King's Field II never deviates from its precursor's tried-and-true formula. Those familiar with King's Field will instantly feel at home in this second installment of the slow-moving, 3-D fantasy role-playing adventure.
Our story takes place fifteen years after the events of the first King's Field. Without warning, a terrible storm decimates the kingdom of Verdite, spiriting away the protective Moonlight Sword and the King's very soul in the process. Only Lyle, the son of the possessed King, has the ability to locate the source of the evil tempest and retrieve the Moonlight Sword and restore the kingdom.
The game's leisurely pace remains wholly intact, as do its fighting and role-playing elements. To progress through King's Field II, however, players must rely more on communication with friendly characters (vs. the hack-and-slash original). Unfortunately, the conversations remain entirely noninteractive and are presented through onscreen text, not speech. However, King's Field II makes up for this shortcoming with striking, ambient sound effects and a respectable music score.
Virtually every object in King's Field II is expertly rendered in three dimensions. The fully polygonal graphics move at a relatively slow frame rate, much like the first game, but improved texture mapping, more vibrant colors, and an eye-popping menagerie of wicked beasts make the overall visual presentation considerably more appealing. Combat proves to be considerably more challenging and enjoyable this time around. The enemies better cover their flanks and recoil only from Lyle's most powerful attacks, although their increased abilities are offset by the treasure trove of new weapons and awesome magic spells available to the player.
Ultimately, King's Field II does not surpass the original sufficiently enough in terms of aesthetics or gameplay to make it a truly remarkable offering. The graphics and soundtracks, though better than before, lack new style or direction. Certain problems with the previous title are also retained, like an inability to quickly center the view after looking up or down. Nonetheless, players hoping for more of the same in King's Field II won't be disappointed.
The first King's Field was an excellent game, and its like-minded sequel is even better. This is an exciting, non-linear journey filled to the brim with swords, sorcery, and secrets. It is also a captivating, challenging, and lengthy role-playing game, and fans of role-playing adventurers should take it for a spin.