounty: Crossworlds expands the already extensive world of the King’s Bounty universe and is the third iteration of the Turn-based Strategy franchise. If you are not familiar with the King’s Bounty games, you may know some of its genre peers which include illustrious titles such as Disciples and Heroes of Might & Magic.
While akin, the series has an identity of its own and differentiates itself by the enormous variety in units that can be picked for a fight, the way you can customize your character through talent trees and a lighthearted and playful art style. That’s not to say the game is easy. It can have a rather mean and unforgiving streak at times, forcing the player to apply all his creativity towards getting past a particularly difficult enemy.
Crossworlds consists of three campaigns. Orcs on the march is the chunkiest of the three and is made up of the original campaign from Armored Princess, topped up with a mysterious tower that is just begging to be explored and an Orc threat that needs to be thwarted.
The Orc threat is revealed to you first. An Orc Shaman tells you of a naughty warlord who plans to wage war on anyone and everyone and only you can stop him. With Orcs being the tough opponents they are, you will have to beef up before you can confront the warlord.
Shortly after, you learn of the mysterious tower that emerged out of thin air just off the coast of Debir. No self-respecting hero can resist such a tempting quest and to fulfill it, you will have to fight your way up to the top of the tower and claim your prize. Sounds easy enough, right? Ah, but this is a King’s Bounty game, nothing is ever easy. The higher you get, the harder the fights become. The lower floors are a piece of cake and may even be too easy for veterans of the series, but the last couple of floors will have you break out a sweat.
To give you a head start, Orc units can be recruited on the very first island which turned out to be a real game changer. Normally you’re stuck with low level humans, wild animals and the occasional undead. With these Orcs under your control, your first fights will be a lot easier, speeding up the initial phases of the game considerably.
The expansion introduces a new gameplay mechanic that allows you to train lower tier units to more powerful versions of the same type. Once you have earned the right to train them, you can use trainers that can be found on most islands. You’ll need trophies gained through your conquests to satisfy trainers that you are worthy of using their services.
More item sets have been added too. At higher difficulty settings, managing morale can become a significant task and many of the new items sets are geared towards dealing with this. If you have played any of the previous games, you will be aware that the game has an immense variety in units and that mixing and matching them is not always work beneficial to your cause. Priests and Vampires were never meant to fight side by side and having them in the same army hurts their motivation. Tweaking your attire in such a way that both units are happy may see them motivated enough to defeat some of the more difficult enemy armies.
Fun campaigns, more of the same great gameplay.
The new content is rather short.