It is pretty rare to see a game that was once exclusively on a portable system make the jump to consoles, but that is what Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom did. However, if players of previous Untold Legends games are expecting the series to move beyond mediocrity, they’ll have to wait until the next game in the series. Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom continues the series’ legacy of having combat that is high on brainless button-mashing and low on fun.
The crux of the combat, (and hell, pretty much the whole game) centres around the X and the square button, which correspond to focused and wide attacks, respectively. You can also use magic, which is mapped to the face buttons after holding L1, but it isn’t really necessary to the game play, unless your starting character is a mage. Either way, you’ll be mashing those two buttons over and over again against a wide variety of generic high-fantasy bad-guys such as skeletons, golems, gargoyles, and zombies, while traversing through linear dungeons, sewers and towers. Occasionally, you’ll also have to fight boss characters, solve some easy puzzles and do some light platforming. To the games credit, this does break up the action a bit and give your X and square buttons a break, but none of the boss fights are remotely memorable and the puzzles and platforming seem to be an afterthought.
Speaking of afterthoughts—the story in Untold Legends is duller than my bathroom doorknob. The long and short of the storyline is that your character must stop a corrupt king reigning terror on his people. Yes, it’s generic—but it could have worked. However, a poorly developed world and characters, coupled with corny dialogue and voice acting stop you from having any connection to the game at all. There is little to no back-story in the game, so why should the player care about the world that he or she is saving? If none of the characters (main or supporting) say anything throughout the game that endears them to the player, why should the player care if they live or die? If you don’t present the player with the suffering being inflicted by the King they are going to have a hard time hating him. Why would the player be compelled to go through linear dungeon after linear dungeon to kill him? Bottom line, in every conceivable way, the storyline in Untold Legends fails to keep the player engaged in the game.
There has to be something good about this game, right? Well, kind of. The graphical presentation in Untold Legends is not overly flashy, but is a pretty good looking launch game. The dungeons all have their own look and feel through some neat looking architecture and a passable amount of detail in the environments. Character models all animate well, especially in combat. So while the combat is a chore, it can be occasionally cool to look at, despite some small frame-rate hiccups here and there when a higher number of enemies are on screen.
One of the cooler things in Untold Legends is the ability spend “essence” that your foes drop along the way. The “essence” enables you to craft new armour, enhance your weapon as well as refill your health and manna meters. The “essence” is a life-saver as it enables you to make armour that makes you stronger. One of the more subtle tactics that you’ll most likely need to employ is dragging enemies near the designated shrine areas that allow you to spend these “essence” points to refill your health meter, because the AI ranges from brain-dead to controller-tossingingly cheap. Having the shrine close by can allow you to fill up your health meter and get you out of some tight spots.
Rounding out the ‘good’ in Untold Legends is the score and the music that will accompany you throughout the game play. While it does have some of that generic high-fantasy feel (choir singing in the background, fast-paced tunes) that plagues the locals and monsters—it’s definitely not bad and at least attempts to create an epic feel for the game.
Untold Legends also features online co-op for up to four players over the Playstation Network, but because of low population and servers that segment the North American, European and Asian players, it’s really hard to get a game going. Additionally, there is no voice chat support in the co-op game, which is probably one of the only reasons you’d actually want to play co-op in the first place. Voice chat has become standard in online gaming now and it is completely unacceptable that it was not included.
Needless to say, Untold Legends is a game that does not get a lot of things right. From completely dull combat and a worthless story, to poorly written dialogue and consequently shoddy voice acting, Dark Kingdom was the definition of a chore to play through. Even the most hardcore action-RPG or dungeon-crawler fan should definitely pass on Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom.
Originally Written By: Art Green