King’s Bounty: Armored Princess is the standalone expansion of one of my most-played games from 2008, King’s Bounty: The Legend. The King’s Bounty pedigree hails from a long line of some of my favorite games, including the original King’s Bounty title from 1990 and the wonderful Heroes of Might and Magic games. Armored Princess takes much of what was great in The Legend, polishes a few of the rougher edges, and ends up being a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
At first glance, Armored Princess looks and feels exactly like its predecessor. Players take control of Amelie, the titular princess who was rescued during the happenings of The Legend. Amelie is all grown now, and very bad things have happened to her home world. The Demons have attacked and all looks lost, until a way is found to send Amelie to another world to track down the lands previous hero, Bill Gilbert. Upon arriving in the new world of Teana, Amelie discovers she is the focus of a prophecy that will require her to recover several magical stones, and combine their powers to save her world.
Gameplay is very similar to that in The Legend. Amelie moves about the colorful and detailed map in real-time, collecting various goodies and gathering her eclectic army. The units available in Armored Princess are mostly all familiar, with a few additions and tweaks thrown in. Enemies also wander these maps, and whenever Amelie gets too close, the game moves to a turn-based, hex-board battle. Here, each stack of creatures or combatants takes turns moving across the board and attacking the enemy stacks, until one side is victorious. Amelie herself never steps on the battlefield, but may spend her precious mana reserves to cast spells on her troops to turn the tide of battle. The spells are very similar to those in The Legend, although many have been tweaked to balance things a bit.
In addition to spellcasting, Amelie also generates a resource called “Rage” whenever her troops deal or are dealt damage in combat. Rather than using the Rage Box from The Legend, Amelie channels her Rage through a cute little pet dragon. Throughout the course of the game, this dragon gains some pretty impressive abilities, including summoning additional creatures to the battle, dealing direct damage, or digging up valuable treasures on the battlefield. The dragon itself may be a little too cutesy for some, but I found him rather enjoyable in a Disney-esque sort of way.
As in The Legend, Amelie may focus herself as one of three character types: Warrior, Paladin or Mage. Warriors have greater Rage-gaining tendencies, in addition to having much higher Leadership. The Mage focuses on spellcasting, therefore has lesser Leadership and Rage acquisition , while the Paladin is something of an average of the two. The classes are much more closely balanced in Armored Princess than they were in The Legend, so I didn’t find a real standout class as I did in the original. As Amelie gains experience from winning fights and completing quests, she may level up, gaining magical runes to spend on various skill trees. The mix of runes is weighted by character class, with Warriors gaining mostly red (combat) runes, Paladins gaining green (Mind), and the mages gaining mostly blue (magic). Each class may spend freely on any of the trees, but there is one class-specific skill for each of the character types. In addition, each level-up gains Amelie additional Leadership, the value which indicates exactly how many units of a given type Amelie can field in her armies.
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