For The King II combines D&D with video games to create a compelling co-op campaign
Developed by IronOak games, For The King II provides gamers and D&D fans alike the chance to come together with friends and save the world using plenty of tactics, loveable characters, and so much more. Here’s what I thought from our delve into Fahrul’s dangerous landscape.
At its heart, For The King II is a co-op roguelike dungeon crawler filled with all the chaotic battles of a traditional Dungeons & Dragons dungeon bash while still implementing a rewarding and repeatable system that leaves you begging for more, despite only just being wiped out by a tricky monster.
During a preview through early access to the game’s beta, I explored plenty of Fahrul’s dangers along with its tricky battles and discovered some new elements that help set the game apart from its predecessor, For The King. I left feeling that the title needs a little work but has the potential to surpass the success of the first game and become the go-to title for D&D fans looking for a similar escape.
Companions, players, and characters, oh my!
For The King II introduces a plethora of new features from the addition of companions, biomes, new characters, and the ability to play with four players rather than the regular three.
The new features feel fresh and are easy to understand, particularly through the Stableboy and getting used to playing with four, which both made the game a little tougher and allowed for much more ground to be covered – if you and your party are okay with splitting up, that is.
On top of this, the introductions of companions felt seamless in both the positive and negative sense. On one hand, having a large dog fight by your side was amazing and not having to control it certainly took one thought out of our minds when playing. On the other hand, it wasn’t explored as much as I would have liked. On more than one occasion I was surprised that I’d managed to get a companion along the way, with few announcements being made upon finding it. I also found myself wanting to interact with these companions, using them for tactics rather than an object to simply deal and receive damage.
Nevertheless, playing with four players introduced a brand new dynamic to the experience and allowed us to truly get into the roles we chose. The Stableboy, as a newer character, took a bit of getting used to but really came into its own through some useful items and weapons.
Such items and weapons were fantastic to explore, particularly when we were given the chance to choose our inventory before setting off into Fahrul. This feature added a deeper layer of technique to For The King II, allowing group discussions to be had regarding whether we opt for more gold, armor, or that useful weapon. It truly brought home that classic tabletop design in which you create a character from scratch and build your inventory before setting out on an adventure, making sure at least one of you has something to heal with.
Teamwork in the most tactical regard
For The King II is a team game, it’s meant to be played with friends and thrives when experienced with more than one person, allowing for a combination of fighters, spellcasters, and control characters to work seamlessly together.
The variety of different characters you can choose from, the ability to design your inventory, and the plethora of items available in the towns around the map all greatly aid such a feature and allow for tons of technique, tactics, and teamwork to be had, with multiple conversations taking place regarding what item is best for what player and who should engage combat first.
Ultimately, using a variety of items, tons of characters that set themselves apart from one another but also feel familiar, and the further implementation of the Lore Store, For The King II feels fresh every time and enables any group to simply jump into Fahrul, destroy some monsters and have both a challenging yet rewarding experience as a well put together team.
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Seamless solo situations
Despite the game predominantly leaning towards groups, I experienced For The King II as a solo player and found ourselves pleasantly surprised with its forgiving nature, easy controls, and ability to keep you moving forward with a fully formed party.
It’s no secret that For The King II is a tricky game, telling you from the offset that you will die many times but you’ll also learn and develop your characters as you go, meaning each playthrough is stronger and much easier to complete. Thankfully, despite playing solo, you get the same feeling, especially when choosing to control all four characters at once, which retains its simplicity and allows you to get a feel for each style as you traverse the campaign.
Sure, For The King II may thrive in its cooperative design, but its single-player experience proves you can save Fahrul effectively all on your own, while still enjoying the veins of this roguelike experience.
A promising work in progress
While the cooperative feature was among our favorite elements of For The King II, the game was let down slightly by its UI design and lack of customizable options.
On top of not being able to change the gender of your characters, we found some of the UI to either be too hidden, too visual, or too subtle, meaning I was never sure whether I’d succeeded a roll due to them not being as celebrated as they were in For The King, among others.
That being said, the newer UI – which prioritizes placing the stats of your character around the edge of the screen – gave the game a cleaner look, which is greatly enhanced by the incredible visuals implemented around both the world and the combat situations.
Despite some uncelebrated rolls, a few difficulty issues, and the occasional confusing stats, For The King II shows intense promise, with only a few minor elements needing work. The preview session has left me extremely excited to experience what the full game has to offer upon its release and I’m already gathering our chosen party.