For The King II PC Review

For The King II is a board game at its core. Expect random luck instead of strategy.

By Fragnarok, Posted 07 Nov 2023

IronOak Games is so far mostly known for developing the original For the King. As For The King II is a direct sequel staying in the same genre, a vast amount of other experiences likely isn’t needed. Publisher Curve Games has several other franchises under their belt. This includes The Ascent, Human: Fall Flat, and Autonauts. It is uncertain how much hands-on input Curve Games had on For The King II or simply allowed IronOak Games to do as they liked.

The intro story recaps the events of the first game. King Bronner had ruled the kingdom of Fahrul peacefully for a long number of years. However, he was suddenly assassinated. The widowed Queen Rosomon hailed adventures from across the land to investigate Bronner’s murder and bring the perpetrators to justice. This became a great turmoil known as the Chaos War. Three heroes - the player team of For the King - finally located the perpetrator and sacrificed their lives.

For the King II, PC, Review, Screenshots, Gameplay

Now, in For The King II, it has been more than 20 years since the old war. Queen Rosomon had been a just ruler but had slowly become more corrupt. While many of Fahrul’s subjects have been imprisoned, enslaved, or killed, a small resistance is growing. You lead a team of four adventurers aiming to locate the rebellion and offer your services as capable fighters and mages.

For The King II builds off the systems and goals of the first game. There are no drastic changes, but instead, improvements and quality of life updates. The first notable is that your party is now made up of four members instead of the original three. You are given a selection of five classes, to begin with: Blacksmith, Stablehand, Hunter, Herbalist, and Scholar; more characters can also be unlocked by playing or using redemption codes.

The Blacksmith is the main tank, always starting with a strong shield and the ability to negate hits. The Stablehand is fast-moving and can, at times, act twice. The Hunter is an expert marksman able to ambush targets and snake away. The Scholar is a spell caster that can attack multiple enemies at once. Finally, the Herbalist can heal allies standing near them and recover extra healing items for free.

You can set up your team in any composition you like - including having multiple or even all of one class. The team is randomized by default, so there isn’t an outright recommendation. However, parties typically tend always to have a Blacksmith. However, character order does determine turn order in the open world; the speed stat is instead for combat encounters.

For the King II, PC, Review, Screenshots, Gameplay

After picking the team, you are then able to change the party’s loadout. All members begin with a carrying capacity of five, while different items vary in weight. For example, you might want your Blacksmith to carry a three-value tent to help the team rest, along with two-value gloves that improve their critical hit rate. You usually only begin with one copy of each item, so it is essential to distribute items as desired.

The party is brought to a region of Farhul broken up into hexagonal spaces. Characters in For The King II can move in any of these six directions, provided no obstacles are blocking the way. Teammates can occupy the same space, but you must succeed in a sneak check to move through an enemy undetected. The amount of movement is random, utilizing that game’s “slot system”. These are essentially mechanical dice rolls but with multiple hexagon slots determined by a stat. Due to the randomness, a fast Stablehand might wind up moving only one space, while a slower Scholar might advance six spaces.

This can get a bit frustrating, as you’ll often be spending turns just waiting or getting to a better, more strategic position without actually moving forward. After all, it would be far worse to leave a slower party member behind or let the faster ones get ambushed ahead. While enemies don’t move every turn, they can eventually disappear. If this happens, all of that careful planning can go to waste.

Positioning in the world is always extremely important, as it determines who fights in a combat encounter and the party formation. The combat zone is highlighted in red swords for those engaging in close-range melee and yellow arrows for those who will be further; characters without any icon will be excluded from battle.

For the King II, PC, Review, Screenshots, Gameplay

Fights occur with the sides standing in 2 by 4 square grids. Blacksmiths and Stablehands fight the closer enemies in melee, while Hunters, Scholars, and Herbalists have an easier time sniping. It is important to note that a Herbalist needs to get close to using their strongest passive healing. Every character will have various types of defenses: Armor stops physically, Resistance against magic, and Evasion that can outright prevent damage. This makes it essential to have the party hit the right enemy in a group and then leave the others for someone else.

After a battle concludes, you will need to determine how the money and loot is distributed, or equipped right then and there. Characters still need to monitor how much they can carry, along with buying and selling with their individual gold pools. The fast-moving Stablehand might discover a merchant on the overworld map but not have the funds to purchase anything as you sent all the items to the Blacksmith to hold.

For The King II can be played as either a single-player campaign or online with up to four people. You may even use the same saves and go from local to online from the main menu. The campaign is five chapters, and even online cannot be skipped over if the host has not completed them yet. Guests can however join adventures they have not seen before.

However, no one can join a game already mid-match. If you want a team of all four people you have to wait in the lobby before picking a mission or loading a previous session. Lobbies can also be given a password so that strangers cannot jump in. This seems to be the For The King II community norm only to create private games, and you should not expect to drop in and play them with someone you have never met.

For the King II, PC, Review, Screenshots, Gameplay

Even once in multiplayer, the host has to assign who controls which character manually. It isn’t a simple default of player one gets the first party member, the second player the next, etc. This can be a bit annoying, though it also allows everyone to change controlled characters at any point freely.

Oddly, For The King II only features online multiplayer for now. Those who want to have local play will have to create an awkward online session or pass a single controller around. IronOak Games has stated that local multiplayer is planned for a 2024 update - possibly in January or February, but it still seems odd to not have this feature at all.

It is also important to quit out and save properly, both when playing online and alone. There is only a single save slot per campaign, and if any issues arise, an entire adventure can be lost. Multiple campaigns can run at once, but the saved data will be segregated and updated after key choices. This makes actions lasting and permanent, as in grueling dungeon crawlers like Elden Ring and Slay the Spire.

The graphics of For The King II feel like an evolution of the first game. Characters are wearing fashion and wielding weapons that look similar to those in For the King. Character models are smoother; in the first game, IronOak Games showed off much more jagged polygon edges on all creatures. While this is an improvement, For The King II still looks somewhat dated and generic among cartoony medieval games. It would be easy to look at a screenshot and think this was the same product as Fabledom.

For the King II, PC, Review, Screenshots, Gameplay

For The King II can be rather performance intensive at times. Each battle and return to the overworld takes an abnormal amount of loading time - upwards of a whole minute. This can make it feel like you are more watching the load screen than playing half the time. Additionally, sometimes the game crashes to the desktop outright. This typically happens after a cutscene or leaving a match.

For The King II is very much a board game more than it is an RPG adventure or grand strategy. You should be fully prepared that slots are just random dice rolls that can lead to chaotic events and outcomes. Treat the game as short fun sessions to play with friends rather than a serious ongoing campaign. Just remain aware that you and your associates will need to own four copies. If that is too much of a commitment, it may be better to skip For The King II until proper local multiplayer has rolled out fully. And as a strictly single-player game, it isn’t worth it yet. 

Kurtis Seid (@KurtisSeid)
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Curve Games
Developer(s): IronOak Games
Genres: Turn-Based Strategy
Themes: Fantasy, Adventure, RPG, Board Game
Release Date: 2023-11-03

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