It seems like the whole ancient/medieval theme has gone from being very popular to nearly forgotten. One of these games that use some of the medieval lure was originally released a year ago, but didn’t quite work out the way the developers intended. Well now that game is back for a second try in Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes for the Microsoft Xbox. So is this the game that will take the Kingdom Under Fire franchise to the top? Read our full review to find out!
There are quite a few times in video games history, where you find a game that tries to do too much in order to sell more copies, and in the end doesn’t do anything correct. Well, that was not so much the case with the original Kingdom Under Fire for the Xbox, as the game was good. It just never managed to really get over the gap of being good to great. There was nothing overly wrong with the game, gameplay-wise, but in the end it just needed a little more to be great. So can Heroes close that gap?
For those that did not have a chance to play the previous KUF game, then you will need to know a little bit about the series. First and foremost, the series began on the PC and really was a disappointing game, which thought wasn’t going anywhere. The game plays host quite a few different types of races, whether it is the humans, the orcs, the vampires, and the elves. Basically the story in the game is pretty typical - no one gets along, so instead of trying to work out their problems, they do their talking on the battlefield. So for lack of better ways of putting it, the game really has a very limited story to work with, and although on the surface it has plenty of potential, the final product doesn’t have much to the story.
Alright so the game doesn’t have a story. Is that such a bad thing? Not really, considering this game has a considerable amount of depth without the story mode. The single player mode in Kingdom Under Fire is where you will get most of the action in the single player mode, which combines RTS with action. You might be wondering what exactly that means, but in essence you send your troops where you want them to go, and following that once they get to the action you can jump in the live battle and fight alongside your men. The idea is one that has been tried before but has never really been done very well, until this game.
The actual battling part of the game still isn’t as deep as I would have personally liked it, as you will find that there is not a whole lot you can do once you take the roll of your character. The game I would compare it to is a Dynasty Warriors type experience, where you can button-mash your way to victory. There are some special moves that your character can unleash, but for the most part, you will be hacking and slashing your way through all of the levels, hoping to take down as many baddies as possible.
The game does include some online support as well, which is always a good thing. One thing I did notice was that the battles online was not as chaotic as those offline. Now this of course makes sense, because I could imagine there being quite a bit of lag had the game been at full force online. However the online experience itself is pretty deep, as you can level up your characters online, which really helps make the whole online experience even more enjoyable.
When I look at Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes, I see a game that in my opinion didn’t improve all that much from the previous year. This for some might not be a huge issue, but for me I feel like once again this series is right at the verge of being great, and just needs to get pushed that last leg up the hill. I did like some of the improvements that had been made to the Xbox Live support, but for the most part the whole game hasn’t improved on a larger scale, like the repetitive nature of the battles. Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes is not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, but it also needs more work to get to the top.
Another area which has not changed much is in the presentation, which to be honest really looks about the same as it did in last year’s game. To me, the developers must be commended for being able to showcase such large-scale battle onscreen, although it didn’t quite have that "wow" factor.
Kingdom Under Fire Heroes is a game that just has a very bland set of character models that don’t seem like they had enough detail put inside them. One thing the game did do well however was the environments, which were rich with detail and for the most part are a lot of fun to play in. The overall presentation is good but nothing to really write home about.
To combine two genres the way this game did were quite impressive, as they really made the integration of the strategy really flawless in this game. It is easy to go straight from giving your troops order to attack and going to play as your guy to go help them win the battle. For so long you would give orders and watch the action happen, but being apart of the action is really a lot of fun. Although there hasn’t been much changed in the overall game, it still is enough to really make for a solid experience that will be enjoyed both online and off.
Kingdom Under Fire Heroes is still a solid game, but I think they rushed the development on the game a bit which stopped the game from really improving enough to get it to the top. Kingdom Under Fire is still a fun game, but it still feels like its missing something, and that can sort of slow down the excitement of the experience. If you were a fan of the last KUF game, then you will enjoy this one as well. Just don’t expect any huge changes this time around.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.