After a five-year hiatus from the video game world, From Software's King's Field series is set to make a return on the PlayStation 2 with King's Field IV - a first-person action RPG. Because the storyline of the past three games was neatly wrapped up in the conclusion of King's Field III, the latest game in the series will bring a brand new storyline complete with a unique setting. The game takes place in a medieval setting, and tells the story of an expedition team sent to explore a mysterious ancient cavern, which is found in the depths of a small mountain town. The expedition team triggers an unknown catastrophe that renders the entire area uninhabitable. The game's hero, a man known as Icks, decides to travel to the town to solve the mystery of the cavern and rescue any survivors.
There are a few new features added to King's Field IV, and the basic gameplay hasn't changed from the previous games in the series. One of the more notable additions is the ability to switch to a free-look mode that lets you scout the environment. This mode is particularly useful for solving puzzles as well as for locating monsters and treasures. While previous King's Field games have had lackluster voice acting and character animations, King's Field IV will feature comprehensive voice work and a completely reworked animation system. NPCs will now fully interact with Icks and his party members, which will make the game that much more believable. Like King's Field III, King's Field IV will save all the conversations with any characters on file for reference. The game will also feature other systems new to the King's Field series, such as a weight-capacity limit. Now your characters will be able to hold only a certain amount of weight and will be limited by their armor and weapons. So particularly weighed-down characters will move and will react slower, making them bigger targets in a combat situation.
Most fans of the King's Field games consider King's Field II to be the best game of the series, and they should be happy to learn that the latest King's Field game will be something of a throwback to King's Field II. According to the development team, the level architecture will be based more upon the structures and levels found in King's Field II, with varying level heights and plenty of 3D level design. Additionally, you will again be able to attack innocent NPCs, something that was found in King's Field II but eliminated in the last game. You can also expect fewer puzzles and many more dungeons in King's Field IV than in the last game.
Weapons vary from swords to axes to your standard polearms. The game also features a comprehensive magic system that lets you cast spells by pressing a combination of buttons on the controller. There will be a much larger item list thanks to the PS2's improved capabilities, and the dungeons will feature much more variety this time around. King's Field IV is slated for a March 2001 release in Japan, and a US release has not been announced yet.