Armored Princess Review: Part III

When I initially conceived of the idea of writing episodic reviews I planned on concluding the series when I had also finished the game. Well I haven’t finished Armored Princess yet, but it’s also been almost two months since I posted part one of this review. I think the time has come to wrap this up. Actually it’s probably way past time. But better late than never I suppose.

Anyway, I spent part one and part two talking about different individual aspects of the game, so I’ll finish this by summarizing my feelings of the game as a whole.

– Part III: The End is Another Beginning –

This is the kind of game that I enjoy playing for reasons completely unrelated to any of the gameplay or presentation that I’ve mentioned so far. I’m always the most satisfied with a game that completely takes advantage of the hardware it’s made for, and the King’s Bounty games fully utilize the PC. It completely fills up my screen with a vivid and detailed world. There are buttons strewn across the interface. Text is small and never dominates the screen, allowing for lots of many tiny details. If I have a mouse in my hand, I like to be able to play a game that uses that mouse. If my eyes are only a few inches away from my screen, then I don’t need everything to be humongous. On top of that, the presentation is incredibly polished. The game constantly gives you feedback on everything you’re doing and everything else that’s happening. There are dozens of little details in the graphics and animations which were in no way necessary to be added, but the developers put them in anyway just for the fun of it, and I love them for it. The HUD’s shadows even shift depending on which angle the camera’s facing. It’s comparable to games like Torchlight or Civilization 4; before even getting into the actual gameplay, the game is simply a pleasure to interact with.

wearing clothes happens sometimes in this game

Wearing clothes happens sometimes in this game.

The UI isn’t the only polished part of the game though. The army building and combat is incredibly detailed and balanced. There are dozens and dozens of unit types, and any can be recruited into your army. This is a game where you and your opponent both play by the exact same rules, and the only thing that separates you from the computer is your own strategy. There are limitless strategies that can be devised too. Each unit not only has its own place in the elaborate rock-paper-scissors cycle of strengths and weaknesses, but their individual talents can be used for multiple purposes. A dragon can grab people from far away and pull them towards him. This can be used to help surround an evasive enemy with ranged attacks, or you could plant booby traps on the battlefield and pull enemies into them. There’s an elaborate web of teamwork that the player needs to develop.

Armored Princess is one of my favorite games, but it’s not the best game. Like so many that succeed extensively in one area, it sacrifices its competency in others. It’s very unfriendly to new players, and its story and world both suffer as second rate. This doesn’t particularly bother me, and if I was assigning a score for Metacritic I doubt I would take off points just for that. While it’s an excellent game, its shortcomings hold it back from fulfilling the potential of being an excellent videogame.

this guy is selling enslaved fairies and old men

This guy is selling enslaved fairies and old men.

In spite of everything I’ve written so far, the best way I can communicate my feelings for the game is this: I’ve spent more time playing Armored Princess than I have spent playing any other game in the past year, and I intend to continue playing it. That should tell you enough about how I feel about this game.

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14 years ago

Dooooo it, dooooo it.