Kingdom Under Fire official page: http://www.kingdomunderfire.com/
Role Playing Strategy
So, we have a fantasy real-time strategy game with roleplaying aspects, relying more on smaller quantities of strong units than huge masses for gameplay. Hmm... that sounded damn familiar when talking the contents of the disc over. A great deal like WarCraft III, unfortunately. Of course, Korean developer Phantagram had, like the rest of the world, no idea that Blizzard was developing WC3 and that it was going to be a "roleplaying strategy" game. Along with SSG and their upcoming Warlords: Battlecry game, companies seem to have decided that roleplaying is the next step forward in the evolution of the RTS genre.
The starting keep
Peons at work
But a Korean company developing this? Well, why not? StarCraft is more popular in Korea than in any other country in the world. There are tournies and competitions almost every day in net cafes all across the country. Great players get famous and make money playing StarCraft under sponsorship there. In many ways, it's a true pro gaming environment - so much so that SC greats from all over the world like Everlast (Sweden), Grrr...(Canada), and Maynard (USA) have moved to that country to play! It should come as no surprise then, that a Korean developer would undertake the heavy task of developing the next competitive RTS.
What's It Like?
First thing anyone will notice is the graphical improvement. StarCraft, believe it or not, was running at only 640x480 and 256 colors. Phantagram has improved the color depth to 16 bit and increased screen real estate to 800x600 resolution. While the added colors didn't show themselves initially (buildings and units looked fairly average), the special effects impressed us. Dragon breath, fireballs and explosions are as sweet as can be.
Where's he goin'?
Doh, built in the wrong place
KuF is offering two campaigns - one for the humans and one for devils - as well as several multiplayer modes. Multiplayer can be played on Phantagram's WarGate.net online service, which will feature full ladder and league play. In addition to the standard RTS war, you can play the hero deathmatch, hero RTS and hero RPG mode.
What are these heroes? They're a bit like of an ultimate unit. Once you save up enough resources to build one, your opponent will be hard pressed to take him down. If you've played Total Annihilation and had a Core player come at you with a Krogoth, you should already be familiar with the feeling of frustrated, panicking helplessness.
However, building a hero in KuF won't be an easy decision. In TA, it was a natural progression to the best unit. Since resources were virtually unlimited and could be recycled, or construction sped up/slowed at whim, building a Krogoth wasn't a difficult decision. Protecting the necessary facility was the hard part, since the Krogoth had an insanely high construction time, but that's another matter. The problem with a hero in KuF is that those resources you have are very limited, and while you're saving up for one you'll likely be quite vulnerable since your unit production will suffer. Once you get him out, he'll likely have to fight unescorted, hampering his effectiveness.