OGR Rating: C
Just when you thought that strategy gaming would take a turn for the better, we get disappointed. Kingdom Under Fire isn’t a bad game, but it is a game that had high expectations to revolutionize strategy, and failed to do so. With only a few key features that make KUF unique, Kingdom Under Fire isn’t a complete waste of time, but is not a good use of it either.
Fans of any game from the Blizzard series will recognize that KUF is very much alike the games such as Diablo and Warcraft. Building and establishing bases to breed your armies, then take the armies and destroy your enemy. These are the characteristics of every RTS game these days. Not to say that this is a bad way to approach developing a game, but you won’t get any award for uniqueness. Single player “missions” are also dull and tiresome. Most missions lack the fun and involvement that you need to enjoy a game, the missions are typically “Raze Enemy Base, Hero Must Survive.” Wow, that seems complicating and interesting, doesn’t it? Oh yeah, the “Hero” feature is in KUF, along with all the new RTS games. Drive your hero to victory with the completion of each mission and gain experience points. Sounds easy enough, not quite so.
Each mission is given in the simplest form, “kill enemy, hero must survive.” What ISN’T easy is actually completing the mission. Let me give you a scenario that I encountered in just the 2nd chapter/level of KUF:
Mission Objective: Raze enemy fortress, Likuku (my hero) must survive.
I begin to build my fortress, creating multiple gatherers to get the gold for me to produce the army. After I establish enough gold to start building and creating, I did so, starting with War Camps (barracks). I built 7 War Camps, SEVEN! I started to produce Dark Elves like mad, ended up with about 100 dark elves along with my big ass hero. This was going to be ugly. I send my troops over with the up most confidence, thinking to myself “I kick ass…oh yea…don’t mess with this bad mofo.” BOOM! I hit the first set of troops, a couple warriors and knights, I crush them as if they were L.A. Rams playing the Cincinnati Bengals. I don’t think I lost a single troop in the beating. I move on and begin to enter their fortress, noticing that there was Guard Towers set up; I knock them off first. Then the more troops begin to come in, typical warriors and archers, I whoop them sidewise with no injuries. Halfway in there base now, feeling good, then I see that a couple of big guys start charging at me, I see one of them is Curian, the hero for the “good” side, I flopped his ass on the ground and begin to tear the other large unit apart. Both die, I am victorious, or am I? I start directing my troops to the fortress to finish off the mission when all of a sudden my fighting is interrupted by a cut-scene in the game. In the cut-scene it shows about 50-60 knights and they all yell, “Charge.” From here I think, S#%$!!!!!!!!!
These knights swapped me like a fly against a 100mph Porsche window. I was raped. Also, there is no damn Save Game feature, which leads to countless hours of playing just one mission, and all ending with a computer crash or unexpected enemy ambush, now that sucks! This is what you deal with throughout the entire game, fun and excitement, then rape. Excuse me for such vulgar language, but I feel that this describes my feelings of Kingdom Under Fire best. Visually Kingdom Under Fire is no pioneer, typical 2D RTS visuals. Some of the character animations are unique, but nothing tremendously special. What I don’t understand is the fact that you can’t change your resolutions past 800 x 600 in the game? What is the deal with that? My screen gets too clustered with units, which makes it frustrating to scroll down and up selecting and de-selecting. What is special though is the actually movies, not cut-scenes before you start all your missions. The movies can be found at Kingdom Under Fire Movies.
These movies are veryimpressive, very detailed and enjoyable to watch. The movies were probably the highlight of my gaming experience with KUF, but not the only highlight. What is good/decent about KUF? There are many things, in fact, everything is ‘good’, but nothing stands out more than the merging of good and evil missions. When you play a certain mission as the “Human Alliance”, you have your various goals and objectives to achieve, but if you were to play that same mission with the “Dark Legion” clan, the missions would be the exact opposite, thus you would attack the humans. Doesn’t sound too cool on paper, but believe me, it’s a very cool concept in the game. Kingdom Under Fire in short is a good game, but lacks originality and lasting affect. Great story telling, terrific game concepts, and an overall enjoyable experience, for the most part. What KUF is lacking is the originality, certain key features such as save game feature and resolution expansion. Kingdom Under Fire is your typical RTS with nothing too impressive enough to purchase the game for. It had great promise, a supposed “pioneer” in RTS gaming, but it failed to deliver.