Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom
Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 11/13/06 | Genre: Action/RPG
At the launch of the PlayStation Portable, Sony Online Entertainment was there with Untold Legends. While the game was fairly monotonous, it was still a lot of fun to play on the PSP after you got tired of Lumines. The title was very popular among the PSP audience and Sony later released a followup called Untold Legends: The Warrior's Code. While the title received very little press, it was an excellent addition to the series and made me completely excited for what SoE (Sony Online Entertainment) had planned for their first PlayStation 3 title.
Despite all the bad press about Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom and how handheld franchises never work when moved to the big screen, this franchise didn't start out as a handheld game. While it is true that the Untold Legends spin-off began on the PSP, Sony Online Entertainment began the series on the PlayStation 2 with the Champions of Norrath Series.
Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom follows in a similar format of its Action Role Playing Game predecessors by placing the player in a world to kill countless enemies on screen. There is an option to play with another player but even if you are playing through the single player quest, there are times when a NPC (Non Player Character) will join you for a brief time for assistance. At its heart though, Dark Kingdom is just a hack 'n slash. This may cause some players to get bored due to the repetitive nature of the gameplay. But for those who enjoy this type of game or can look past the monotonous nature of these games, there is an enjoyable adventure to be found--despite what others have said.
Players begin their next-generation adventure by choosing from one of three characters to control. Each has their own strengths and weakenesses and you will have to adjust your play style depending on who you select. Classes include the Mage, Warrior, and Scout. No matter who you choose, Dark Kingdom will immediately throw you into the game world ready to "Hack 'N Slash" to victory throughout a series of towns, dungeons, woods, and other assorted levels. There is no end in sight to the number of enemies you must slay. Fortuantely, on the way, you will uncover treasure, be able to upgrade your abilities, and occassionally receive assistance from other companions.
If you get incredibly bored and need more help, a second player can jump in and out of your game on the same PlayStation 3 console. If you need to enlist the help of someone away from your location, a new multiplayer game is the only way to make this work. But online modes have no way of carrying over to a single player game so don't waste time online in hopes of it moving your single player quest forward. Another quirk of the online mode is that there is no voice chat support. This is extremely disappointing and shows just how far away Sony is to matching what Microsoft offers with each and every Xbox 360 game. Hopefully this will be a feature that will soon be added to ever PS3 game.
Visually Untold Legends Dark Kingdom is a nice looking game. While others have said that it doesn't look much different than a regular PS2 title, I don't really see where they are coming from. It is true that Dark Kingdom is nowhere near the graphical quality of a Gears of War. But that doesn't mean that this game looks great in 720P resolution. A vast majority of next-generation titles just look average on Standard Definition sets. To me, that makes a HD set mandatory for play on any next-generation title. Otherwise it isn't worth your time, energy, or money playing anything on the Xbox 360 or PS3.
When all is said and done, players should log in around fourteen hours after battling their way to the conclusion of Untold Legends Dark Kingdom. Even after completing this milestone, there is still quite a bit of replay value included in the package by playing through one of the other characters or attempting to play through the clunky online modes. Personally, I would rather avoid the online mode unless you have a friend sitting in front of your TV.
Dark Kingdom is a worthy PS3 launch title and is definitely worth playing on the software-starved PlayStation 3. It is true that this game probably won't be remembered in a few years. But until Oblivion arrives on the scene, this is the only RPG ticket in town. So get your button mashing fingers ready and get ready for some mindless fun. We recommend this title no matter what the other critics say.