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Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a violent action game with some role-playing elements. Characters dispatch enemies with swords, cannons, hammers, and a bevy of other weapons. None of these attacks looks too brutal, but you'll see blood spurt from slain foes. Parents do have the option to turn off the bloody effects. Some monsters look gory as well, including one group that is impaled by spears and another that shows exposed, bloody flesh. Players can also play online via co-op mode.
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What's it about?
In KINGDOM UNDER FIRE: CIRCLE OF DOOM, the universe is alternately ruled by Nible, the lord of light, and Encablossa, the lord of darkness. A war erupts between the two lords when Encablossa's turn to rule arrives and Nible refuses to relinquish power. Your goal is to stop Encablossa by using one of six characters. Each boasts different skills based on speed, strength, and expertise in combat. Unlike the first two installments of Kingdom Under Fire, which featured real-time strategy tactics, this edition uses hack-and-slash action and RPG staples like weapon customization and \"leveling up\" (a process where you gain skill through game experience). Besides the solid arsenal of weapons, characters encounter idols that buy and sell items as well as synthesize items for improved power. You can also fall asleep, entering a dream state where you learn special powers to enhance your battlefield prowess.
Is it any good?
Unfortunately, sleepiness becomes a common response to Circle of Doom's dull action. Special powers are highly ineffective, forcing you to use only two attacks repeatedly. Instead of showing aggressiveness, enemies walk up as if to invite you to pummel them. Death is a rare occurrence, since the battlefield is littered with reviving potions. This RPG system is far too shallow, and the combat sadly becomes monotonous.
The story's prologue provides a solid foundation, but is then banished to dream sequences, which tell as little as possible about your character or the adventure ahead. You can opt to join a friend online in a co-op adventure, but there's little incentive with such mindless opponents. Ultimately, gamers who partake in this adventure will be doomed with boredom and frustration.
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