Product Type: Microsoft Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... So the only thing that could be done was create the spacey, magical world, departing from the traditional medieval dark ages that suit t... more
Hack & Slash Backlash
Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom (Xbox 360)
Member Name: AverageJoseph
Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Environments, Boss Fights, Music
Disadvantages: Combat System, Story, Linear, Simple, Boring
"A good game is like a fine wine: It gets better with age, although it has an acquired taste." - Fortune Cookie in 'Kingdom Under Fire: Circle Of Doom' -
With two similarly solid games behind them, Blue Side Studios felt the need to release a fresher version of KUF, this time for the Xbox 360 and bewilderingly, ignoring the majority of the fan base by removing all real time strategy elements that made the past two games so good. So what is left? There are 3 familiar faces amongst the playable characters, with ecclesian holy madman Kendal, dark prince of Vellond Leinhart and the immortal king of Hexter beast Regnier all returning. In addition to the favourite guys comes a gal known as Celine, the only controllable female option with superior speed and low health (in the same vain as Leinhart).
"How does one atone for his sin?"
Those who played (and completed) either or both KUF games will know the situation that has unfolded for this sequel - The Lord of Darkness, Encablossa has sought revenge for his counterparts (Nibel) refusal to surrender his reign over the world for the next few hundred years and plagued hordes of demonic creatures upon the world to reclaim it. The end of KUF: Heroes especially features an FMV of these events and showing several characters lost in the darkness that has been unleashed - this darkness transforms into another dimension, absorbing key players and throwing them into another world that is surprisingly lacking in originality. The 3 characters are legitimately involved as both Regnier and Kendal's forces are said to have defeated Encablossa (with Leinhart aiding Regnier) causing the dimensional breach. The endings of the first games were disappointing, with brief anti-climaxes that are far too over the top, even for stories concerning orcs and vampires. So the only thing that could be done was create the spacey, magical world, departing from the traditional medieval dark ages that suit the exploits of elves and dwarves perfectly. You get the choice of the 4 characters to roam through the game, with light conversations revealing more details on the histories of your choice. The only real objective of the game would be to get the hell out of there... because it blows.
X, A... A, A, A
Without the strategic creation, upgrading and placement of troops to concern yourself with, the only thing left is the combat that was half heartedly featured in the original games which had a fair impact on battles. This time around the combat is simplified and mind numbingly boring. Press A to swing your main weapon, press it again to swing it back, again to swing in a new direction, again and again and again. X isn't much better either using a secondary weapon for range like a canon or bow. Dynasty Warriors combat system is only slightly better than this rubbish.. its all about stringing together weapon attacks and combos so's not to get hit by enemies and quickly dispose of your victims. There is no blocking, only dodging which is actually a dash. Eventually as you progress through the game you can learn new abilities from your dreams, WOW! Thats right, a withered old man is willing to teach you new abilities if you pay penance.. All you need to do is complete his little scavenger hunt (kill specific numbers of specific enemies) and of course put up with his non stop demeaning attitude. These abilities are almost completely useless. Sure you can learn to shoot lightning, land a knockout punch or heal yourself but its all the same outcome wrapped up in a more fancy package. You have a health, special and luck bar - three things that are upgraded upon levelling up. Health appears unnecessary as the game is very simple and easy, whilst special takes time to acquire as it fuels your attacks and recovery speed. Luck would be based on the type of items dropped by enemies - most of which is just scrap worth selling instead of filling up your limited inventory space. You can assign items to the bumpers which is alright (mainly used for health and SP potions).
Forest of Embracing Boredom
Appearances are everything for this game, including a selling point because beyond the glistening environments, overly epic screenshots and misleading trailers, lies the dire truth. Your surroundings are appealing pathways through flowering forests, murky swamps, dust desert ruins, magnificent mansions and generally pretty landscapes. However, they are all extremely linear (Final Fantasy 13's maps) with only a handful of side areas that don't vary or offer anything but more enemies. The creatures in this crazy dimension are largely lizards, skeletons and plants that equip spears and staffs to occasionally stab you with. The dull enemies unfortunately contain the majority of the games point - they drop items to equip, sell and synthesize, they give you experience to level up, they must be killed to learn new moves and sometimes explode or have interesting death poses.. Set in the beginning, middle and end of levels are the idols who buy, sell and synthesize your goods.. sort of like a merchant. At these points you can also go to sleep to acquire and learn new abilities from the old man in the lame dream world. Its basically a safe zone where the game automatically saves and has no enemies. Throughout these levels, the background score plods along nicely, especially when not encountering any fights. Sometimes you get subtle piano concertos, sometimes its based on the type of area you're in - a swamp would be a trudging, slugging melody. Each set of levels has around 3 maps to slowly jog through and at the end, sometimes, is a boss - the ONLY time the battles become interesting thanks to the different approach, visual and surroundings.
Buy, Sell & Synthesize
The Idols who provide you their service's are interesting to look at with the idol of death who is essentially a Grim reaper (he has the best goods that can increase your EXP, give you additional slots etc), Idol of Love is some fancy young lady and Idol of Greed who is a golden Buddha. Most of your items found on your journey are best sold for money to buy the services of the Idol of Death but I suppose Synthesis can keep you busy.. Synthesis is the chance to combine two items to create a better one, at the cost of the items used and some money to up the success rate of such a creation. You can do this about a hundred times to one item but yields almost no benefit whatsoever as most items would weaken your favourites. The weapons and accessories you can alter via this method have only a few stats to improve -health, SP or SP recovery and/or consumption. So even the slight customizing aspect is as hollow as the skellingtons you cut to ribbons. Strangely, the creators decided to put in little amusing clothing items to equip on your serious looking fiend. Hats, jewellery and other arbitrary goods. Such a shame as when I bought this game, I was well aware of the poor reputation the game had but unaware that the custom choices were severely lacking as well.
So as I read out the line from my in game fortune cookie - I knew right away what it was saying. It was trying to act as if it was a genuinely good game that only video game aficionados could appreciate. But its clearly not, perhaps that was a desperate attempt at humor? If KUF Circle Of Doom was really a wine it would scrunch up the face with its sour, disgusting taste, make you sneeze at its gross aroma but still get you drunk if you down that crap.. and still give you the worst regrettable hangover.
Summary: A disheartening change of direction for the KUF series
More reviews in the field of Xbox 360 Game
- Black Ops 2. Best in the series?
- Bioshock - Captivating and Gruesome. No Other Game Alike!
- The caped crusader is back with a vengeance.
- This little fish looks like he just had his cherry popped!
- Armoured Chore
- A great game for all Lego video game fans
- One for those with strong nerves and a keen intellect.
- How can a game be THIS bad?