From the moment players start a new game, the differences are apparent: instead of selecting a campaign or game type, as in the first game, players are prompted to select a chapter in a 5-part story. These sections are still procedurally generated with their own story and meta objectives, but they contribute to an enhanced focus on the narrative. This also comes in the form of NPCs that appear more consistently to help players create a connection with them, instead of forgetting them after a single appearance. While the core gameplay remains largely unchanged, these additions provide more replayability and variety in campaigns.
In addition to an emphasis on story, the party size has increased by one, allowing up to four players to group up in a campaign. This, alongside the new classes and a slew of cosmetics to personalize your characters, engenders more options when it comes to creating a team. A team can also spend loadout points to pick perks and items from a pool, giving their characters an early advantage. Player achievements can be used to add to the available pool of characters, perks, items and more, with some locked further behind specific achievements. These unlocks provide a sense of progression, making a failed campaign sting a little less.
Not every change was made to make players’ lives easier, however, especially enemies on the world map. While opponents would previously sit and wait for players to attack, there are now instances where they will move across the board, either in pursuit of the player or some objective that players must defend. Combat is also revised to add a more tactical feel, with a pair of rows on either side of each battle. Players will now need to consider combat positions, as well as use abilities that allow them to manipulate an enemy’s place in combat, to make the most of this new combat format.
The party is limited to four characters at the start of a campaign, but over the course of an adventure, characters can earn followers through various means. While they can’t be controlled directly, their presence is typically beneficial. Even the least helpful follower can occasionally attract the enemy’s attention, saving the player characters from an attack or two. The farmer class can even summon a scarecrow on occasion, which acts as a scapegoat for further attacks.
One of the biggest changes is in relation to boss battles. While bosses in the first game were a one-enemy affair, the boss fights in For the King II have been enhanced to make them feel more challenging and like an appropriate end to a dungeon or chapter. One such boss encounter may include fighting through a gambling den to face the bandit lord. As his name implies, he is the leader of a group of bandits, so you have to defeat them before the leader enters the fray. He has a much larger health pool and attacks that could take down your adventurers with ease. It isn’t so simple to defeat him either, because he summons another group of bandits when his health dips to about 50 percent, though he remains on the battlefield this time.
For the King II doesn’t seem to be reinventing the wheel; the first game was a lot of fun, and the sequel is refining and improving seemingly every aspect. If these changes are any indication, many grand adventures are in store.
For the King II releases in 2023 on PC.