A good calm, Point & Click game is solid choice every now and then. I’ve not yet completed, but I have played the first Hero of the Kingdom. Having enjoyed what time I’ve put into that game, I was interested in what improvements have been made since it came out around 2012. What does Lonely Troops have for us in this iteration? Quite a bit it turns out! They’ve made improvements to a few key areas that I can note (aside from the art that simply continues to look great). Is it worth looking into Hero of the Kingdom III if you’ve already played the other games (or at least the first one like myself)? Let me break it down for you.
Much like the first in the series, not much has changed in the aesthetics department of Hero of the Kingdom III. The basic gameplay has you looking at a stationary screen that continues not to move at all as you move the mouse around to find things that are placed around the screen. As I said, this is a Point & Click. The best difference I’ve seen is how the story is told. Maybe there was something similar at the end of the first, but in this third iteration, there are little slideshows that tell a story in the background of what your doing. Your character sees visions of a princess being drawn in by precious stones and he wonders if they are real or not. As you enter new areas, the map fills out as if spilling content on the screen and you’ll move from one map to the next getting to the end. The story was basic fantasy, but interesting enough to make me want to know how it ended. Even my daughters were wanting me to wait to finish the game until they got up so they could see the conclusion. So that left me with side-quests, grinding or having to be patient.
The grind in Hero of the Kingdom III was weird in a different way when compared to the first in the franchise. In the beginning, the game felt very constrictive. The intro into the game wouldn’t release you until you’ve learned a bit of how the gameplay worked. This was an interesting way of doing an intro and it showed a few improvements that I enjoyed. The first is that you are now free to camp wherever you like. You don’t have to go to a specific map and click on a camping spot. You are taught how to camp and can make a base camp anywhere. As you progress, this base camp gets even better. This is where you’ll cook, do alchemy and smith items after you unlock them in-game. The second improvement is how leveling works. The more you do an activity, you will level it up. There is no meter to watch so eventually it came off as you need to do certain tasks or kill specific enemies to level up, but it’s not listed anywhere. While the basic system is nice, without a progress bar I couldn’t tell if what I was killing mattered as far as leveling my combat. That skill specifically got rather annoying to max in the end.
Back to the introduction. While it was a good way to show off the differences, it felt very constrictive. There were so many things that you needed in the game to do specific tasks. It became obvious to me that you will eventually be able to craft your own resources for the tasks, but the abilities would come later. Eventually you did get to craft your own weapons and potions, but it took so long to get to that point and you needed so many potions to do so many different fights that you needed to purchase them instead. Money was a rather tough grind in the beginning as well. The first game has some convoluted guides to making money with making and selling wheat, but with playing the game unreleased, I was on my own. When you did get all of the abilities, you needed multiple potions (quantity and variety) for certain enemy types. A decent assortment of higher level enemies (that you needed to kill a good chunk of to level up) would break weapons after one use most of the time.
While needing some potions for specific enemy types made sense in the beginning, it wore on me. Not simply for the grind aspect, but for leveling reasons. (Also, that it took so long to grind everything manually because there was no “make 20 of these” and then have the game do it automatically.) Normally, in a game with leveling mechanics, you could possibly have a rough time fighting a new enemy. It would make sense that the first fight could be rough. However, twenty levels later, after fighting ogres and bears, you shouldn’t need health potions or antidote potions to fight basic intro snakes… but you do here. Every undead creature took a magic potion even after you’ve killed hordes of them. (For the Alliance!) It was mostly glaring at the end when (as I said before) you’d break a weapon on almost every high level creature and need 5+ potions every fight and a good chunk of food. Once again, this stuff is easy enough to attain, but getting the quantity needed for as much action as there was, was very grindy.