From the handheld console world to the most sophisticated console system, the Untold Legends franchise sees its first major release in Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom. With new high-def graphics and a full dramatic storyline, Dark Kingdom delivers hack’n’slash fantasy action like never before. Battle your way through the various levels, dungeons, and other exotic landscapes while killing hordes of evil monsters on your way to defeating an evil king.
The list of features as supplied by the manufacturer:
* Next-Gen HD Graphics: Experience next-gen graphics in true high-definition formats. Watch as the fantasy unfolds through vibrant environments, beautifully rendered characters, highly-detailed creatures, and intense battles filled with engaging combat, magical spells and brilliant special effects.
* Engaging Real-time Physics: Unique physics-based game mechanics will give the heroes of Dark Kingdom the ability to tear through environments and defeat enemies in exciting ways. Knock enemies against walls and watch them tumble to the ground. Smash through crates, pillars and rocks to clear a way through the environment. Or grab creatures and use them as living, unwilling weapons.
* Epic Storyline: Immerse yourself in an intriguing storyline, as you seek to end an evil king’s reign of oppression that he has forced upon your fellow citizens – all told through in-game dialog and cut sequences.
* Visceral Action RPG Combat: Take complete control of every battle by using chained melee attacks, or an array of spells and special abilities acquired along your journey.
* In-depth Character Progression: Choose from three unique heroes and unlock new spells and abilities as you adventure! Collect and equip unique armor sets, powerful weapons and other special items that will aid your hero on their perilous journey!
* Co-op and Internet Modes: Adventure alone or with your friends with a full range of multiplayer support.
Surprisingly, the game only seems to support 720p and not any of the "true" HDTV modes, like 1080i or the touted 1080p. The landscapes and environments are easy to spot as detailed and some of the special effects for the various "powers" and spells and the anti-aliasing looks like a major upgrade from a PS2 title, but it’s lacking a wow factor we were hoping for from the new platform. The various bad guy monster types are decently varied, although their movement and kinesthetics seem slightly off and rigid. Even in 720p, nevertheless, the game is fairly pleasing to the eye and shows off some of the PS3's power with amazing ambiant lighting and environmental effects.
Dark Kingdom has a nicely developed soundtrack, with the usual fantasy score familiar to games of this type. The sound effects are actually pretty impressive utilizing the 5.1 stereo surround sound and make for a good audio experience. The various monsters and other sound effects are well done, rounding out a very nice audio experience for the game.
The game starts with a critical decision – which character class to play through the game. You have the choice of three types, the warrior, the scout, or the mage. As you take your character through the game you gain experience and your character levels up gaining new powers and ability points. Sound familiar? Good, it should be. Enemies will drop orbs, which serve as mana and health. They’ll also drop armor, which looks pretty nice, but it seems that weapons are impossible to find in the game. What really changes the weapons through the game are the gems that you attach onto the weapons to give it special attack properties.
It seems weapons are an afterthought in the game to the cool armor, and you’ll fight your way much like you would any other hack’n’slash adventure. If this is something that appeals to you (as it does to me, I loved Titan Quest and Diablo 2) then you’ll really enjoy Dark Kingdom and what it has to offer. If you’re not a fan of this type of game, it’s doubtful that there’s any crossover potential for gamers outside of RPGers.
ONLINE / MULTIPLAYER
Unfortunately, Dark Kingdom won’t take the seasoned hack’n’slasher much time to get through – maybe 12 to 15 hours on average. There’s a multiplayer option that you can play through via the free online PS3 gaming service, but chances are – you’ll be playing another game. Once you’ve played through yourself, there’s really not too much to bring you back for a second run via multiplayer.
Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom is a decent launch title that has some redeeming qualities, but fails to deliver on a wow factor for the new cosole system. That said, the storyline has a lot to offer to gamers, and the gameplay has enough redeeming qualities to make it a decent play. If you like a good fantasy adventure game, and like the hack’n’slash genre, then Dark Kingdom is a decent, serviceable game that you can definitely enjoy on PS3. The graphics are commendable, but not amazing, the sound is arguably the game’s best quality, and overall, comes as a game that is best suited for fans of games of this nature only.