Kingdom Of Heaven (PSP) - pretty good action-RPG

Comparisons to Jade Empire and Diablo 2 will are likely inevitable since it’s an action-RPG with an Oriental, martial-arts setting. I’d say the gameplay isn’t quite as good as Diablo’s, but certainly better than JE’s, and with its decent story and nice graphics/sound, the end result is really good.

To summarize it quickly, the beefs I had:

  • The blocking system is annoying since you can never block the first attack from an enemy, and many rely on single attacks that do great damage. Prepare to do a lot of running around in circles against them.

  • The game annoyingly uses the whole “spell out all text one letter at a time” gimmick. But you can press X to make it immediately spell out a line of dialogue, which for me is a blessing since I read quickly. However! In two instances so far, X has actually caused me to skip entire cutscenes. And go figure, they were the two longest and most important cutscenes that greatly help explain what turns out to be a pretty convoluted story. It was the first time I’ve gone to GameFAQs’ forums to ask others to spoil a game for me, since the game saw fit to let me skip about 50% of the plot.

  • Chi (magic) attacks are hugely overpowered, and since there’s no real variety in them, they threaten to make the game too repetitive.

  • It starts off being rather tough, but it’s not long before it becomes too easy. Once you win, you can replay the game with a saved character and play it on a more challenging difficulty, which is nice, but the difficulty doesn’t ramp up quite as dramatically as Diablo 2, and I don’t think you can find any new loot on the higher difficulty (which is one of the greatest incentives to replay D2).

The cool stuff:

  • Your only weapon may be a sword, but you can pull off a wide variety of flashy moves with it depending on the scrolls/tiles you equip. And it’s not just for show, either - some combos end in attacks that send many enemies flying a la Dynasty Warriors, useful for handling crowds. Some are meant to target only one enemy but deal massive damage. Some allow juggling combos. Each attack is attached to one of the five elements, so while on the normal difficutly, you won’t care about elemental resistances, it becomes an issue on the harder replay difficulty.

  • Combat against most common enemies is nothing special, but against the tougher ones, you have to keep on your toes even if you’re nicely levelled up. A few enemies have attacks that are almost instant-kills. I also like how archers are annoying without being TOO much so, and there are no absolutely infuriating “constantly resurrects his fallen allies” enemies like D2’s shamans. Again, it’s never quite as difficult as D2, but it provides a decent challenge.

  • The human characters use boring, nothing-new anime artwork, but the monsters look pretty good, and everything is animated well. The environments look great, at least by PSP standards. I’m seeing this so often in anime games, like Final Fantasy and the SMT series and Dragon Quest 8 - I wind up hating how my characters and most NPCs look because so many are interchangeable with those of other anime games, but greatly enjoy the monsters and the settings. At least, unlike the otherwise-excellent DQ8, the main hero here actually looks like a warrior instead of an anorexic cross-eyed child.

  • The music is great, and the sound effects are… alright. The boring voice-acting hurts somewhat - it’s not funny in an old-school kung-fu movie sense, instead it’s just kind of clumsy and uninspired. Sort of the “every FPS I’ve ever played besides NOLF” school of voice-acting at work.

If you’ve been craving some action-RPG, uh, action on the PSP but gave up on Untold Legends as quickly as I did, you may want to give this a try.

Uh, I think it’s called “Kingdom of Paradise”. “Kingdom of Heaven” was the Crusades movie with Liam Neeson and Orlando Bloom.

If this means that I could, for example, decapitate three enemies and then juggle their heads, I am so there.

Cool, I have a 15$ giftcard for circuitcity and a 5$ off coupon for this that came in the mail from sony. For $20 I’ll bite.