Anthony's Film Review
Return to Krondor
(Video Game, 1998)
A fun-filled computer role-playing game with a decent plot, characters, and gameplay...
Return to Krondor is the sequel to the 1993 game Betrayal at Krondor, but it's not necessary to have played the predecessor. The story does not continue directly from that of the first game. Also, one can play Return to Krondor whether he or she is a veteran RPG player or totally new to RPGs. It is challenging enough to be fun but not too much that it's discouraging, as with my experience playing Betrayal at Krondor.
As a game released in 1998, it takes advantage of several technical advancements. The 3D graphics give the setting a sense of realism. The characters, also three-dimensional, are voiced well by their actors. The music is a strong point, adding excitement to combat sequences and setting the atmosphere for the game's locations.
But let's not forget the story. A ship carrying a magical artifact called the Tear of the Gods is attacked by pirates, led by a brute named Bear. They loot the ship as it sinks, but they fail to retrieve the Tear, the one item that Bear is mainly interested in. From there, Bear and his gang march into the city of Krondor, launching a series of attacks in order to recover the Tear.
You enter the game as James, a thief who became a squire to Prince Arutha after once saving him from an assassination attempt. You are asked to meet the Keshian mage Jazhara, who will soon be appointed as a court mage. However, they are thrown into the situation with Bear and his men. They are also joined by a warrior named William, who is avenging a dead lover, and later by the warrior priest Solon and a novice magician named Kendaric.
Essentially, the game involves exploring the settings, interacting with characters, advancing the story, and engaging in a ton of combat along the way. The combat sequences, which are turn-based, are actually quite fun and not terribly complicated. Plus, combat begins right where you're at, without switching to a separate combat screen as with Betrayal at Krondor. Each of your characters are skilled in various types of attack and defense and maybe some magic. You control not one character, but a group of characters, whether it's James and Jazhara; James, Jazhara, and William; or James, Jazhara, Solon, and Kendaric.
The game is divided into ten chapters, although three of them are very short and consist only of one combat sequence involving William. Unlike Betrayal at Krondor with its opportunity to explore a whole land, the geographical scope for Return to Krondor is limited to the city of Krondor, the coast going northwest from the city, and the nearby mountains. Despite all of this, the game is exciting to play and is, in my opinion, a good introduction to RPGs for novice players. I certainly had plenty of fun, definitely more than Betrayal at Krondor.
If you do play Return to Krondor, it may be more fun to play it a second and even a third time. The game has many situations that can be resolved in different ways and side quests that provide extra thrills. Be observant so that you get the most out of it. After all, the pleasure of any video game is discovery.
For more information about Return to Krondor, visit the Internet Movie Database and Moby Games.
In addition, check out my review of Betrayal at Krondor.