Some people think that change is a good thing, others like things to stay the same. I mean, were S Club 7 still good when they become S Club when one of them left? Is Chantelle still bubbly and fun now she looks like a stick with two space hoppers on her chest? I’ll let you answer that in your head. The latest Kingdom Under Fire game has now left its strategy roots and now it’s an action RPG called Circle of Doom.
In the game you must save the world from impending eternal darkness. I find lightbulbs do the trick and some places are doing an amnesty and swapping your old ones for energy saving ones. More handy hints next week. Anyway, there are six heroes you can choose from at the game and they all have their own speed, weapon range and health. They also each have their own story which is nice instead of just plugging a different character into the same game. The problem is, I’m not sure you’d want to play through this once never mind six times.
Like any RPG you gain experience as you battle and you can choose where you spend these points. You can up your health and also get new skills and combos to learn. The problem is, in order to make use of your new skills you then have to kill a certain amount of different kinds of creatures in some very dull combat. Watching repeats of Gladiators is more fun. Basically, you run through a very linear randomly-generated map, wait for dumb monsters to come and attack you, then mash the buttons until they’ve all gone. You then move forward and the same thing happens again. Anyone beginning to yawn yet?
Like a straight to DVD release, There also doesn’t seem to be much of a narrative running through the game. When I started the game it seemed my character was having some kind of erotic dream and suddenly he was running through a forest fighting lizards. Don’t you just hate it when dreams do that? There then follows a very strange system of safe zones in the form of idols. Here you can upgrade weapons or synthesise them to make them better, trade and store items you’ve collected along the way. You can also go to sleep and this is where you can learn some new abilities and talk to some very odd folks who attempt to explain what the hell’s going on. It may have seemed like a nice touch in the board room but it jerks you out of the already boring game world and makes you even more confused about what’s going on.
One saving grace for Kingdom Uner Fire fans is you can play it online with up to three others in co-op play. Here you can fight together and swap items, making the game a bit more fun.
Obsessed dungeon lovers may get something out of this, but this being an action RPG with a very dull combat system, for me, makes it miss the target by some way. Circle of Doom gets a disappointing 4 out of 10.