„Think Heroes of Might and Magic 3, but with a real-time adventure mode”. That’s about an accurate first-look description of King’s Bounty: The Legend, a remake based on the game that inspired the creation of the Heroes of Might and Magic series. And considering that few producers have tried venturing into this genre, it comes as no surprise that the new KB, initially known as Battlelord, got plenty of praise from fans of the renowned turn-based strategy series.
As I was saying, the first noticeable difference between King’s Bounty and HoMM is that the adventure mode in this remake takes place in real-time. Bordered only by certain limits that are tied to the main quest’s progress, you can ride around the map, freely scavenging, fighting and questing to your heart’s content.
There are four major continents you can explore, split into a series of regions and extended by the seafaring and dungeon-crawling aspects. Furthermore, if the situation arises, you can circle around your enemies and avoid combat. You can find out what the (generic) odds of winning are before entering each fight, by right-clicking on your enemies. I say „generic” because „Very weak”, „Weak”, „Match”, „Stronger”, „Slightly stronger” or „Overpowered” only indicates the raw size difference between your troops and the opponent’s.
It’s worth noting that this report is only influenced by the number, level and type of unit, not the spellbook arsenal and gameplay style of the two clashing forces. Thus, you can easily win some impossible-looking battles, and attitude you’d best get used to when playing on the highest difficulty level.
King’s Bounty: The Legend lays out three classes to choose from (Warrior, Paladin and Mage), and while the playable heroes are all human, you’ll still meet elves, dwarves, the undead, orcs and demons. Choosing any of these three classes will lead to a different game experience: the Warrior is almost exclusively reliant on melee force, the Mage is the typical spellcaster of the trio and the Paladin is a hybrid between the two.
Each class will evolve differently, both regarding the hero’s stats (Attack, Defense, Intellect) as well as their skills, split into three class-specific categories (Might, Mind and Magic) . Of course, that doesn’t mean the Mage can’t have a few Warrior abilities, but you can’t really make a „jack of all trades”.
Each skill requires a certain quantity of runes that can be obtained by completing quests and leveling up your hero or by simply picking them up off the landscape or by opening chests that you can find both in the adventure and combat modes. Should you choose the Warrior, you’ll get a lot more Might runes throughout the game than the Mage players will get. But considering that Magic skills only use a small number of Might runes and quite a few Magic runes, a Warrior will never be as good a spellcaster as a Mage.
On the other hand, even if some quests are class-specific, the way you get to the end is roughly the same because of the overall storyline, which is identical to all three cases. The way you engage in combat varies though: as a Warrior, on the highest level of difficulty, you’ll find the first half of the game to be particularly difficult, full of battles harshly tweaked against you. The Mage can easily defeat outnumbering armies, while the „glass cannon” approach raises the stakes due to troops being much lower in number.