Kingdom Under Fire has always been a runner-up in the world of hack-'n'-slash gaming. On the original Xbox the first KUF was an above average game, but it always played second fiddle to the Dynasty Warriors series. Now, on 360, Circle Of Doom stumbles in as a poor second to both Dynasty Warriors and the rather excellent Ninety Nine Nights.
So what's the problem this time? Well, to be blunt, it's incredibly dull. You choose from one of six ridiculously named heroes and are unceremoniously dumped into a long corridor filled with enemies. It may look like you're in a jungle or desert, but believe us, it's a corridor and there's only one, drawn out way to the end of the level.
Every time you encounter a bunch of enemies you fight them until they're all dead, then you run on until you meet the next bunch of enemies. Amazingly, if you run away from your foes they'll return to the spot where you found them and wait for you to come back before attacking. How polite of them.
To make matters worse, Circle Of Doom tries to fiddle with the stock hack-'n'-slash gameplay, and actually makes things more tedious. Anyone who's played Dynasty Warriors or N3 will know that the enjoyment comes from constantly hammering attack and bringing down foes in their thousands. In Circle Of Doom, you can't do this. Foes still come thick and fast, but you're limited to the amount of button-mashing you can perform by an SP bar, which goes down every time you attack.
This means that every time you pull off a combo you have to actually wait for your SP gauge to recharge before you can execute another meaningful move. As a result, playing through Circle Of Doom feels more like a never-ending war of attrition rather than an exciting, heroic one-man army quest to rid the world of evil. You combo, you run away, you wait, you counterattack. Rinse and repeat.
It's a shame the core gameplay is so monumentally boring, because the customisation options available are genuinely good. You can synthesise new weapons, learn fresh spells, and tactically manage your character development. But at the end of the day, you're still a slave to the stupid SP bar and the claustrophobic confines of each level. No fun at all.
Aside from a few nice options, sadly this is second-rate sword-slashery. Try Ninety-Nine Nights instead.
- Interesting customisation
- A slasher with little slashing
- Worse than Dynasty Warriors