Monday, October 11, 2010

Never let me imply that I am actually intelligent

Every once and a while I will take a tentative step outside of my comfortable genres. Those comfortable genres being anything not sports or strategy does not make it any easier, but still, I must try. Several months ago I picked up Kings Bounty: Armored Princes based entirely on reviews and the endorsement of a certain web comic writer. That, and it could be obtained for the low, low price of almost nothing during the last Steam sale. It has sat, installed and waiting, for quite a while. Fresh from my unpleasant experience with Naughty Bear, I was ready to give it a solid try.

This is NOT effective armor.

Everything started out well enough, if a bit slow. Princess warrior, blah blah, attacking demon hordes, blah blah, sent to another dimension to retrieve mentor, during which I will undoubtedly become powerful enough to save the day, blah blah. Leaving your home world framed the tutorial battles quite well. It made sense that people would not take you at your word when you literally dropped out of the sky, complete with horse and unarmored midriff, into their castle's front yard. Combat plays out almost exactly like Disciples or Heroes of Might and Magic, two series that I am familiar with in passing but never put any time into. Things seemed to be going well in the first fight until I looked down and realized that I was getting my ass kicked, quickly, during the battles that were supposed to teach me how to not get my ass kicked. After emerging from the first battle having lost my entire squad of archers and half of my bears I came to the second that was supposed to teach me how to use magic. My princess was not a magician, but I was assured that even the thickest headed sword swinger could use scrolls to pick up the slack, and was even supplied with a few. Just before I was dropped into a battle with a walking venus fly trap and two ents the instructor quipped 'I hope you have some fire spells!' and vanished.

I did not have any fire spells. I was not a magician. None of the scrolls I was given had any way of causing damage. The only fire ability that I had died with my archers in the previous battle. I had a baby red dragon, but fire breathing must be a side benefit of puberty because he also had no such abilities. So there I was, getting murdered in the second fight of the goddamn tutorial by semi-sentient plants. And then I turned it off.

It would be foolish of me to say that this was the games fault. It would be equally foolish to say that Armored Princess was not a good game. Apparently I was missing the bone in my head that would allow me to deal with turn based strategy in an intelligent manner. This absent ability is even worse when it comes to RTS: I know full well that StarCraft 2 is an excellent game, but I also know that I would fail so quickly, boldly, and without hope of ever getting any better that the Zerg themselves would simple chuckle and walk away, shaking their heads in disbelief.

DeathSpank is stupid fun and requires little strategic thought. Give me my dunce cap and off I go.

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