No, really, this is a Facebook game?
Developers for Facebook games almost always have trouble convincing gaming sites to take their games seriously, especially during E3 when they compete against hundreds of titles on the show floor. I mean, Game Revolution doesn't have a Facebook section at all, which I suppose makes us seem like unsympathetic pricks… (oh, was I supposed to defend myself there?) The general notion is that despite all the commotion and money over Farmville, we tend to view Facebook games as, at best, bite-sized titles on the conceptually basic side of gaming that are only popular because they're catchy – gaming's pop genre, to put it nicely. But if we see more games like King's Bounty: Legions, we may just have to get our collective feet out of our mouths.
Merely at first glance, its artwork, world map, and character animations belie the Facebook platform. Even on beta, this Legions variation of the King's Bounty series already solidly translates the strategy RPG adventure hailed by its fans. Players must build their army, amassing soldiers and gold through quests and conquests, to claim dominion over the land (and preferably, their Facebook friends too). And did I mention that the game can be played for free for a certain amount of hours every day?
Constructing a team from a current list of 32 units, players battle each other on a hex-based grid, moving and attacking their opponent's team until one of them stands victorious. Teams have slots for five units – two mortal, two immortal, and one legendary – and players may place a less powerful unit in a more powerful slot (say, an immortal in a legendary slot) for a large unit boost. A player's team weight, determined by their leadership stat (effectively the player's level), contributes to how many of each unit players that can be taken into battle.
Casual gamers don't need to go into detail about which units to pick, where to place each unit on the field for cover, and how much each character attributes contributes to the battle; all they need to need to know is how to click on an enemy until it dies. But hardcore gamers have plenty of room to sink their teeth into, particularly the pentagram of strengths and weaknesses between character class types; defenders deal 30% more damage to warriors and the same goes for mages attacking defenders.
As opposed to matches against friends which have no level restriction and don't count toward an online rankings (though I suggested to Nival that the winner should earn a medal with the loser's face on it), ranked matches are automatically set up against opponents of nearly equal team weight. The emphasis of multiplayer, though, is clear: PvE costs stamina, but PvP does not. Users with spare Facebook Credits can increase their stamina (how many hours they can play each day) or gain some gold and units, though Nival have made sure that players can't buy their way into a win.
King's Bounty: Legions will hopefully be available within the next week, depending on how well the beta goes. The good news? We've got beta codes for ya. Check out the giveaway page soon.