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Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom review

AT A GLANCE
  • The graphics are nice and hi-res
  • It's easy to pick up and play
  • Three different characters
  • Hacking and slashing gets old fast
  • Story presentation isn't all that
  • The platforming is more annoying than fun

If you're one of those people who just looks at the score, you'll notice that Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom didn't score all that favorably. But there's a reason for that, and it's not because Dark Kingdom is a "bad" game. In fact, the gameplay is done pretty competently - at a very basic level, it's a next-gen Gauntlet, filled with hacking and slashing, complemented by some slashing and hacking, and then topped off with even more hacking and even more slashing.



And, you know, that's fun for a while - it's that quick-paced, pick-up-and-play action that appeals to a variety of gamers (not just action RPG fans) because all it requires is that you simply mash some buttons and point yourself in the general direction of the things you want to kill. But it's short-lived entertainment because it just gets so repetitive. Yes, there's a bit of variety (three different characters, as well as some basic platforming, statue-moving, and switch-throwing, among other things) but the game ultimately boils down to hacking and slashing, using mostly two buttons, for hours on end.

This might be somewhat forgivable (if only slightly) if the game had some sort of story to tell, but it doesn't. Well, to be fair, it has a story - the clichéd story of trying to overthrow a king corrupted by evil - but it's not presented particularly well. Animatic-style storytelling doesn't exactly inspire awe, and it doesn't help that the voice acting lacks conviction.



At least the game looks good - not "impressive," exactly, but definitely nice and hi-res. You can tell this series has come a long, long way from its PSP roots. It's just too bad that there's so much repetition, not only in the environments and textures, but also with the overall look of the game, the bad guys you fight and innocent civilians you rescue. In fact, there are pretty much only two civilian character models - one male and one female - that are just cut and pasted throughout the game.

This artistic low-bar compounds the repetitive nature of the gameplay - seriously, note to everyone: the whole, "enter the room and an energy shield comes up and keeps you there until you kill X number of enemies, then it the shield goes away... until the next area" thing? So over. Another, more annoying problem is that the camera, while moveable, can get hung up on the environment at times.

So, sure, Dark Kingdom has its failings, but it still isn't "bad"; it's just old fashioned and disappointing, especially when compared to modern action RPGs like Marvel Ultimate Alliance. And if you're going to drop $600 for a new console and $60 for a game, disappointment is likely the last thing you want.

More Info

Release date: Nov 17 2006 - PS3 (US)
Available Platforms: PS3
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Sony Online Entertainment
Developed by: Sony Online Entertainment
Franchise: Untold Legends
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Blood, Violence
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending

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