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Kingdom Under Fire: Circle Of Doom Review

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Hack, slash, repeat...

★★★★★

In 2004, a more dynamic approach to the Kingdom Under Fire series made KUF: Crusaders one of the most exciting titles on the Xbox. However, in ditching the game’s gentle strategic elements and concocting it into a button-bashing dungeon crawler, the developers have tragically lost sight of what fans liked most about the game.

Although the adventure follows a familiar template, the action does nothing to develop the formula and comes across as a bog-standard brawler: the missions are crushingly repetitive, forcing players to lumber through an endless series of boring crypts and hitting the same buttons to off an army of undead monstrosities; the game’s story elements unfold in bizarre dream sequences that are cut off from the main quest, making it easy to lose sight of why you’re killing a battalion of zombies and making the experience cruelly shallow; the level design is often too cramped for the outrageous action, leading to irksome moments where you’re surrounded by dozens of monsters and unable to escape their cheap attacks; and the ridiculous in-game camera seemingly has a mind of its own, and will often snap to useless perspectives when you’re trying to fend off a team of marauding skeletons.

The online co-operative mode and imaginative monsters go some way to giving habitual hack ’n’ slashers an adventure to cherish, but even those with permanently blistered fingers will be disappointed by the linear levels and dim-witted enemies.

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