Kingdoms Under Fire: Heroes

Review

posted 12/5/2005 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: Xbox

As I mentioned earlier, you have the chance to play through a number of different campaigns filling in a large story.  Unfortunately that story isn't all that interesting, and seems overly convoluted and poorly translated.  These story driven moments groan on for quite awhile, usually without a great dramatic payoff.  Some of these cut scenes are done in the game's 3D engine (although, their lips do not move), but by and large the dialogue sequences are presented with a still image and a lot of text.  None of this is very interesting, and it is easily the worst part of the whole experience.

Each character has a series of missions all their own, generally offering between five and ten main missions (with a few side quests that are not required, but are still fun to play).  That may not sound like a lot, but since a mission can last for a half hour, you may find yourself working on things for quite awhile.  Some of these campaigns are no more than a few hours long while others manage to keep you busy for a number of hours.  The good thing is that the events in the campaigns are often varied, not only with new tasks to complete but also a number of different locations to fight in.  Though you will be doing the same kinds of things from area to area – seek out a bunch of enemies and annihilate them – each mission is different enough to keep you going and for it to still be exciting even when you're about to beat it.

The fighters themselves are all different, each with their own set of unique moves and weapons.  At first you'll be using nothing but broadswords, but as you play through the game with more advanced characters you'll find yourself using all kinds of interesting weapons.  Rupert, for example, uses a large war hammer that is able to bat away a dozen enemies at once with one mighty swing.  Perhaps my favorite is Vellond, a dark woman who uses this insane looking Iron Chains that can be used to grab an enemy and literally whip him into a group of his peers.  And if weapons aren't your thing, then the extremely tall Urukubarr and his bare fists are going to be your best friends.  You never get to fight with more than your one hero character, which means you can move other units but never fully control their action (though, you can order them to do specific tasks).  The rest of the non-playable characters are pretty smart when it comes to fighting, so these large battles are usually as simple as running around looking for people to slaughter.  If the battle gets to be too much for you it's easy enough to retreat and regroup.

Although your hero is strong with a mighty weapon you won't be fighting all by yourself, you will have two partners (officers) next to you ready to defend you and use magic whenever you call for it.  If that doesn't do it, then perhaps the large army behind you will help you out.  Between these non-playable characters you should have enough back up to take on just about any type of enemy.  Thankfully there are a number of cool characters to take on, from orcs and elves to flame wraiths, ice maidens, and flying wyverns.  Each of these enemies have different vulnerabilities and some awesome moves (including magic).  Early on you'll really learn to hate these characters, but they'll grow on you after you've spent some time playing on the dark side.

Customizing your characters with new skills and upgraded weapons also plays a big part in Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes.  In the bases you can use the experience and money you won from the missions to upgrade just about everything you and your army could want.  You can add new magic to your characters, buy new armor, and even give your fighters new jobs.  Unfortunately, like so much else in this game, there aren't a lot of instructions to help guide you through this somewhat complex area.   It's worth your time to figure it out, though, since it's really the only way to create the army you want.  There are quite a lot of enhancements for your characters, which means you will likely have to play through the game multiple times in order to see everything your lowly fighters can do.

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