By: Adam Taylor –
The fourth instalment of the King’s Bounty strategy role-playing series provides the largest and most diverse experience yet. Taking the role of the Viking Olaf players can explore a whole new continent as well as travelling back to rediscover the lands introduced in previous titles as the continuing story expands.
King’s Bounty: Warriors of the North (WotN) adds new units, spells and abilities to the series. Olaf himself takes a personal role in combat alongside his troops. While the hero has always been able to cast spells during combat Olaf will leap into the fray himself with the new Rage abilities. As your troops deal and receive damage your Rage bar fills, allowing you to unleash devastating attacks on the enemy. Olaf is also accompanied by the Valkeries, heavenly maidens who accompany the fallen to the afterlife. These beautiful warriors add their own Rage abilities to Olaf’s list as well as adding bonuses to Olaf’s army by being put in command of the troops.
The Rune system allows the player to add some more tactical choices during combat. These runes allow units to get buffs to their attack, defence or luck. As Olaf levels up these boosts can be improved and are essential in turning the tide of battle.
As with the previous titles you can choose which of three classes to make the hero each with a specific focus. The Viking focuses on improving the strength of troops, the Skald gains the advantage of numbers and morale while the Soothsayer excels in magic. Each class provides bonuses that are key to victory while giving the player a new experience as they explore the game.
There is over 110 different units in the game, made up of troops from seven races: human, dwarf, elf, orc, demon, undead and neutral, as well as the newly introduced Viking faction. There is a massive amount of army combinations that players have access to. Building an army of a single race allows for great morale bonuses while a diverse army will allow more options and tactics in battle. The choice is up to the player and every game will be a unique experience.
The story will take the player across multiple continents and worlds. There is a deep story that continues from the previous titles but which is easy to get into even if this is your first experience with the series. There are plenty of choices to be made along the way, not just in the makeup of your army, but also in how to approach various missions. There are a lot of quests with multiple outcomes which will affect how the game progresses.
The graphics and music for the game truly set the mood. The sense of high adventure is well presented and the music is quite memorable. The game also includes a 3D option that can be enabled. Unlike modern 3D techniques that require players to use expensive monitors and glasses that can only be used briefly before causing damage to the eyes, WotN gives players a retro blue and red 3D mode that can be enjoyed with any five-cent paper and plastic glasses.
King’s Bounty: Warriors of the North is the largest and most expansive title in the King’s Bounty series while bringing the series to new heights. It is beautiful mix of turn based strategy and role-playing which immerses the player in a fantastical world of battles and intrigue. Highly recommended to both fans of the series and those who enjoy a good strategy game or RPG.