previewed on PC
Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom
Developers Blueside is creating another game set in their Kingdom Under Fire universe, however this time they've switched the genre. The series best known for the two popular real-time strategy titles released for the Xbox is spicing things up with a little roleplay. The fourth title, Circle of Doom, is being billed as an "Action RPG" and is due out in the 2nd quarter of this year. "Action RPG" usually means light on the RPG and heavy on the action, but RPG Light doesn't have quite the same ring as Action RPG; thank god for marketing. Regardless of what you want to call it, Circle of Doom looks to follow in the footsteps of Blizzard's Diablo by creating a compelling story with an easily accessible, fun to play game. It should be mentioned that this game is primarily being developed for the Xbox 360. So while the PC version is being developed concurrently and should be released around the same time as the Xbox 360 version, I expect it'll suffer from a case of "consolitis"; i.e. the gameplay and interface mechanics will likely be customized for a console gamepad rather than a mouse and keyboard (see Oblivion).
So what do we have to play with?
Circle of Doom is an action RPG where you'll be controlling a single character which can be chosen from any of 4 pre-made characters (with an additional 2 that can be unlocked, presumably by completing the game). Each character can wield 5 or 6 different classes of weapons which can be combined with the more than 50 abilities and 60 spells to unleash some serious damage on the critters you'll be facing. Speaking of critters, there are more than 70 monsters that get to take the brunt of your pent-up (hopefully) aggressive tendencies. No word on if a Goblin and a Goblin Leader constitute two different monsters, as a completely spurious example. To increase the replay value dungeons will be randomly generated and completely destructible. That's right, you'll be able to go medieval on anything around you, be it a creature or a statue. You're actually encouraged to be destructive as you'll often find items when busting apart the environment (I can't tell you how many times I've found a sword when tearing down a wall? but I bet you can guess).
Circle of Doom will include a 4 player cooperative mode where players can use their single player characters or create a new character at the same level as those in the party. Blueside seems to be trying to encourage the multiplayer aspect of Circle of Doom by making it so easy start playing, without having to worry about level restrictions and multiplayer versus single player characters. On top of this there are special items that can only be found in a party. Blueside has committed to including multiplayer in the PC version but I wouldn't expect that you'll be able to play with friends playing on an Xbox 360; however no definite word has been given either way.