E3 '07: King's Bounty: The Legend Hands-On

We spend some quality time with 1C's revival of the classic King's Bounty franchise.

While the Heroes of Might and Magic series is still going strong, King's Bounty, the 1990 PC game that's generally viewed as a precursor to Heroes, hasn't enjoyed the same success. But 1C is hopeful it can bring the franchise back to its former glory, which is why it's releasing Kings Bounty: The Legend for the PC (and quite possibly the Xbox 360) in early 2008. We spent some time with the game at E3 2007 and came away pleasantly surprised with what we saw.

You'll be able to select either a paladin, magician, or knight to start with, and you'll also be able to distribute limited attribute points to customize your character a bit. Our demo began with us in control of a knight atop a horse. The overworld map was viewed from an almost top-down perspective and had a medieval setting. There will be other levels, though other than a castle with a moat of lava we didn't get a chance to check them out. You won't be capturing castles in King's Bounty, nor will you be given mission objectives to complete a scenario. Instead, you're able to roam free and get quests by talking to people throughout the land. You will be able to visit castles, where you can spend your hard-earned money on new party members, items, and supplies.

Click to enlarge!

Not long after we set off into the forest we encountered some snakes blocking our path. This simply would not do, so we initiated a fight. As soon as we engaged the snakes in combat, the game switched to a side view with our party members on the left and the enemy on the right. Like in many turn-based games, the entire area was covered in a honeycomb-like movement grid. Our party consisted of a knight, archer, dwarf, and a magician, but those aren't the only classes you'll be able to use; we also saw unicorns, orcs, and demons. Once the fight began it was pretty standard stuff, with lots of strategy revolving around maximizing the abilities of each character. Our knight moved forward to attack with his sword, and our archer launched arrows from a safe location in the rear of the formation.

There are two kinds of magic that can be used, one normal and one ultrapowerful. After flipping through our magician's massive spell book, we settled on an ice spell and knocked a good chunk of hit points off of one of the approaching snakes. Our standard magic worked fine, but we wanted to check out the good stuff, so we summoned the grim reaper, who appeared in spectacular fashion and made short work of yet another snake. After conjuring up a giant stone sword and some rage demons, the battle, and our time with the game, ended with our party standing victorious.

It's still a long ways off, but King's Bounty's visuals are already quite attractive. The overworld map was nicely detailed and full of vibrant colors. Other than some neat-looking winged demons and a cool bone dragon, none of the characters we saw were anything groundbreaking. But there was plenty of variety, they were all detailed, and they had some nice attack animations.

Though our time with the game was brief, it looks as if King's Bounty: The Legend is shaping up quite nicely. Fans of both the original King's Bounty and Heroes of Might Magic will want to keep an eye out for the game's release in Q1 2008.

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Discussion

16 comments
Gwarpup
Gwarpup

Ok I have to say, Im having so much fun with the oldskool simplicity yet challenge of Fantasy Wars that I was happy to find another game coming out from 1C with a similar look and feel. Ill definitely be looking out for this one. Turn Based games are the only kinds my dad has any interest in and we play them together. Masters of Orion II is still a favorite. Fantasy Wars is just excellent too, you really feel attached to every unit you buy as they all gain levels and travel with you throughout the game and you have to lose them in very tough battles. If King's Bounty is as good, I will be quite happy! These are a rare breed of game you don't see often with so much fast pace gaming taking up the market.

ShaiKhulud
ShaiKhulud

I saw this game on "Igromir EXPO 2007" that was toke place in Moscow. And you know, the game is amazing. I`ve played a beta build thats why except smo minor bugs the impressions was a quite full. Yep, this is old-school TBA game with very-very nice graphic ebgine and low system requipments. With addictuve gameplay (i`ve play an hour or two) and some interesting features (like wife and children). The design sometime very simular to russian wargame "Fantasy Wars" (or here simly Кодекс

dryden555
dryden555

as turn-based game go, this one has real potential

Sandro7
Sandro7

great grapichcs if it works on my computer i maybe buy it

unacomn
unacomn

I've been looking forward to this game for a while, can't wait for it to come out. I wonder what the story is going to be. I couldn't get much from the game's site because I can't read russian, and the transaltion software I used couldn't give an acurate result.

mtfraven
mtfraven

Wow! I've been waiting so long for infos about this game. It was called something like Battle Lords a couple years ago, I guess they just bought the King's Bounty license. The most beautiful interface I've seen :)

Rayyan92
Rayyan92

Might be a good addition to the pc library

magicmo
magicmo

Not my cup of tea. I don't like tea too much.

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

Can't say that i'm truly excited about this one

Maxor127
Maxor127

King's Bounty WAS the precursor to Heroes of Might and Magic. It's not a general view, it's a fact. Made by the same company and uses the same basic gameplay. I guess someone else somehow got the rights to the "franchise."

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

Sounds fun but I wish there was more than 3 classes. Maybe that is just because this is a demo.

DouglasBuffone
DouglasBuffone

I loved the old series, I hope this one is good too