:60 review -- Kingdom under Fire: the Crusaders

Kingdom under Fire: the Crusaders
Brad and Tony totally kicking orc ass

Can publishers totally quit making crappy run of the mill RTS games please?

This one is pretty bad. I read some interesting things on this board here a few weeks back and it piqued my curiousity. So I went out and dropped $40 on it. Damn…I need to write this off as “research” now…

Can publishers totally quit making crappy run of the mill RTS games please?

To be fair to publisher Microsoft, Kingdom Under Fire certainly isn’t run-of-the-mill. To its credit, it’s trying to do something different by plopping you in the middle of the action. I’ve never played the Dynasty Warriors game, but I think it’s kind of like that.

However, you did get the ‘crappy’ part right. :(

It does make me appreciate the difficulty of putting an RTS on a console system. You absolutely have to build in some sort of actioney interaction for the player to make up for the fact that it’s hard to create a manageable battle overview the way you can do it on a PC. Goblin Commander has its titans, Pikmin has your little astronaut squirting juice, and Kindgon Under Fire has your leader-whacking and spell-popping.


Why the PS2 graphics hate?

I just got this over the weekend and it has been a very pleasant surprise. I wouldn’t really call it an RTS. There is no building and you have at most 3 units directly under your command and maybe 2 others sort of as call in air strike type options (only one mission so far). So it is pretty manageable.

The best thing about it is the many layers it has. At the very low level you have the conflicts where you actually fight other units and their leaders. The fighting is pretty interesting and you are able to pull off special moves and call in support from your officers. These all cost SP which is built up by attacking the enemy.

The next level is the strategic placement and use of your troops. You don’t use your archers and cavalry for melee. You use your archers to engage enemy units from range and you use cavalry for charges at an engaged enemies flank. It is pretty damned cool having your cavalry run down the enemy. The sounds and the shaking of the camera are really impressive when you do this. Other things you need to take into account are position of the sun because it blinds your archers, forest cover because it partially blocks archers arrows, and tight or loose formations for moving quickly or being more defensive and stealthy.

The third layer is the RPG aspect of leveling up your leaders and upgrading the jobs of your troops. Each officer has abilities you can upgrade and even purchase new ones like holy for healing or cold for casting blizzard on your enemies. Then there is the job upgrade, you can change your normal milita up to knights which makes them have better offensive output but they are more suceptible to lightning attacks. I was able to upgrade my sappers to a mortar unit that could rain fire down on enemies from a long distance. In addition there are a number of equipment upgrades for your officers and troops to increase their effectiveness.

The biggest weakness of the game is the voice acting by far. It is god awful. The dark elf campaign is somewhat better and mildly humerous although I am not sure if it is by design or just because of the poor writing. The RPG element is also a bit weak in the sense that I am not sure how much upgrading my melee skill from 10 to 15 does for me and what some of the tradeoffs of the special effects on weapons are. Like does added fire damage on a weapon trump an extra 3 melee? Those complaints aside I really enjoy this game it.

I didn’t like Dynasty Warriors 4 when I rented it because it seemed like just a button mashing frenzy. Also, I am not a big RTS fan in general. I think labeling this as an RTS and reviewing it as an RTS is a big mistake. It is like a cross between DW combat with more of a purpose, Myth’s tactical combat, with some RPG elements sprinkled in.

– Xaroc

Probably because, for an Xbox-exclusive game, it just isn’t very pretty. Not ugly per se, IMHO, but hardly stunning-looking. [Kinda reminds me of D&D Heroes in that sense.] Though to be fair, there are better-looking PS2 games out there, so I don’t think you can lay it all on the hardware…

It basically plays like an uneven mix of Koei’s Dynasty Warriors and Kessen titles: i.e., a streamlined RTS about maneuvering your troops in battle; coupled with an action game about taking your hero into battle and mashing buttons to smack people.

Despite its serious flaws, I’ve been enjoying KUF:C so far. While the individual components are kinda weak, for some reason I like the overall experience.

But then I’ve always had questionable tastes… :P

How is it different from games like Joan of Arc (ugh), BattleZone, or Uprising? (Or Sacrifice, maybe?)

For the record, Tom, almost by definition this has to be a big improvement on the first game. How bad was that? As I recall, when I was reviewing it, Ben Sones and I got into a discussion of the ramifications of placing a CD in the microwave and turning it on “HI”.

{SPOILER} You probably shouldn’t plan on using that particular microwave again.

How is it different from games like Joan of Arc (ugh), BattleZone, or Uprising? (Or Sacrifice, maybe?)[/quote]

It’s about Crusaders.

I didn’t play the first game, but this one does a fine job of putting in the action and allowing you to tactically fight the game out.

I can fight dynasty warrior style, but I also need to manage my troops, use my special abilities, etc, etc. Very fast paced and very well done. Sure, there are some things that could use improvement, such as lack of more than a few melee fighting moves and not being sure which troops are going to go on which missions, but overall, I’m pretty happy with it. Way to much hating in that 60 second review.

I don’t think the arcade action is nearly as good as Dynasty Warriors 3 or 4, which in turn are almost but not quite as good as the Lord Of The Rings games. This is a pretty big minus considering that KUF:C offers only a moderate amount of strategic depth.

Then again, we only rented it, and it was quickly forgotten once GTA:SA rolled around, as have been almost all other games, so maybe I just didn’t play it long enough to “unlock” more attacks or whatever.

I don’t remember disliking it, but after the initial wow factor of seeing DW-style battles on an even larger scale died off, I couldn’t latch onto anything.

Tom’s undeniably right about one thing - it’s a huge improvement over the original KUF, which might have been the most lackluster RTS I’d ever played. Of course, that one ill-fated Ion Storm RTS was probably better than KUF.