|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Katauri Interactive||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: 1C Company||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 17, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The arena style gameplay in Crossworlds is arguably the shining point in this offering, as it focuses almost completely on tactical, turn-based combat. Defeating each boss one at a time will require a lot more than simply massing troops and getting upgrades. Those who dont mind sacrificing a bit of lore and story for overcoming strategic challenges will enjoy these campaigns very much.
Visually, Crossworlds definitely finds itself pledging to the stylistic form, sacrificing realism for over-the-top and colorful environments and characters, and it works well. Controlling your hero and moving him or her around the game world feels very much like a custom game of Warcraft III. The top-down, third-person style doesnt do much for the RPG portion of the game either. It is difficult to connect with the character when you feel like youre watching from a blimp hovering over the map. Conversely, you do get a more personal look at the characters once in combat, as the camera comes much closer in for the action. There is no blood or gore in the game, as it likes to keep a very light-hearted and fun tone, and to its credit, I barely even noticed the lack of both. Crossworlds is visually competent, knows exactly what it is trying to display, and executes it well.
The game is also about as simple to control as it gets. Almost everything you need to do can be done with a mouse. Moving your hero around the map is as simple as pointing and clicking where you want to go. Interacting with NPCs, purchasing items, upgrades, troops, and looting resources around the map are down by simply left-clicking. Crossworlds manages to offer a deep strategy game coupled with the ease of simple controls, a combination not seen as often as gamers would like.
Another factor that hurts Crossworlds is in its menu usability, which is a problem because of how much it offers. After launching the game, all four campaigns are selectable, but switching between them requires restarting the game. While this may seem like a minor inconvenience, it does cause some confusion. For example, I promptly saved my Armored Princess campaign so I could switch over to the Arena Champion campaign. After an hour of battling giant monsters, I decided to save my game. On the screen showing all previously saved games, I noticed nothing was there, which made me think the saved games were stored in separate folders, one for each campaign. Unfortunately, I was mistaken and accidentally overwrote my original saved game of Armored Princess.
Kings Bounty: Crossworlds is an odd game to review. At its core, its a rehash of the original Armored Princess, but with a myriad of updates and content. Considering this, it is difficult to comment too much on the game without feeling as if Im writing a review on Armored Princess instead. Regardless, Crossworlds is an enticing package because of simply how much it has to offer gamers who love deep, turn-based strategy games similar to Heroes of Might and Magic. Its three versions makes it easy for newcomers like me to grab everything at once and enjoy what Ive been missing, while also catering to the loyal fans who already own the previous versions. If you like this style of gameplay at all, youll like what Crossworlds has to offer. For $34.99 or less, depending on which version you want, you cant get much more bang for your buck.
CCC Freelance Writer