King's Bounty: The Legend Catch-All

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So, this game is excellent. Surprisingly excellent. They took everything that was good about the original, added in everything that was good about Heroes of Might and Magic, and then mashed them together and added more goodness on top. The writing is clever and often humorous, and the main character is a bit of a wiseass, which is refreshing in a fantasy game. The world is extremely vibrant and lively, chock full of little doodads to find, and it's lots of fun to just ride around exploring. Think back to those nights playing Baldurs Gate or KOTOR, when you said to yourself "Self, let's just finish these two quests and then we're going to bed." And then while you were finishing those two quests, you found two other ones, and then while you were finishing THOSE two quests, you found two more, and pretty soon it's 4 in the morning. This game is like that.

Much like the original, the game has a non-random map filled with randomly seeded monster dens and items, and your time is split between running around the world (doing quests, exploring, hunting for geegaws), and combat. Running around the world happens in realtime, combat is hex- and turn-based. Morale and Leadership still exist, and are handled far better in this version. Roaming enemies will try to engage you as you explore, and just like in the first one, you can dodge most of them if you're not in the mood for fighting. The character system is greatly improved...you now have a WoW-style talent tree, various equipment slots, and you can get married, have children, and then get divorced when you find a prettier one. And in this enlightened society, your wife only takes a one-time cut of 20% of your money when you show her the door. The magic system has also been revamped; spells now have various schools which you can specialize in, and each spell has multiple upgrade levels.

The world is enormous; I've been playing in every spare moment for the last three nights and I feel like I'm not even halfway done. The assortment of monsters to fight and recruit is quite large, and half the fun of the game is playing with all the various types until figure out your favorite army mix.

Combat starts out feeling fairly simple and constrained while you get the hang of the system and build up your abilities and army, but starts to really click once you hit the second island. There's a good mix of easy and challenging encounters, and the ability to constantly mix and match your army keeps things from getting too repetitive.

I could ramble on for awhile longer, but this game is well worth the money. There's a demo without the copy protection out now (thanks doogiemac!) if you want to give it a peek before taking the plunge.

I shall return later with some helpful starting tips.

Totally agree, I've been enjoying this immensely. Didn't even realise it was based on a previous game.
I'm over at the Freedom Isle's at the moment playing pirate

I always enjoyed the HoMM games but I could never really get very far into them, the main reason being the whole defending/attacking cities mechanic would always get really fiddly, and the difficulty curve is more of a verticle slope.
This game takes all the stuff I like from HoMM (the combat and riding around exploring stuff) and jettisons all the other nonsense.

Oh, and married to a frog at the moment :S At least until I find someone with better stat bonuses for a paladin

My only real complaint is that every so often I get hit with a freeze bug that totally locks the PC and I have to do a hard-reset. Annoying but luckily rare (might be because I'm running Itunes in the background at the same time).

Great write-up. I'm about to leave the first map (so not far at all), and have had a total blast so far. You're spot on with the "one more quest" notes. I find myself starting it up to play just a few minutes, and suddenly realize it's been a couple of hours.

Some tips! I haven't hit the endgame yet, so I may have my head up my ass and be dispensing bad advice. Only time will tell!

1. In combat, you can tap ALT to toggle lifebars and turn action order. Lifebars aren't too meaningful until you get some higher HP units, but the turn order is always useful.
2. You can split stuff by shift-clicking. Dismissing, reserving, etc.
3. In early levels, when you're offered things like "+1 attack" or "+100 leadership" at level time, take the stat gain. In later levels you'll be offered "+1 attack" or "+1500 leadership," so buy those stat gains early when the opportunity cost is low.
4. The "Reserves" talent in the Mind tree and the "Tactics" talent in the Might tree are ridiculously useful. Prioritize maxing those.
5. Once you have at least one point in Reserves, you can pick up a high-speed unit, buy the max, shift it into the reserve, and then buy the max again. You're then free to advance that unit into the opposing ranged troops very aggressively since you have a big pool to restock from after each battle.
6. Check the first area's animal tamer and the swamps and see if you got any Royal Snakes. Those things dominate the early game.
7. Once you get the green spirit's Shoal of Fish or the red spirit's Rockfall, make sure you carry at least one high initiative unit in your army. If you can get a turn before the enemy moves, you can usually catch their entire force with those spells (takes a few upgrades for Rockfall to get big, but Shoal of Fish can get everyone right from the start on most layouts if you aim it correctly). The Onslaught talent in the Might tree helps with this.
8. Be diligent about using the red and black spirits every battle, they get very strong eventually.
9. Fortresses restock their monsters with new stuff every time you get a new title from the king. The other monster dens do not refill, so be careful with the rare finds.

Played the demo, had a good time. No room in the budget for this yet, I'd be interested when it pops on steam. Might get back into this thread in January or so.

It looks sweet.. is there any multiplayer?

PAR

Did anyone notice the ridiculous Engrish in the demo? It's as if the removal of the Starforce protection gave it a bit of brain damage. I only noticed it in the texts of dialogs explaining demo restrictions.

I've finished the first quest, and I am enjoying it so far. I do hope the battles become more interesting, although I don't think I'll be able to make it to the second island in the demo.

1. In combat, you can tap ALT to toggle lifebars and turn action order. Lifebars aren't too meaningful until you get some higher HP units, but the turn order is always useful.

Aha! I was wondering what was doing that, kept appearing after I alt-tabbed out to windows a couple of times but I didn't twig that it was ALT that was doing it

6. Check the first area's animal tamer and the swamps and see if you got any Royal Snakes. Those things dominate the early game.

Your not wrong - those Royal Snakes are awesome. Evil Beholders are pretty good too.

Did anyone notice the ridiculous Engrish in the demo? It's as if the removal of the Starforce protection gave it a bit of brain damage. I only noticed it in the texts of dialogs explaining demo restrictions.

There's a fair bit of clumsy wording and some of the jokes obviously fall a bit flat in translation, but it's certainly not the worst game translation I've ever seen.

I've finished the first quest, and I am enjoying it so far. I do hope the battles become more interesting, although I don't think I'll be able to make it to the second island in the demo.

Haven't tried the updated demo but the first demo limited you to one "zone". I imagine this one does the same thing.

stevenmack wrote:
Did anyone notice the ridiculous Engrish in the demo? It's as if the removal of the Starforce protection gave it a bit of brain damage. I only noticed it in the texts of dialogs explaining demo restrictions.

There's a fair bit of clumsy wording and some of the jokes obviously fall a bit flat in translation, but it's certainly not the worst game translation I've ever seen.

It's only noticeable in a few places, but that is why it stands out. The rest of the writing is crisp and witty. I find it oddly amusing.

7. Once you get the green spirit's Shoal of Fish or the red spirit's Rockfall, make sure you carry at least one high initiative unit in your army. If you can get a turn before the enemy moves, you can usually catch their entire force with those spells (takes a few upgrades for Rockfall to get big, but Shoal of Fish can get everyone right from the start on most layouts if you aim it correctly). The Onslaught talent in the Might tree helps with this.

Holy crap - Shoal of Fish is also ridiculous in a good way. I just wiped out a gang of Thorns with one cast. Not one unit moved.

I'm liking the game more and more. I'm still in the demo, and unfortunately I'm starting to run out of things to do in this zone. I'm currently hunting for tips concerning a quest where I need to uncurse some folks, and I'm worried that I won't be able to finish it because the solution doesn't fall inside the bounds of the demo. I have several quests like that already, but they are quite clearly asking me to leave the zone.

Here's some more tips I dug up at the developer's forums:

* You can increase combat animation speed in Options! It's a dropdown among the technical graphics options, so it's really easy to miss. Everybody should do this.

* Right-click and hold on an unit or unit picture for a quick reference of its statistics. Shift/Ctrl click, with left mouse button, on an unit or unit picture for the info popup to stay, so that you can hover the mouse over the numbers and icons and see what all that means.

* Scribe scrolls into the magic book by clicking the button next to them in the book.

* ... but don't waste magic crystals and runes on useless spells and skills; spend them only on things you really want or need, as they're not plentiful at all, particularly later in the game. High end spells may take some 50 magic crystals to scribe and upgrade.

* There's a limit on the unscribed spells in the spellbook. If you see for sale a spell you want, but can't buy for some reason, either scribe or right-click on some of your extra scrolls and chuck them out to make room (or just use them in combat).

* Once you have an upgraded spell in your spellbook, you can still cast the cheaper, lower level versions by holding Shift or Ctrl while the spellbook is open.

* F5 key quicksaves the game. Thoughtfully, the game keeps not one but three of your last quicksaves. The game also auto-saves in castles.

* Always check enemy strength before combat, by right-clicking them while adventuring. Always save before entering a battle whose difficulty you can't judge firsthand, such as creatures in castles, or upgrading/pacifying items. The Scouting skill under Soul gives additional info about enemies and is a prerequisite for many others, so it's useful to have at least on level 1.

* You can right-click and Use the Thorn sprouts, spider/snake/griffon/dragon eggs and other such items to summon creatures of that type.

* You can upgrade some items by right-clicking them and choosing Upgrade. You'll then fight the gremlins that inhabit the item. Warning: depending on the item those fights may be very difficult, so save first.

* Some items can form item sets which give additional bonuses if you're wearing all its members. Right-click on an item and choose Info. If it belongs to a set, then it's written there.

* It's possible to run the game in windowed mode by editing the .INI

Anywhere to buy this online for a digital download? Kinda interested now.

Sounds interesting. When will it be on Steam for $20?

Oh, one more demo impression - even with the combat animation speed turned up, I STILL found it too slow compared to HOMM, where my preference was to turn it up to maximum speed and the animations were lightning fast - when you're engaging in relatively meaningless battles fairly often, even the most minor pauses for the same combat animation over and over become pretty boring. There NEEDS to be more than just 2 settings for combat animation speed, and I might just wait until that's either patched in or modded before picking this game up.

Gamersgate has it for $40. I just picked it up on sale from Circuit City for $30. Mmm, new game smell!

JimmDogg wrote:

Sounds interesting. When will it be on Steam for $20?

Not anytime soon. 1C has an exclusive publishing deal for digital distribution with GamersGate.

I sat down and played this for a good 3-4 hours last night and had a blast. It isn't in my budget right now to go further than the demo, but I will be looking into this as a purchase down the road. I do miss the city defense and upgrade portions of HoMM, but this is a nice change of pace overall.

Yoyoson wrote:

Gamersgate has it for $40. I just picked it up on sale from Circuit City for $30. Mmm, new game smell!

Thanks for the heads up, got it at CC as well. So far, I'm loving it. I'm really getting sucked in, but with my current game, I'm finding it REALLY HARD. This game requires you to rely on quicksave and quickload (which happen very quickly, thank goodness).

But production values are great. I'm just loving this game. If you're on the fence and like HOMM games, check out the demo.

I am so glad this thread is here. I shopped some reviews and once I found this, bingo! I am playing the demo tonight, possibly buying the game tomorrow. One thing I hate is progressing1/3 of the way into the game, only to find out I made a very serious mistake early. Here, that mistake may be the Warrior/Mage/Paladin pick. Typically in HoMM, I would pick casters as my leaders. In most paper RPG's though, I was a fighter-type. Should I mage it, here? Split the diff with Paladin? Hulk out? Halp!

I find the fighter most entertaining. The big armies that come with his high leadership make for much quicker "yard trash" battles, and you'll still have plenty of points to upgrade your spell trees to the top level. I found that once I hit the mid-game, very few battles lasted more than 2 turns, so having a small mana pool really didn't affect me much.

I'm on a second playthrough with a mage right now, and I'm growing tired of casting the same spells time after time and watching the animations. I'd prefer to just have an army to do my killing.

I'm downloading the demo right now. Filefront has the demo (with a much higher download rate) than the crappy ftp link most sources link.

I'm really enjoying this so far, it feels like an updated HoMM with less tedium. Not very far into it though.

I have logged a few hours in on the demo. Got me my first wife. She don't like ninjas! I see the HoMM in the tactical battles, but not so much in the exploring. The exploring is fun. The characters are wacky, I do wish there were quick travel between points - although I like the scenery much right now - I can see becoming impatient if I need to cross several zones. Mr. Crinkle, have you finished as the fighter? How many hours, and on what difficulty?

I understand the mana pool issue, it seems like if I combat, I can't even dent my current pool of 58 mana at 4th level. And it all comes back in just a few thundering hoofsteps. I do like it - but I think I need to check out a Sacred 2 and a Fable 2 demo, as well. That catch-all is on my next open tab.

They have released a patch - version 1.6.5.

http://www.kings-bounty.com/eng/patc...
Direct Link

My biggest annoyance with this game (other than the somewhat same-y combat after a while) is the strange difficulty curve. At level eight I'm wandering through a pretty easy zone whose entrance is just outside of the castle. I was being it handily, went into a castle of an ancient evil king for a quest, and immediately faced armies of ~500 skeleton archers who could kill me with one shot.

Now granted I quicksaved before so it wasn't game-destroying, but it's certainly irksome to have areas that are just plain too high level next to areas that are too low level with no real indication of which is which.

kuddles wrote:
JimmDogg wrote:

Sounds interesting. When will it be on Steam for $20?

Not anytime soon. 1C has an exclusive publishing deal for digital distribution with GamersGate.

Really? I got mine from Direct2Drive. Or are those the same things?

Is it just me (I could just suck lol) or is it hard to:

1) Keep your guys alive. Almost every fight I lose units... just part of the game, but my numbers end up dwindling after a good set of fights.
2) Find units to replenish those lost in the fights? I have now run out of Royal Snakes and priests and cannot find anymore anywhere. I beat the army in front of the knights tent but there are only 5 of this and 8 of that.

Albeit the King decided to offer up a "Horde" of everything he has, but that is just swordsmen, archers and peasants. Everyone other unit seems to just not have anymore in stock.

Any ideas?

Thanks!

Edit: After playing tonight I found out that you can scroll the "troop selection" and bam, there were more units!

PAR

par wrote:

Is it just me (I could just suck lol) or is it hard to:

1) Keep your guys alive. Almost every fight I lose units... just part of the game, but my numbers end up dwindling after a good set of fights.
2) Find units to replenish those lost in the fights? I have now run out of Royal Snakes and priests and cannot find anymore anywhere. I beat the army in front of the knights tent but there are only 5 of this and 8 of that.

I have lots of inquisitors in my army. They're good for bringing one troop back from the dead. Combine that with the Level 3 resurrection spell (I'm a paladin), and I can usually resurrect every dead troop. Keep in mind that you can cast a lower level of the spell (good for bringing back low numbers of low level units), and you can usually cast it a few times, particularly if you have the skill that replenishes mana in combat.

I lose many units in battle, but I try to insure that units are only lost from one or two stacks so that it requires less resurrection.

wickbroke wrote:

Mr. Crinkle, have you finished as the fighter? How many hours, and on what difficulty?

Finished fighter on the normal difficulty, no idea what the final hours were. Never really got challenging, cash was always abundant, and the reaper rage guy just absofreakinglutely mowed through enemies by the endgame. Played it about midway through on hard as a mage, didn't really care for the low troop counts although I loved the two-spells-a-round aspect. And the mage definitely has an easier time in the early game. Restarted as a paladin on hard and had just about finished it when I shelved the game for awhile.

In my experience, the class power order goes fighter, mage, paladin. The Might tree points, high leadership and double rage gain just dominate. The Mind tree only has a couple of good skills, and the Magic tree has plenty of good stuff right near the top and doesn't require all that many points. There are quite a few artifacts that give magic runes after multiple victories, too. The only spell school you really need in this game is Distortion. If you use your troops recklessly, you might need some Chaos as well, just for Sacrifice.

Even on the hard difficulty, an army with a levelled up reaper, maximum points in Tactics and Onslaught, and level 3 distortion will generally have the battle wrapped up or close to it by the end of the 2nd turn. Open with black hole, cast mass Haste, then use your huge initiative bonus and high speed troops to demolish their most dangerous stack before they have a chance to do anything. Then you spend the rest of the battle doing normal attacks to build rage for the next fight, a task which is much easier as a fighter. High rage makes for easy wins if you're careful to level the rock guy and the reaper, simple as that.

Does this game really have much re-play value? How different are the classes? Are the maps populated differently enough to warrant replay?

Thanks

syndicatedragon wrote:

Does this game really have much re-play value? How different are the classes? Are the maps populated differently enough to warrant replay?

Thanks

I seriously doubt this game would be very enjoyable on a replay. The missions are pretty linear, and the maps are all the same. I think they mix up the creatures a bit, but not enough to significantly change the experience. The only reason I could imagine would be a strong desire to see all the classes. Meh.

With that said, the first playthrough is pretty fun. I wish it were on Gametap, though.

Sarcophagus wrote:
syndicatedragon wrote:

Does this game really have much re-play value? How different are the classes? Are the maps populated differently enough to warrant replay?

Thanks

I seriously doubt this game would be very enjoyable on a replay. The missions are pretty linear, and the maps are all the same. I think they mix up the creatures a bit, but not enough to significantly change the experience. The only reason I could imagine would be a strong desire to see all the classes. Meh.

With that said, the first play through is pretty fun. I wish it were on Gametap, though.

I have to agree, I loved the Demo, and may pick this up when it hits the $15 - $20 mark and i have nothing else on my pile. When I do play it though, I foresee a one time play through, maybe two times with a different hero type.

Thread necromancy - Gamersgate.com has this for sale at $19.99 for the weekend. Hard to argue against pulling the trigger.

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