Review | 3/2/2008 at 11:39 AM

Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom Review

If you've played any of the previous Kingdom Under Fire games on the Xbox, throw everything you know about them out the window.  Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom is a completely different game in the series, dropping any elements of strategy and mass unit management in favor of a hack and slash RPG that's much closer to Dynasty Warriors or Diablo. 

In KuF: CoD you can choose 1 of 6 characters (4 available from the get go) and progress through a hack and slash adventure.   Some of the characters from previous KuF games make a return (like Leinhart) and some are new to the series.  The game's story is progressed through dreams.  You can do this at any Idol point (save point/trade shop) in the game.  While dreaming you are able to achieve new quests, or rather, the game's idea of killing a certain number of monsters to unlock a skill.  Unfortunately there's no over-arcing storyline for the characters.  Basically everyone just beats up on the same guys while retaining their individual quest lines.  One really great aspect of the game is the synthesizing system which allows you to create new and powerful items and weapons by combining objects with special attributes.

KuF: CoD supports drop in and out co-op, which you can bring your character from single player in. One minor thing that's missing is the ability to simply hop into a game that a friend is already playing; you need an invite from that friend in order to join. The good news is, if anyone kills a bad guy, you should get credit for it towards your skills.  Anything you pick up can be easily traded with friends for other items or even money.  The co-op mode even supports up to 4 players at a time, scaling the difficulty for you as players drop in and out of the game.


Nick: One thing I found myself asking is, is it really necessary to have a co-op mode?  While I'll admit it appears to be a bit more fun, there's really no point to it.

Dave: I think I can see where you're coming from. So far, there's been no real difference in the way you play between single-player and co-op. I would basically just run into a pile of enemies and mash buttons until they're all dead. Even in the later levels, there is no need to coordinate attacks and magic.

Nick:  And now there's two (or more) of us to button mash together.  I guess it would be cooler if the game forced you to use strategy to defeat certain enemies.  Especially the bosses...the first boss was a bleeding disappointment. 

Dave: No pun intended. The enemies get pretty repetitive on a level as well. Maybe if there was an option to ramp up the difficulty a bit, in which case there might be more strategy involved. I'm not sure how the game balances things when you've got people playing together at drastically different levels. It seems like the level of the enemies is only dependent on the number of people playing, and not their levels. Which I think is a good thing... it's always fun in these games to go back to the first level once you are super badass and just annihilate the weaker enemies. So what did you think of the characters in the game?

Nick:  It's nice that each one has such a different style, and that each character has different weapons available to them.  Anything from Guns, Swords, Chains, and Magic can be used, and only used by certain characters.  The characters themselves...well lets just say they are a bit offbeat.  Duane for instance magically appears in a field, has no idea where he is and then dreams about being a younger version of himself trying to woo a fair maiden.  He then gets into battles of witty retort with her and then a rival court-er.

Dave:  I was playing with Leinhart, who appears to be some kind of emo vampire ninja.  He gets to equip things like shuriken and dual katanas and totally flip out. When playing co-op, multiple people can play as the same character, and I'm not sure if there's any advantage to getting a mix of characters, aside from not needing to fight over loot.

Nick:  Yeah, it's nice to be able to trade the stuff you pick up with the different characters so they can actually use it.  All in all I enjoy the game, though I'm not sure if it's worth the $60 asking price.  It feels more like a budget $40 title.

Co-Op Fun Factor:  Co-Op in the game will make it slightly easier for you to complete quests, but it doesn't really add much strategy or depth to the game.