Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom PlayStation 3
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Sony Online Entertainment
Release Date: Out Now
The Untold Legends series has proved to be popular for PSP gamers looking to play an action-RPG. Both the original and its sequel proved to be good games whilst never really being anything special. It's rather surprising then to find the series arrive on the PlayStation 3 and it goes without saying that the expectations for Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom are undoubtedly higher than they were for the two PSP titles. The game promises an 'epic storyline', 'next-gen HD graphics' and 'all-new action-RPG combat.' It certainly seems promising then. Let's see if Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom manages to deliver.
In Dark Kingdom you'll play as one of three available characters. The characters on offer are the Warrior, the Scout and the Mage. As you'd expect the Warrior is a slow and powerful character who more often than not will rely on brute strength. The Scout is not as powerful but she is far more agile and has the ability to use traps and other such trickery. Whilst all of the characters have access to magic, none of them rely on it as much as the Mage who can control the forces of nature and the minds and bodies of enemies with his powers. It's worth pointing out that you can't create a custom character. In fact all you can choose is which character to play as, their name and what colour their clothing will be which is disappointing.
Regardless of the character you'll choose to play as, you'll be cast as a member of the Dragon's Shade, an elite unit of warriors who are the protectors of Dureth. The game begins with you continuing to quell a barbarian uprising, something the Dragon Shade have been dealing with for quite some time. With the Dragon's Shade being away from home so long they are unaware of what's been happening in Dureth. When the barbarian chieftain is finally confronted he informs you that the King of Dureth has been corrupted by an evil force that is repeatedly fed by human suffering. Unfortunately this turns out to be true. Needless to say, in the fifteen hours or so the game will take to play through, this leads to plenty of fighting and thousands of enemies to slay in typical action-RPG fashion.
With every action-RPG the combat system is all important and thankfully the combat system in Dark Kingdom is solid. The characters have normal, strong and magical attacks at their disposal as well as a variety of combos that they acquire during the course of the game. There are dodge and block abilities that can also be utilized. From your slain enemies you'll collect red, blue and yellow orbs. The red orbs help to replenish your health, the blue orbs your mana and the yellow orbs earn you essence. Essence allows you to purchase new armour and you can redeem any surplus items for essence at any time which avoids having your inventory clogged up. This is a good thing as the amount of items you can have in your inventory is rather small. You don't get to change your weapons although you'll come across gems that can be socketed to your weapon to give it additional properties. Your character has health, mana, attack power, magic power, melee defence and spell defence ratings. When your character levels-up you'll get to attribute points as you wish. Sometimes when you level-up you'll get spell points that can be used to increase your existing spells as well as acquiring new ones.
In some respects Dark Kingdom disappoints. The game offers both offline and online multiplayer action. Whilst the offline multiplayer game is quite interesting (a second player can join the action at any time) the online multiplayer game is disappointing. The main disappointment is that there is no way to use the character you've been developing in the single-player game, which makes the online multiplayer feel kind of pointless. The game could have also done with many more items and weapons. You don't have the opportunity to create your own character so it would have been nice to have had many more customisation options in terms of weapons and armour. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of all though is the fact that the game is a completely linear affair. There's no opportunity to deviate from the set course and this really hurts the game's replay value as a second play through is going to effectively be the same as the first one.
Dark Kingdom doesn't really look as good as you might expect for a PlayStation 3 title. Those with 1080p displays will be disappointed to learn that only 720p is offered for HD displays. There are some great spell effects here and some of the texture effects are quite impressive but on the whole the game is visually disappointing. The character models could have looked better and look closer to what you would expect from a PlayStation 2 or Xbox title. The draw distance isn't that impressive either with distance fogging being used. Whilst this is something you could easily forgive on a PSP game, it's a bit of an eyesore on the PlayStation 3. However, the biggest disappointment has to be the frame rate which is prone to dipping and becoming choppy from time to time.
For the most part, Dark Kingdom is fine for deaf gamers. All of the main dialogue is shown in text so deaf gamers will be able to enjoy the game's cutscenes and follow the storyline. Some fairly unimportant speech in the game is not subtitled but whilst this is disappointing it doesn't cause any real problems. All of your quest details are shown in text and can be recalled at any time. You're also notified when new quests have been acquired. You're also notified in text when you acquire new combos and also when your character has levelled-up. All of the game's tutorial messages are in text so you'll have no problems getting to grips with the game. Deaf gamers won't even have problems playing online as the game doesn't support voice communications.
If you're looking for an action-RPG to play on your PlayStation 3 then you've only got two choices at the moment. You can either opt for Marvel Ultimate Alliance or Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom. In truth Ultimate Alliance is probably the better game although if you're not into the whole superhero thing you're going to be better off with Dark Kingdom. Whilst the game is enjoyable in short bursts it is very repetitive and feels rather streamlined when compared with action-RPG games on other systems. Not being able to create your own character is disappointing. Graphically the game doesn't cut the mustard either. The multiplayer side of the game is a little mixed, as whilst it's nice that you can play offline co-op and online for up to four players, it's a shame you can't take your character from your single-player game and use them in the online games. Those who have enjoyed the series to date might want to give Dark Kingdom a whirl but those looking for an action-RPG of real substance that will show what their expensive new PlayStation 3 console can do might be disappointed with what Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom has to offer.
Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom is a solid action-RPG but it never manages to be anything more. The linear nature of the game means it lacks replay value and the online multiplayer game is pretty pointless without the ability to use your character from the single-player game.