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For The King 2 Review | An Adventure That Couldn't Go The Distance

72
Story
6
Gameplay
9
Visuals
7
Audio
7
Value for Money
7
Price:
$ 23
Clear Time:
4 Hours
For The King 2 feels like a game caught between the legacy of its predecessor and the prospect of its future. It carries a lot of the previous game’s aesthetics, gameplay, and story beats while throwing its own innovations in the mix. Unfortunately, despite said innovations, the game is unable to carve out a name for itself; forced to forever ride the coattails of the first game. Combine this identity crisis with annoyingly frequent loading screens, and you’ve got a game that would become dull and frustrating before it gets the chance to be enjoyable. Try as it might, For The King 2 simply couldn’t go the distance.

For The King 2 is a fantastical turn-based, tabletop-esque RPG by IronOak Games that pits your motley adventuring party against an evil queen and her goons. Read our review to see what it did well, what it didn't do well, and if it's worth buying.

For The King 2 Review Overview

For The King 2 Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Checkmark Intuitive and Addicting Combat System
Checkmark Annoying Loading Screens
Checkmark Imbalanced Metagame Progression
Checkmark Lack of Distinction From The Previous Game

For The King 2 Overall - 72/100

For The King 2 feels like a game caught between the legacy of its predecessor and the prospect of its future. It carries a lot of the previous game’s aesthetics, gameplay, and story beats while throwing its own innovations in the mix. Unfortunately, despite said innovations, the game is unable to carve out a name for itself; forced to forever ride the coattails of the first game. Combine this identity crisis with annoyingly frequent loading screens, and you’ve got a game that would become dull and frustrating before it gets the chance to be enjoyable. Try as it might, For The King 2 simply couldn’t go the distance.

For The King 2 Story - 6/10

For The King 2’s story can only be described as a series of standard RPG missions loosely cobbled together by a passable narrative. The game relies on RPG tropes like fetch quests and dungeon crawls a little too much, rendering the plot bland by the second mission. It really isn’t something one could write home about, which is a shame, as an adventure is only as good as the stories that come with it. As it stands, it's a perfectly serviceable story bogged down by uninspired writing.

For The King 2 Gameplay - 9/10

For The King 2’s gameplay is a near-perfect example of not fixing what isn’t broken. Drawing heavily from the formula set by its predecessor, For The King 2 innovated in areas that needed innovating while leaving the rest of the combat system alone. With the inclusion of a 4-man party, position-based strategy, and various quality-of-life changes like the pre-adventure loadout, the sequel managed to turn an already reliable combat system into something much more enjoyable. If not for the game’s inherent pacing issues, its gameplay could have scored a perfect 10.

For The King 2 Visuals - 7/10

For The King 2 distinguishes itself from its predecessor through its high-resolution visuals and smooth fantasy finish, while still maintaining the outlandish cartoony feel that we know and love. Many of the returning character classes look almost exactly as they did in the first game, but now they sport a high-quality finish befitting a sequel of a well-loved indie title. Despite these graphical changes, however, the game’s art direction barely innovated, leaving us with higher definition but not much else. Apart from the higher polygon count on each model, this sequel is a carbon copy of the original.

For The King 2 Audio - 7/10

For The King 2’s musical score was competently composed and implemented well into the game. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really stand out within its own genre, coming off as royalty-free tavern music that one might find online for their tabletop games. In many cases, especially during longer missions, the music becomes a bit repetitive and grating, which only worsens its lack of musical distinction. Though it isn’t a downside by any means, For The King 2 could do better with a more varied playlist.

For The King 2 Value for Money - 7/10

For The King 2 offers two game modes: Campaign and Multiplayer. The campaign mode consists of five chapters of varying lengths, averaging at 2-3 hours per chapter. While this doesn’t really add up to a lot of playtime, the campaign itself was not designed to be won in a single playthrough. A metagame currency called Lore encourages the player to try each chapter many times, with each succeeding attempt unlocking newer gear, monsters, encounters, cosmetics, and playable classes.

This amount of replayability and metagame progression is fitting for its $23 price tag.

For The King 2 Review: An Adventure That Couldn’t Go The Distance

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For The King 2 is a good enough game caught in the winds of an identity crisis. Torn between the legacy of its past and the possibility of its future, the game is prevented from fully committing to either facet, causing it to lose energy somewhere in its execution. This resulted in a so-so-turn-based RPG without much going for it in either direction.

As a direct sequel, For The King 2 is intrinsically linked with the setting of the first game. After a 20-year time skip, Fahrul is once again in danger of being completely overrun by a corrupted figure. As a group of adventurers loyal to the crown of Fahrul, your goal is to take down this corrupted figure and restore the land’s sovereignty under its king. If this plot sounds familiar, that’s because it is. This is pretty much the plot of the first game with a few details slightly altered. Instead of a chaos magic user, you’re fighting an evil queen who’s being manipulated by a chaos magic user. Likewise, instead of fighting chaos cultists, you’re fighting the evil queen’s minions who also seem to be chaos worshippers. That’s not where the identity crisis ends for this game, though.
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For the most part, For The King 2 copies the first game’s combat system to a tee. Certain innovations like the 4-man party, position-based strategy, and the mercenary guild make it distinct from the original, but the assets look almost exactly the same. Everything from the UI’s iconography to the types of moves each piece of equipment grants you looks and feels like it came from the first game even if it was unique to the sequel.

The same could be said for the overworld’s assets, the quests that allow you to progress them, the random encounters strewn about, and even the general layout of the map. This sort of floundering between the first game’s legacy and the sequel’s attempt at innovation leaves a confusing wake that just isn’t enjoyable.

It’s a shame that For The King 2 is plagued by such issues, as there seems to be a salvageable idea under all this hesitation to be its own game. As it is right now, For The King 2 is only slightly better than its predecessor, and even then, you could still make a case to prefer the latter.

Pros of For The King 2

Things For The King 2 Got Right
Checkmark Intuitive and Addicting Combat System

Intuitive and Addicting Combat System

Built from the foundations set by the first game, For The King 2’s robust combat system is nothing short of addictive. To put it simply, this game’s combat is a masterful amalgamation of Final Fantasy’s turn-based RPG, Pokemon’s overworld encounters, and D&D’s dice-rolling insanity. In many ways, it truly feels like a tabletop game being played among friends instead of a video game, as it captures the nuances of dice rolling and min-maxing both in and out of combat.

Just to give you a glimpse of how complex, yet intuitive the combat system is, here’s a rundown of your average combat encounter in For The King 2. Let’s say that your party is in the overworld and you’ve started a new day with your first party member’s turn. They roll dice to see how many hexes they can travel, factoring in other details like weather and terrain. Once you move, you might encounter nothing and move on, or you could encounter a random event that would require another dice roll. You could also have a combat encounter, the participants of which are determined by the hex’s proximity to other overworld entities.

Both in and out of combat, you can spend focus to guarantee success with a certain number of rolls. During combat, things like attack range, tile effects, status effects, and class passives come into play, making a complex combat environment that would keep even the most capable min-maxer preoccupied.

A lot of the game’s fun value comes from the dopamine hit of executing a perfect encounter. Considering that there are dice involved, such a thing is usually out of the question, but it is very much possible in For The King 2.

Cons of For The King 2

Things That For The King 2 Can Improve
Checkmark Annoying Loading Screens
Checkmark Imbalanced Metagame Progression
Checkmark Lack of Distinction From The Previous Game

Annoying Loading Screens

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For The King 2 has no shortage of combat encounters. In most situations, the overworld map is downright lousy with hordes of monsters and minions to fight through. While this game’s combat is superb, each battle starts off and ends with a lengthy loading screen.

Considering the frequency of combat encounters in the game, having each one bookended by a loading screen is extremely frustrating and it only serves to wreck the game’s pacing. The original For The King didn’t have this issue, as each combat encounter was entered and exited via a simple dissolve transition. The only time this isn’t an issue in the sequel is when your party is going through a dungeon, where each combat encounter is loaded in simultaneously.

This may seem like a minor criticism, but considering just how often one gets into a combat encounter in this game, the loading screen wait time begins to stack up fast.

Imbalanced Metagame Progression

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For The King 2 takes a page from the Roguelike genre by including metagame progression and designing each chapter to be played multiple times over the course of a few runs. Metagame progression often requires some sort of metagame currency, which takes the form of Lore books in this game. While it is a novel idea that encourages experimentation with party compositions, For The King 2 could have implemented it better.

Generally speaking, a balanced metagame progression system makes each run count. That means that every run serves to make the next one easier, either through unlocks or the provision of metagame currency. This is usually achieved by implementing more than one progression system, as seen in games like Enter the Gungeon, or by meticulously balancing the rate of metagame currency gain with the prices of unlocks. For The King 2 does neither, as it only has one progression system, it’s Lore books, and expensive metagame unlocks.
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After a three-hour run-through of the first chapter, I was only rewarded with 11 Lore books. This might seem like a decent amount, but most unlockables cost 11-16 Lore books each, warranting at least 2 similarly lengthy runs to unlock anything. This is a needlessly difficult way to unlock things and the game could do with a little bit of cost rebalancing for its metagame unlocks.

Lack of Distinction From The Previous Game

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As stated previously, For The King 2 is almost a carbon copy of its predecessor, For The King. Apart from the many reused assets and uncannily similar art direction, its main story plot, metagame unlocks, and combat systems are all too similar to that of the first game. While many wouldn’t consider this a problem (and it normally isn’t), For The King 2’s inability to completely distinguish itself from the first game has caused it to suffer some sort of identity crisis. In this state, it is not able to execute either of its two facets well, as it is torn between what it was and what it wants to be.

Is For The King 2 Worth It?

It’s Worth It, But Only Because It Doesn’t Cost That Much

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For The King 2 retails at $22.49, which is a modest price for a modest game. Despite its identity crisis and unbalanced metagame unlocks, the game is still playable and can be enjoyed by RPG fans everywhere. It has great replayability and a genuinely addicting gameplay loop that’s sure to keep you hooked for hours. It’s a shame that much of the game’s potential value is dragged down by its lesser qualities, as stated above, but one cannot deny what value it does have is worth its meager price.

For The King 2 Overview & Premise

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For The King 2 follows the journey of an intrepid party of adventurers as they venture through the newly overthrown lands of Fahrul. Formerly serving under the crown of a king, you and your party must now rebel against the tyrannical rule of the Evil Queen and her plentiful minions. You will scour the countryside, taking treasures and cutting down her forces as you advance on her castle on the horizon.

Will the Evil Queen’s rule last eternal, or will your valor reclaim Fahrul for the king?

For The King 2 FAQ

What Are The Best Starting Classes in For The King 2?

Hunter

The best starting class in For The King 2 is the Hunter. Apart from the class’s proclivity for high-damage builds and critical hit chance, Hunters also get plenty of good passives that help them avoid damage or entire combat encounters in rare instances.

Herbalist

Herbalist is also a good class to include in your starting lineup, as group healing is not very accessible at the start of the game apart from camping and the Herbalist’s group healing ability.

Blacksmith

Lastly, Blacksmith is a good all-around frontline class to include in your lineup. They come with great starting health, reliable starting weapons, and the greatest starting armor among all the starter classes.

Is For The King 2 Available on The Xbox Game Pass?

For The King 2 is currently unavailable for the Xbox Game Pass with no indication of its future inclusion currently announced.

For The King 2 Product Information

FTK2 Cover
Title FOR THE KING 2
Release Date November 02, 2023
Developer IronOak Games
Publisher Curve Games
Supported Platforms PC
Genre Adventure, Strategy, RPG
Number of Players 1-4
ESRB Rating R (Teen)
Official Website For The King 2 Website

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