Eating a light-bulb is far more productive than playing COD and marginally less painful.

User Rating: 3.5 | Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom X360
I really wanted to like KUF: COD. I like hack and slash RPGs quite a reasonable amount and since the days of Diablo II's greatness I've been wondering if anything can overtake it's awesomeness and exhilarating gameplay. Sadly COD dosen't quite make it there, in fact on the long road to Diabloness COD slips over the first rock and cracks it's head open on the ground and remains there slowly drowning in a pool of it's own blood.

Evidently this opening comment dosen't bode well for this review. The game quite frankly sucks. You take control of one of the playable characters from the series previous games and play through a number of stages to finish your "story" complete some "quests" and kill a huge amount of creatures on the way. Now, the reason I place the words story and quest in inverted commas is because really COD has neither, or at least no entertaining or involving ones. I myself played as Celine (not because I like her but because she was the only female character) and her story involves bringing her love back to this world. This plot concept sounds simple enough but Blue-Side manage to mess it up by making it completely uninvolving and barely possible to follow. You recieve plot points by sleeping and entering a weird dreamworld (in Celine's case this world is populated by an old guy who gives you quests and skills, and your loved one sitting on the floor and talking gibberish) where you recieve little story tidbits and quests. The story is so badly written it's fairly impossible to tell whats going on, and couple this with the game's awful voice acting which makes things even more atrocious and you haven't got a winning formula. The quests you recieve advance your story as you complete them and sleep, but they themselves are a chore. One quest in Celine's story had me killing gold leeches, the last one of which I needed never spawned inside about 2 hours despite me constantly resetting the leech spawns. Two hours... just for more drivel of a storyline? I strongly advise ignoring the plot completely.

This leaves us with combat, the staple of any action RPG unfortunately COD dosen't even manage to pull this off correctly. Combat has your character holding a weapon in each hand and hacking away with different buttons (one for each hand) to hit enemies. This takes quite some effort on your part as the hit detection is so bad and the movement of your characters so awful you often catapult through enemies and carry on into nearby foliage, missing them completely. While your characters finishing off their irritatingly long "lunge" animation is also the best time for the monsters to hit you too adding insult to injury. Killing enemies (of the generic variety) does get easier as you level up and gain/create better weapons but it still remains unforgiveable for an action orientated game to have such bad hit detection.

This brings us nicely to another big element of COD, the bosses. There are several big boss fights in the game against huge enemies that really take a while to finish. This is personally where I've come unstuck with the game due to another glaring error on developer Blue-Side's part, the bosses are meant to be beaten by more than one player. Even in a single player game. Playing this game one player is almost impossible due to the boss fights against superhuman creatures that require you to either level up in the games dull, repetative environments days or die. Now I wouldn't have an issue with this IF it was an Xbox Live only game, but it isn't so Blue-Side have no excuse for this crap. I got as far as the giant fire boss guy (whos name eludes me) and after about thirty goes gave up as there was no way in hell I was going to grind some more in the unenjoyable non-boss areas before the fight. It wouldn't be SO bad if grinding in the game was fun, but it isn't, so there is no motivation on the part of the player to move on purely due to fault with the game. Of course, I could just take my game on to live, but I refuse to be forced to play a game as a multiplayer game when it has a single player option purely as the single player is badly put together.

Oh I must just say on the plus side graphically it's quite pretty and nice to look at. Everything else is bad though, so it's not really much of a saving grace. COD is a game for masochists, people desperate for a new action RPG and those whos idea of fun is grinding for days on end with no real sense of achievment, but I figured most of those people are playing MMORPGs.
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