Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom

Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom

I made a mistake while reviewing Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom. I made the mistake of playing its single-player campaign for 12 hours before venturing online. That's a mistake because the single-player game is terrible, reaching new heights of energy-sapping tedium and ennui-inducing boredom. The story is rudimentary, fragmented, bizarre, and pointless, the game is an unconcealed level-grind, and that level-grind is monotonous and tedious. So for those 12 hours, the score at the bottom of this review ticked inexorably down in inverse proportion to the levels that my character was monotonously clocking up.

As with every review, I started out with doe-eyed optimism, the game's fancy graphics giving me a surge of confidence that remained undimmed by the insanely inappropriate repetitive metal guitar noodlings that make up the soundtrack. Visually it's the sort of impressive that's now standard for next-gen games - the opening woodland level is all bloom lighting and fancy particle effects, and lots of stunning scenic cliff-top views. The five starting characters all look pretty enough, and offer a well-balanced spectrum between slow and strong and quick and light, and the action is immediate - wandering down what are essentially corridors, meeting a crowd of monsters and then meting out massive violence by hammering your face buttons.

That's pretty much it: the game laid bare inside the first ten minutes. Except that as it goes on, the stunning sylvan idyll gives way to boring clichés like snow and lava levels, populated by one of the most irritating bestiaries in videogame history, full of monsters that are capable of freezing you solid, knocking you over, or bringing their allies back to life. And as the unceasingly simplistic action becomes more and more tiresome, punctuated only by an insipid array of camera-breaking, attritional boss battles, the micromanagement of your inventory becomes increasingly intrusive. That's because it costs something called SP to equip items and weapons. It also costs SP to attack with an item or weapon, and if you run out of SP in the middle of a battle you just have to wait till they charge back up, which means that you also have to equip items that recover your SP. But that means that every time you try to equip a new item you'll also have to come to a new balance of SP consumption/recovery.

Read more

Circle of Doom 360 dated

Kingdom Under Fire in 2007.

Microsoft has said that Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom will be released in Q2 2007 on Xbox 360.