King Arthur Updated Impressions

We take a look at the latest build of Konami's medieval movie-inspired action game.


Arthur battles in the arena. Click "Stream for Free" for higher resolution. Note: This footage is from the PS2 version.

Based on the recently released movie of the same name, Krome Studios' King Arthur is a combat-based action game currently scheduled for release in November. Earlier today, at a Konami press event, we had the opportunity to check out the latest work-in-progress version of the game, and we got to take a first look at its two-player battle arena mode.

Before we got a look at the game itself, the Konami representatives allowed us to watch one of six "making of" documentaries that you'll be able to unlock as you progress through the single-player game. The documentary showed how the development team was able to both get facial scans from many of the movie's key actors and motion captures from the movie stunt team. It's worth noting, though, that the game will not feature any original voice talent from the movie.

Though she's not voiced by Keira Knightley, the Guinevere character still looks like her.
Though she's not voiced by Keira Knightley, the Guinevere character still looks like her.

The first level we got to see was taken from the single-player game, and it saw Arthur and a number of his knights riding through a forest on horseback. The enemies who emerged from the woods were all on foot, which allowed the Konami representative that was playing the game to show us just how effective the game's innovative horseback combat system can be. In addition to having the horse attack your enemies, you'll be able to perform your own melee and ranged attacks from your mount.

The second single-player level that we got to see in action was played on foot, and it saw Arthur entering a burning village accompanied by one of his knights. The knight was a non-player character who basically followed Arthur wherever he went and would, occasionally, help out by engaging enemies that Arthur hadn't gotten to yet. Unfortunately, the knight in question wasn't terribly quick to respond to threats and, as a result, was frequently caught by attacks that Arthur successfully avoided. The level featured a couple of small set pieces, such as a giant catapult that hurled rocks at an obstruction and barrels of explosives that rolled down a hill. And while these weren't remarkable in any way, they did serve to break up what would otherwise be some pretty repetitive gameplay. At the end of each level, you're awarded points that can be spent on improving Arthur's attributes. We didn't get to see this aspect of the game in action, but we're told that these attributes will include defense, speed, archery skills, and suchlike.

Another screen of Guinevere--because you can never have too many.
Another screen of Guinevere--because you can never have too many.

Toward the end of our demonstration, we got our first look at King Arthur's battle arena mode, in which you and a friend will be able to go head-to-head. There will be a total of 11 playable combatants to choose from in the battle arena, including five central characters from the movie, a number of Arthur's knights, and even some of the bosses from the single-player game. You'll also be able to choose any of six arenas to fight in, each with its own hazards. The arena we got to see, for example, featured a number of spinning blades that came up through the floor and large, dangerous-looking pendulums. Each of the two player characters in the arena was joined by a number of non-player allies, but since these allies more or less just took one another out or were killed by the arena's numerous hazards, the presence of them didn't really appear to have as much of an impact on gameplay as you might expect.

King Arthur is currently scheduled for release on November 16. We'll bring you more information on the game as soon as it becomes available.

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looks impressive

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