For The King II PAX West Impression

Having a multiplayer tabletop campaign that changes due to the variety of load outs and with drop-in, drop-out accessibility should make for a very interesting title.

Even successful titles want to change the formula up for future installments.  In this case, that works in our favor as it involves more RPG-focused elements.  IronOak Games’ makes this choice with For The King II as its adds more story and a smoother turn-based gameplay, and it does so without forgetting the cosmetic options or catchy multiplayer.  RPGamer got to take a look at how things are moving along in a PAX West demo.

For the King II is set in a fantasy land made up of a hexagonal grid to simulate the feel and thoughts of tabletop RPGs.  The first game was able to capture the combat side of things, but didn’t quite emulate the story behind every adventure.  So, one of the goals with the sequel is to bump up the story factor by having the characters interact more and having dialogue options to make things a more fleshed out experience.  Every map is procedurally generated to this end with adventurers choosing classes and mercenaries that have many loadout choices depending on treasures unlocked.  This loadouts can be customized harder or easier through the use of loadout points, with the harder the adventure the less points available to choose equipment and extra skills.  Finding a great treasure along the way can make or break a difficult run, but choosing well at the start is still important as players need to make it that far to get good gear.  Mercenaries are also high on risk versus reward, as they have the possibility to turn on the player and hinder them during combat situations.

Combat itself is quick and snappy as its transitions from the hexagonal map to a battlefield four squares long by two squares wide where players face off against enemies.  Whether attacks land, the amount of damage dealt, or any debuffs are applied are all determined by dice rolls.  With dice determining each action there can be adventures that are ended early by comedic decisions and bad rolls, as well as some where each victory is won by ever increasing luck, like in a tabletop adventure.  With a lot of status and movement effects possible there’s an in-combat encyclopedia to help players learn and keep track of everything on the battlefield.  Once a loadout is chosen for a class min-maxing that build is good to focus on to make them as powerful as possible to push through any resistance and complete the goals of the map.

For the King II introduces maps that don’t necessarily have defeating an enemy as the main goal.  The demo showcased an area where minecarts were moving around and the goal is to prevent them from reach their end mark and exploding; if too many minecarts explode, it’s game over.  Maps are now longer and more detailed with more discussions, dice-based story side quests, and equipment to unlock for future loadouts.  To help with traversal players can find landboats, these can break after a certain amount of steps though and can be put into a hangar when found to avoid using them up too fast.

All of these additional aspects to the game might cause players to feel it is too long or bloated compared to the snappy jump in and play style of the original.  To avoid that comparison there’s now four players available at a time and a hop-in and hop-out option to allow someone to take over until a player is able to return.  Each character can band together or set off solo to explore.  While it is designed as a co-op adventure, some sneaky backstabbing can happen, such as hoarding loot or driving off while an adventurer is off exploring.  There’s nothing really useful about doing this, but there’s always the chance of a loose cannon in every tabletop adventure.  With everything tied to stores and loadouts solo campaigns are useful to go through to unlock more options and can be utilized like the one-shot setting feeling of the previous title.  For The King II is also looking at expanding past one-shots though to fully fleshed campaigns for adventuring groups to enjoy.

With the demo showing the quick nature of the new combat system and going in depth to the classes and how loadouts change the complexion of each adventure, there’s going to be a lot for players to get sunk into.  It will be intriguing to see how much story and dialogue options will be implemented into each playthrough.  Having a multiplayer tabletop campaign that changes due to the variety of load outs and with drop-in, drop-out accessibility should make for a very interesting title when For The King II releases for PC later this year.


Ryan Costa

Friendly neighbourhood reviewer that thinks every RPG should be discussed, because one never knows where a hidden gem can appear.

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