Hello everybody, Shaun Meyers (Kyo Akiara) here to bring you our latest review for King’s Bounty: Dark Side by 1C Company and 1C SoftClub. King’s Bounty: Dark Side is the latest game in the long running King’s Bounty series and is currently the 7th game in the series. The series started in 1990 with the original King’s Bounty but it wasn’t until 2008 with the 2008 release of King’s Bounty: Legend that the series finally made a return. After Legend came Armored Princess, Crossworlds, Warriors of the North, the free to play Legions and finally Dark Side. The game was released on Steam Early Access where it has progressed through its development cycle and will be officially releasing on August, 14, 2014 for $24.99 for the standard edition and $29.99 for the premium edition.
Story and Setting:
The story follows a unique path in the King’s Bounty franchise where you play as the dark side or evil side of the spectrum for a change. The majority of the King’s Bounty games put you in the role of someone from the light side of things. The game allows you to choose from 3 different races including the orcs, a demoness and a vampire, each with their own unique stats and starting areas. The orcs favor brute strength, the demoness favors large armies and the vampire favors magic use. The story follows our 3 evil heroes as they fight back against the forces of light after being driven from their home areas. After forming an alliance they form a pact with the guardian of darkness to bring forth a new age of darkness across the land and to ultimately build a weapon capable of destroying the guarding of light.
Your journey will take you to many different locations throughout the world of Teana. The world consists of many different islands most of which are hidden by clouds until you find navigational charts hidden in various locations. You’ll be able to travel between each island using a ship which you can also use to sail around and collect items floating in the ocean.
The game is played in a top-down isometric camera angle when exploring the game world. There are many different things to discover in the overworld section of the game including hidden objects, unit recruitment items, potions and equipment. The overworld is also where you’ll be able to converse with NPC’s to obtain quests, quest information, buy units and equipment. There are many different characters and buildings in the game world that you’ll be able to interact with and any NPC or building of interest with have a copper coin above it. Hidden objects won’t have an indicator however and you’ll need to look closely and mouse over everything to locate most hidden stuff. There is an indicator for stuff hidden underground however, this is shown by a blue light emanating from the ground. This indicates that they either have something interesting to say or that you can purchase items from them. The overworld is also where you’ll be able to initiate combat with an enemy army.
Once you initiate a battle with an enemy army you’ll be taken to the battle screen. Combat is done in a tactical RPG fashion where you’ll move your units across a grid based map. In order to attack an enemy you’ll need to move to a tile adjacent to the enemy unit if they’re melee or move to an area where they can do the most damage if they’re ranged. Each unit on the battlefield has a number underneath their characters. This number indicates the army size and your goal is to deplete the enemy armies to defeat them. Defeating all of the enemies on the map nets you a victory but victory won’t come easy at higher difficulty levels. Each unit has their own unique abilities as well, imps can throw fireballs at enemies to damage multiple enemies at once while skeleton archers can shoot poison or dark arrows at an enemy to damage them over time. Your main character can use spells also which allows you to use mana to damage or hinder an enemy. There are a bunch of different spells that you can acquire but you’ll need to know the proper school of magic before you can learn it from a scroll. There’s a wide variety of different units that you can use and acquire ranging from spiders and snakes to orc warriors and Cerberus like demons. At the end of a battle the amount of gold, experience points, enemies lost and items gained are tallied and you’ll be taken to the overworld again. If you happen to get defeated in battle then it’ll be game over and you’ll need to load a saved game.
Once you’ve gained enough experience points from either battles or quests you’ll level up. When you level up you’ll be given runes which you can use to purchase new perks in 3 different categories. Based on which character/race you’ve chosen the runes will be different when you level up. A demoness gets more spirit runes while a vampire gets more magic runes and the orc gets more strength runes. Each perk tree has its own unique stat increases based on different roles, the strength tree increases your rage, strength and defense while the spirit tree focuses more on your overall army size and leadership points. The magic tree as you probably guess focuses more on magic casting and mana stats.
Overall, King’s Bounty: Dark Side is just as fun as the previous games in the series and is a nice change of pace from always playing the light side of the world. The story is a bit darker but still remains true to the King’s Bounty formula and offers a really long strategy RPG with lots of units, equipment and levels to obtain. I give King’s Bounty: Dark Side an 8 out of 10, a very fun release that any fan of the King’s Bounty series will enjoy.