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Konung 2 Review
Kristophe, 2005-01-11

In a day and age when trying to find a new PC RPG to enjoy is becoming an adventure in itself, as more and more Gaming Developers are turning to the various consoles as a platform for their efforts, and what few RPGs that are being ported for the PC are consistently having their projected release dates pushed back - into this PC RPG gap comes Konung 2: Blood of Titans - an unpretentious, budget RPG developed by the 1C Company and published (in North America) by Got Game Entertainment in association with Merscom.

Being the RPG addict that I am, I took a chance (figuring why not? It's only $20) on Konung 2 (I should probably confess that I had no prior Konung experience, having never played the original Konung: Legends of the North) - and, to my surprise, found that this little gem of a game has more than adequately fulfilled its mission of quenching my immediate thirst for a new RPG. I'm not saying the game graphics are great (they're not), nor am I saying that the character voice acting is wonderful (it's not). I can't say the game doesn't have its bugs and crashes (it does), nor can I say this game is easy to play (it isn't - even when playing in "easy" mode)... what I can say is that, for a modest, budgeted RPG, this game definitely delivers on adventure, on character development, and in pure playing pleasure.

The Story Behind Konung 2

Display full imageThe world of Konung 2 is a fantasy world of magic and legends, populated by the Byzantine empire traders, the warlike Viking warriors, and the Slavic hunting tribes. The Hero of the first Konung has fallen under the spell of an evil artifact (the Sovereign bracelet) which has transformed him into the malevolent "Dark Master". This Dark Master (and his many minions) have the express goal of enslaving the peoples of, and ruling the world of, Konung as their (excuse the pun) game plan. Only the descendents of the heroic Titans can hope to stop this new Dark Master, utilizing their guile and skill - as well as some of the remaining artifacts in the world.

It is one of these six "Titan" descendents that you choose to play the game with (though you'll see the others - in NPC form - throughout the game). They are: Ratibor, the prince of Pinesville, and Princess Velmira (representing the Slavs); Ejnar, a male Viking warrior, and Helga, a female Viking Healer; Alexander, a male Byzantine Magi apprentice, and Anastasia, a female Byzantine archer. I experienced my only game freeze/crashes whenever I attempted to start the game as either Ratibor or Anastasia - and I found that playing the game as either Alexander or Helga made for the easiest (and quickest) leveling up. And that is VERY important in this game - as you'll spend much of the early stages running away from conflicts due to (1) the game's AI where you not only encounter your enemies in number, but that they also have the nasty habit of surrounding and killing off your character rather quickly, (2) because money, healing & experience potions, good weapons and equipment are hard to come by early in the game, and (3) because it IS a challenge to develop your character (and companions - you can have up to 9 members in your party (including your main character) - and - in my opinion - it's virtually impossible to finish the game with only one character. Needless to say, you cannot help but spend much of the early stages of this game trying to complete quests, and carting trade goods around as you attempt to make more money to spend on your equipment, etc... while, at the same time, your enemies are floating about the gaming world and (on occasion) conquering a town or two that you've managed to establish yourself as ruler in.

Character Development and Gameplay

Display full imageOnce you've chosen which of the pre-set "Titan" descendents you wish to play, then you have to start working on developing your "Character Skills and Parameters". Your character's parameters are pretty much RPG-standard, i.e. Charisma (affects NPC attitudes, how many party members you can have, and leadership capabilities); Agility (affects your damage evasion, movement, and ability to use a bow or a crossbow); Intellect (will make your character a more powerful Mage, a skilled healer, and/or experienced regent); Learning (which allows your character to increase his/her skills); Strength (which determines the amount of damage you deal out); and Vitality (which determines your character's stamina, hit points, how much of a load that can be carried, etc). I should probably point out that Mages in this game don't actually cast spells - their "wizardry" is a trait that enables them to better comprehend (and use) the artifacts, some of which are very powerful.

Character skills in this game are what really make the challenge in developing your character - and they tend to go hand in hand with many of the character parameters - both which max out at 100. Character skills are: Fist-Fighting (very handy when your weapon breaks, or you are otherwise unarmed); Ambidextrous (ability to fight with a weapon in each hand); Fatal Blow (aka critical strike in many RPG's - though you have to have developed 50% of at least one combat skill to use this); Sword/Axe/Club (your character's skill with any or all of these one-handed weapons); Two-Handed Sword/Axe/Club (skill with any or all of these two-handed weapons); Crossbow/Bow (skill with either or both of these ranged weapons); Healing (the ability to heal your character's, as well as your party's, wounds); Alchemy (ability to brew potions - thus saving time and money); Scout (ability to bypass dangerous enemies and areas); Trading (affects your bartering skill); Identification (needed to identify enchanted items and artifacts); Wizard (you do not cast spells per se in this game - this skill is required to use artifacts); Blacksmith (allows you to repair weapons and armor - thus extending their service life); Mason (can restore burnt buildings, and/or construct new buildings); and Management (allows for better tributes from towns you rule, and better assistance from town inhabitants).

Display full imageWith the way the game is set up - your main character almost has to be a "Jack-of-all-Trades" sort of hero/heroine. This is because it is the main character's skill and/or parameter level in certain areas that are a prerequisite for most of the side quests (successful completion of which add experience points for leveling up) - having a party member that has these prerequisites met does NOT count. Likewise, a character low in such areas as vitality, strength, and/or any of the combat skills is going to find the game very hard to complete due to the frequent (and often unexpected) combat throughout the entire game. Likewise - charisma and the management skills of masonry and management are essential if you want to get the most out of those towns you become ruler of - as you will often both have to build support buildings for some of your towns, as well as provide trained healers/fighting trainers/blacksmiths, masons and such for your towns to withstand enemy attacks and provide greater goods and services to your party.

Gameplay is fairly straightforward. Most of your controls are done by mouse and keyboard - they are simple and easy - though I found that double clicking your character to run didn't work at all if your were carrying more than your character's weight ability. It's advisable to keep your character onscreen when you are running as well - as, at times unexpectedly, your character drops back into a slow walk - a fatal problem when you are out of potions and/or being pursued by much stronger (and more numerous) enemies. Additionally, all of the RPG-essential tools can be found in the game as well, i.e. map, quest logs, inventory and character development screens, etc., and they all function well. I did notice that the game doesn't seem to have a limit on the number of items you can carry - but rather a limit (based on your vitality) on how much weight you can carry; additionally, the amount of weight you and your party members are carrying does have a direct affect on movement speed. Also - the options button for this game give you plenty of freedom in choosing just how you want your game to run - i.e. do you want day/night cycles? Sound? Music? Game Difficulty? Shadows? Water Animation? Lightning? You get the idea!

Display full imageCombat in this game is very straightforward - there is no "turn-based" combat - rather you use your mouse/keyboard to choose your weapon and your opponent, and just wade in - and hope you've got what it takes to win without taking on too much damage. Of course, as I mentioned previously - enemies in this game are often both numerous, powerful, and tend to go straight for your main character "en masse". I personally found that attempting to engage even the "easiest" of enemies to be very difficult before attaining a character level of at least 15, and with at least two or more fairly high level/well equipped party members, and a LOT of healing potions in each party member's inventory (you can set up automatic use of healing potions and "protect main hero" functions for every party member in game easily enough). I might add that - while your main character levels up by completing quests (as well as fighting or using experience potions), your party members can only level up through combat or by using experience potions - they get no experience points for being in your party when you successfully complete one of the 50 or so game quests.

While the game manual is helpful with providing good background material, there is still a lot of things the manual just either doesn't tell you about, or fails to tell you clearly - leaving the player the joy (or agony - depending on your point of view) in having to discover in-game just how each and everything works. Also, solving quests isn't really all that obvious - you often have to try and either guess successfully, or (more often) utilize the old "try and try again" method to successfully complete most quests (I was never able to complete all the quests, as some were just impossible to figure out).

Game Graphics, Sound, and Character Voice Acting

Display full imageBeing as this IS a budget-priced RPG, it becomes fairly obvious, early on, that the developers opted more for gameplay features and story, rather than on graphics or sound - and definitely on the voice acting (or should I say total lack thereof)?

I did do my research, and discovered that this game utilized a modified version of their original Konung engine - which affected the game's screen resolutions, gave it some new types of animations (from the original), and added some interface changes as well. While this all makes for badly dated graphics, there is a positive side in the fact that this game doesn't require a really powerful PC in order to run. Additionally, the in-game music is adequate enough, though it's obvious that this game's composer was no Jeremy Soule. And lastly, the voice acting in this game is, basically, nonexistent - with it's being quite obvious to anyone well versed in the English language that the game's voice actors were definitely NOT fluent in using English. Fortunately - this isn't really much of an issue, as most of the game's communication between NPCs and such is mostly text, as opposed to voice.


In a nutshell - I found this game to be one of those rare gems that, all too often, go unnoticed. Yes - this game does have its glitches, very little "eye candy", tedious and frustrating gameplay moments, crashes; it's a hard game to level up and survive in - even when you are playing in "easy mode", and the randomness of NPC levels, services, trade goods and/or "battle trophies" can be equally baffling and frustrating as well. Nevertheless, when it's all said and done - this game does have a good story line that it consistently adheres to, it does have a very interesting character development system that works - and gives the additional bonus of making replayability for this game a very feasible option, it does have a lot of quests - many of them also being non-linear, there's more than enough combat to satisfy almost any "Hack-n-Slash" gamer, and it IS FUN to play. While this game will never effectively compete against the games that BioWare/Troika/Bethesda and the like produce - for $20, you can't go wrong with this one.

The Verdict
Graphics (15%) 55%
Sound (15%) 70%
Control (25%) 80%
Fun (45%) 81%
Overall 75%

The ups and downs:
Good Story LineOutdated Graphics
Character DevelopmentGame Difficulty
Lots of QuestsCharacter Startgame Crashes
Fairly Good ReplayabilitySometimes Tedious Gameplay

Reviewer's System
Version: v1.0
CPU: AMD XP 3200+
RAM: 2048MB
Graphics MSI nvidia GeForce FX 5950
Sound SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum

Average Reader Ratings: 5.5 (2 votes)
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