King's Field II


Review by Trenton "ArkaineX55" Dean



Graphics: 9

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 10

kingsfield2box.jpg (152222 bytes)Being a King's Field fan in this day and age is tough. RPGs are streaming through the PS and PS2, and titles like Final Fantasy VII, X, or other types of games like Halo and Unreal Tournament have caught the attention, and gotten most of the praises from the critics. Games of this unusual type and the ones like it are either Ridiculed, beaten on, or simply ignored. Its rather sad that these games never get the attention and respect they deserve. But... there is the small cult that worships the game (I'm guessing that I also am part of the cult because I respect these types of games the most), and I, as a fan, will give you my Point of View about this game.

Naotoshi Zin, the man responsible for the King's Field series (And I believe the Armored Core series as well), now comes in with the second (but third in Japan) installment, King's Field II (referred to as King's Field III in Japan). In this King's Field adventure, you now take control of Prince Lyle (his full name is Austin Lyle Forester), and you must strike down your father, Alfred (the King) who is responsible for bringing evil upon the island of Verdite, his kingdom was sealed by Alexander, the Hero of the First KF, after he went evil, and soon collapses on the ground dead. But the barrier is about to breach, and you must hurry before Verdite is veiled in darkness. Leon Shore (If you played KF1, you should know him because he made the Dark Slayer for you to beat the last boss) sets you out on your quest with some meager armor, a light spell and the weapon "Excelletor". While the story isn't that ground breaking, it wasn't the real goal of this series anyways (although the Main goal is a little clearer).

This, as you possibly may know, is a FPRPG (First-Person Role Playing game) that plays in real time, meaning you only see the outside environments, the things around you, and the arm that you see swinging when you attack with your sword. but whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is up to you.

The Graphics are surprisingly great for its release, sporting vast 3D environments with 3D enemies, people, and some 2D and 3D objects. A big plus is what they fix from the first King's Field, which had outside environments that looked like dungeons, the sequel fixes that, the outside world actually has rolling hills, rivers, bridges, and more paraphernalia (Bones, dead bodies, broken carts, etc.). The Colors are best described as earth tones; blues, browns, grays, greens, etc. and they do seem to add a more realistic feel to the game. The Dungeons are also improved, they're more diverse than the predecessor, by showing more designs and colors to keep the diversity. Another thing about the graphics is the monsters, which range from Man-Traps and Skeletons to Stone Knights and Demon Lords, some returning favorites come back as well (skeletons, head-eaters, Demon Lords), and the animation of the monsters is very smooth. Same goes for spells, Tornado actually looks like a Tornado, wreaking destruction in its path, and fireball is just what it looks like as well. The FMV looks great too, although there are two scenes, they are rather detailed and very smooth. There are some good cut scenes here and there that are a pretty good treat.

But its slightly marred as the graphics have a somewhat grainy look to them. When up close to a tree (2D object) or walls, they tend to pixelize up close, mainly because of the color schemes used. in some cases, the items tend to blend in and you will end up having a hard time finding them, even if you read a walkthrough, as you will possibly pass them several times before actually noticing them, and some environments look slightly bland, possibly one or two, but it still doesn't hurt the natural feel of the game. The really incredibly strange part about this game in terms of graphics, that tend to be a bit grainy and gritty, is that when you play this game longer, the better it looks overall. This unbelievably strange phenomenon seems to happen to other players of this game as well, as the game somehow smoothens out as you are drawn into this adventure. Strange indeed...

The sounds are pretty much right on with this game, but its definitely not something new. Monsters still have the attack, hurt and death cries. The same goes for your attacks, the typical 'whoosh' sound your sword makes when you swing it, and the burning sounds of you blasting out a fireball. But this is more effective as the sounds tend to echo throughout the dungeon, and you're going to be in for a real treat if you use surround sound, as the sounds of creatures behind actually come out from the real speakers, this helps the realistic feel. This is also a good strategy to find secret doors and areas throughout the game as they make some normal sounds as well.

The music isn't spectacular, but it does its job, rather well too. Simple, catchy tunes that fit the scene for that particular area. There isn't really much to speak about the music, but I do admit that there are a few tunes that stood out from the crowd.

As I previously mentioned in the review, that the game's story isn't really its highlight, but it can be surprisingly good. With the journal system, you can trace back your conversations with some of the NPC's of King's Field II, some giving clues and tips, and some telling about the storyline. By gaining enough information, the Storyline can actually be rather surprising if you want to pay that much attention to it. The NPC's though aren't really a surprising bunch, but there are a few who do stand out. Mark Johnson, the appraiser, tells a few jokes that might seem humorous if you're in the mood, and there is Lyn Reinhardt, the female elf merchant, and childhood friend of Lyle, who actually has quite the tale to tell, but she also has the sad end. Lyn is possibly the character you might actually care for, and there is no other NPC that dares come close.

The gameplay is basically the backbone here folks. It's either you love it, or you hate it basically. Combat isn't really what you expect if you're new with this game, but too the new gamer, it goes like this: "You reach your opponent, try to strike him with your sword, and the monster attacks back, you back off, regain your strength, and go in for another attack". It may not sound that pleasing, and more a turn off for people if they're expecting a orc-gutting gore fest, but if you can tolerate this, it can be fun. You have your basic HP and MP gauges, and there is a bar below them, the Red is power (below HP, and the Blue is magic (below MP). Red is how hard you swing, you can swing repeatedly, but you wont get that much damage done, full swings are slow, but ensure that you're doing a good set of damage, The magic though can be only used when the bar is full, but its still rather handy. This game is also tougher than its predecessor as well, as enemies actually don't get stunned by weak blows, and you'll get stunned as well if you get struck by a powerful blow. The stats system revolves around 4 things: Hit Points, Magic points, Strength, Wisdom. A new addition is the elemental system, which the elements have their own set of points than the crystal system with KF1. by having a certain amount of points, you will learn new spells, five for each element, five elements in all which are Fire, Water, Earth, Wind and Light.

Traps are frequent in the game, and it will be teaching you to be prudent, although I admit, the game is somewhat unforgiving in one area at times, but still in this game, if you die, its your fault. Everything moves in a slow pace, in some cases its possibly its biggest turn-off because its too slow for most people. When you walk, the speed isn't really what its supposed to be, Although you can run to speed thing's up a bit, but there is a price, you'll soon become fatigued and wait a bit until you can fight again if there is a monster around the corner. If you can get over the factor with the speed and the overall pace of the game, then you'll be pleasantly surprised with the great deal of fun the game delivers.

Another big thing about the gameplay is depth. There is a plethora of weapons and armor waiting to be discovered and used, as there is a big variety of swords, maces, axes, bows, clubs, etc. and there are five armor pieces; the head, body, legs, arms, and shield, and you can equip two accessories, and there is a hotkey command for items, I recommend herbs on it as it will save your life several times over. A nice feature in the replayability department is there are also two endings, each depending if you do acquire and repair the Moonlight Sword (your main objective in King's Field 1 was that you had to grab the sword in Melenat), the good ending if you do it though, but still that's about it, there isn't really that much replayability involved once you beat it, but if you find it addicting though, then that's a reason to replay it though. Another nice feature is that there are NO loading times, except when you start your game, but that is it.

I'm happy to say that this is my favorite adventure of all, and coming out of a person who has played KF1 and KF:TAC (KF4), I would say that this was the high watermark of the series, and I'm not afraid to say it.


TIP 1: Strafing is the main key to success to beat this game, and I cant stress this enough, as this maneuver will get you some good victories. Attack the sides and back and hope they stun, and you have it made.

TIP 2: Have a healing spell or item as your hotkey, this will save you many times as it will instantly heal you with some hit points restored (it depends on which Item or spell is used)

TIP 3: If you want the good ending, grab the Moonlight Sword and repair it (there is only one way, and I'm not spoiling that), if you want the bad ending, then don't bother with it.

TIP 4: Last but not least, Sword magic. Only certain swords can do magic, and 2 people will teach you throughout the game, level 1 magic is the timing of the sword swing. press Square and press Triangle a half-second later, and voila! Level 2 magic is X, then Square, then Triangle quickly, and there you have it. (I hope this helps you all)


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Last updated: Wednesday, October 05, 2005 12:59 AM