King's Bounty: Warrior Princess - game review

Author: Krystian Smoszna
Date: 2009-10-23 13:59:00
The review was based on the PC version.

After a nearly twelve-month break, the King's Bounty series has once again marked its presence on the Polish market. This time, thanks to the Warrior Princess , a game that was originally supposed to be an addition to the Legend released last year, but eventually has grown so much that today it is treated as a continuation of the original, not a traditional expansion. In fact, the product of Katauri Interactive is not small. In terms of the size of the world, the new game is not much behind the previous one. It also contains a similar number of tasks and fights that we fight with hostile creatures all the time. All in all, this provides around thirty hours of entertainment on your first try - quite a lot, right?

Ten years have passed since the events of the previous installment of the King's Bounty series. Bill Gilbert's great expedition, in which we had the opportunity to participate, was an undisputed success. The forces of hell have been banished from Endoria, and all the conflicting races inhabiting this fantasy world have finally buried their war ax. Nothing good, however, lasts forever, let alone the longed-for peace. The demon Baal, defeated by Gilbert, finally regained his strength and found an effective way to once again take its toll on the inhabitants of the land.

Baal and the hordes of his subordinate creatures rolled through Endoria like a cylinder, destroying everything that stood in their way and captivating the once proud orcs and elves. The last bastion of resistance turned out to be the Kronberg Castle in Greenwort, the same one where we started our adventure in Legend. Surrounded by a magical barrier, the fortress stopped the march of demons, but the people protecting themselves in the fortress have no illusions - the enemy will eventually overcome the obstacle, and if a miracle does not happen, Grenwort will share the fate of other lands, ensuring Baal a great victory.

The action of the game begins at this point. Its main character is Princess Amelia, known from the prototype, who has turned from an inconspicuous girl into a beautiful woman over the past decade. The brave heir to the throne decides to take matters into her own hands and go to Teana, where the famous Bill Gilbert is probably now residing. The princess believes her mentor will find a way to defeat Baal once more and restore order to the kingdom.

Warrior Princess is a game built on the same foundations as Legend, so at first glance it does not differ from the original. Before starting the actual game, we choose the class that will largely determine the further development of the character and after a short introduction we land in Endoria. We move around the world in real time, talk to other inhabitants of the land, visit houses, collect items scattered around the board and accept tasks from NPCs. The fight has not changed either. All battles take place in turns, treasures and sometimes various "obstacles" appear on the battlefield, and the army that manages to wipe out enemy units from the face of the earth wins the battles. To sum up, from the very beginning it's hard to shake off the impression that we are dealing with a classic replay of entertainment.

In fact, there are quite a few improvements to Warrior Princess , but you'll need to spend more time in the game to discover them. The most important innovation that significantly influences the exploration of the world is the ability to transform a faithful steed into a pegasus, i.e. a flying horse. Amelia can take to the air whenever she wants - just press one button to glide through the air in just a few seconds. While flying, the princess avoids obstacles and monsters traversing the world, and easily lands in places inaccessible by other routes, e.g. on a rock ledge high in the mountains. I must admit that this is a great convenience, greatly facilitating the game.

Another important novelty is the dragon obtained in Teana, which replaces the spirits of the Box of Frenzy known from the original. The pet actively participates in all battles, collecting experience points regardless of Amelia. After reaching the next level, your pet learns new skills or develops old ones, becoming a more and more effective killing machine by the minute. The authors did not make a mistake in the prototype and shortened the time needed for our charges to rest, thanks to which weaker spells can be cast even every turn, as long as we have the appropriate number of Rage points. In general, the functioning of the dragon in the game is much more interesting than the demons from Legend , we can use its services more often and develop it faster.

The last major change in Warrior Princess is a new approach to traveling between continents. If you played the prototype, you probably remember the tedious necessity of running from one means of transport to another to get to a distant island. In the new game, this problem completely disappears. Amelia can sail to another land in an ordinary ship, as long as she previously found a map revealing her location. This is another, very large convenience that is hard not to be considered a plus. Boring wandering through cleansed, and thus no longer offering anything interesting, lands have finally gone into oblivion.

The other improvements are no longer as big as the ones mentioned above, but they are certainly interesting. It is nice that the weaker creatures, seeing a powerful army approaching them, run away from the road, instead of boldly treading the embrace of death, as was the case in Legend. I also like the extensive statistics screen that summarizes the fight, which finally shows how much experience the dragon has gained, and also shows the effectiveness of all our units in the fight. By observing these last numbers, we can attempt to make quick adjustments in the selection of units, throwing out troops that are useless from the army.

Of course, the list of innovations does not end there. In The Warrior Princess, we visit previously unknown lands, eliminate five new bosses, learn about the lizard people, and watch a lot of premiere units, spells and magical items. Weapons displaying miraculous properties can now be destroyed to obtain runes and crystals, and certain achievements are awarded with medals that give various bonuses. The authors also tried to make changes to the character development tree and a small revolution in tasks. In addition to the main and side quests, the game also includes contracts for the elimination of certain heroes. It is a tribute to the first game in the King's Bounty series from 1990. There were also such orders there.

The Warrior Princess is powered by the same engine as the Legend , which is why both products differ slightly from the visual side. So if someone didn't like the fairy-tale graphics in the previous Katauri Interactive game, Amelia's adventures won't change his mind. The only really noteworthy novelty is the option to activate the stereoscopic image option, which, after putting on special glasses (you will find them in the game box), seems to be fully three-dimensional. The effect is great, but after a longer session it is very tiring for the eyes.

As for the music, there are also no significant changes here. During the game, we hear most of the well-known songs, as well as a few completely new songs, prepared with the Warrior Princess in mind . The series still hasn't made up for spoken dialogue. The only things that arise during the game are in the introduction. Then there is reading the texts, and there are a lot of these.

Although the Warrior Princess is aimed mainly at fans of the original, those of you who have not had contact with the King's Bounty series so far will also have fun. The game has a well-made tutorial (slightly more extensive than in Legend), and the first visited island is so user-friendly that novices can learn the program's possibilities without stress. However, it should be emphasized here that the Princess Warrior is a very demanding product. Even on the normal difficulty level, some fights will give you a hard time, and mistakes made in the development of the heroine will take revenge with double force in the least expected moment. If you dream about the final success, you need to pay a lot of attention to this game and plan your actions carefully.

After several dozen hours spent alone with Amelia, I can honestly praise the developers for a great job. I am glad that some of the shortcomings of the original have been corrected or eliminated, that the product has received several solutions that make life easier, and that the whole thing makes a very positive impression. So why the lower rating compared to Legend? The answer to this question is simple. The Warrior Princess, although it is a product that surpasses the prototype in many aspects, unfortunately does not draw you as much as it does. I had the impression that I had seen it all before, far too often, and in my opinion, the Warrior Princess did not make the leap forward I really expected. The problem of uninteresting quests has still not been dealt with, again at the end of the game I was bored with Amelia's more clashes with enemies, I also lacked that bit of freshness that would breathe new energy into old bones in the later phase of the struggle. Don't get me wrong. The Warrior Princess is a very good product, but in the addition category to Legend, what it was supposed to be at the beginning. If we are to treat it as another game in the series, and this is how it is advertised, then the Russian developers have to try harder. And that is the main reason why I had to deduct a few stitches. Players who have not had contact with the Legend can successfully add up to 5 points to the rating.

Krystian "UV Impaler" Smoszna