A good dungeon crawling experience; hours of great times with friends online.

User Rating: 7.5 | Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom X360
On the surface Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom looks like a typical hack and slash title with rpg elements thrown in for a bit of depth. I came into the game without any prior exposure to the other Kingdom Under Fire titles, but I felt instantly at home having been exposed to the likes of Lineage II and other Korean MMOs.

You'd best enjoy repetition because that's what this dungeon crawler is all about.

The RPG element of the game can be discarded from the genre description, considering the quests that flesh out the story are completely optional. You can progress throughout the entire game without initiating the primary quest objective – which is a pity, considering most of the voice work in this title is rather good.

With weak role-playing elements, a great deal of emphasis now falls upon the combat system.

While the game stems from the same basic formula found in the Dynasty Warrior games there are some key elements which separate them. The SP meter restricts your ability to mindlessly flail on the masses of evil, with each swing of your weapon consuming your character's precious stamina. Learning how to time your combos by depressing attack buttons for delayed strikes can help maximize the damage you dish out. You can also catch a quick breather to regain some SP between strikes.

The spell learning process should be familiar to anyone who's played MMOs like World of Warcraft or Lineage II. Spells an' abilities are quested for, with your quest-giver burdening you with mundane "kill this many creatures" prerequisites.

Most of your time will likely be spent investing money and time in gathering for item synthesis. Combining your weapons and armor with other items provides many beneficial (and detrimental) effects. Experimenting with item synthesis and learning how to properly beef up your equipment is the path to achieving the greater items the game has to offer. With a long list of enhancements that offer a plethora of stats affects, you'll spend a great deal of time experimenting with enhancement builds and trading with other players online.

Online play is where the game truly shines. My experiences hold true to the game's claim of seamless online gameplay, having played with friends online without any problems with lag or server complications. With the ability to trade weapons, armor and items with other players – plus, with Regnier being the only character able to synthesize abilities into weapons – the game sports some of the charm (and hassles) found in MMORPGs.

There are two major gripes I have with this title, though. The first being the camera – sluggish rotation, unfortunately, hinders the action more often than not. One element that contributes to this diminishing factor is the graphics. The game is absolutely gorgeous, however, at times the slowdown can be horrendous! These agonizing drags can slow the action down to an unbearable, even unplayable, pace.

Aside from that, I enjoy the game very much. For most, the single player experience will warrant little replay value; unless you find pleasure in the solitary grind to maximize the stats of your equipment. As I stated before, online gaming is where this dungeon crawler truly shines.