Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom: Right and Wrong


I’ve been playing Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom a lot with a friend of mine (Steve), and I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit. Steve and I have played through Baldur’s Gate I, most of Baldur’s Gate II (still working on it), and the two Champions of Norrath games several times each. Can you tell we’re big action RPG fans? (I just ordered the PS2 game Bard’s Tale as well. Unfortunately it’s only one player, but I like this type of game a lot, so…)

I’m not saying that Untold Legends doesn’t have problems, because it does. But I think the pluses outweigh the minuses, so I thought I’d list them here to help you make a decision if you’re an RPG fan.

Bad:

  • Characters Get Stuck
    Our characters get stuck on the level geometry quite a bit, and it’s really annoying to always be tweeking your character around to get by obstacles that should be easy to navigate.
  • Multiplayer Gaming Untested
    It looks like SOE did very little local multiplayer testing. Why do I say that? We can’t even load a two player game without starting a two player campaign from scratch first! That’s right. If we enter the game and load up the last game we played, it won’t work. We have to start a new two player game from scratch, wait through the cinematics and opening dialog, and then load our game. At least we only need to do this once per evening, but it’s very annoying. Update: As Jason suggested, hitting X works. Though I’m sure we tried that before. Ah well. But still, X is not the standard for this situation – START is. This is an inconsitency that has caused me much grief!
  • Uninspired Level Design
    We recently left the caves and boy was I glad! They were boring! Other parts of the game so far have been better, however. The graphics for the level geometry are rather bland as well. Some parts look better than others, but the caves look especially bad.
  • No Health/Mana Potions
    We’ve come to expect health potions to come along and save the day when playing games like this, and now we’re stuck in a game where health only comes from killing monsters. Somewhat of a downer.

Good:

  • Great Special FX
    Spells in combat have some great special effects, and the eye candy is fun to watch. I haven’t tired of it yet.
  • Great Character Modelling
    So far we haven’t met a huge variety of bad guys, but what we have seen is well done. Our main characters are also well modelled and look great. It looks like SOE spent a lot of time getting the characters right.
  • Combat is Fun
    This is where the game really shines. Game like Champions of Norrath give you a single ranged attack, a single melee attack, and spells. But Untold Legends has a combo system so that you can perform all sorts of fun attacks. As well, I always play a non-wizard character while Steve always plays a wizard. He usually gets some cool spells and I usually get stuck with boring ones. But in Untold Legends I’m getting some pretty fun spells to use in combat, and they’re great. For example, I recently gained the ability to teleport over to an enemy, slash him up a bit, and then teleport back. It’s been handy and fun at the same time! This feature – the fun combat – is basically what makes the game for me. If combat wasn’t so good, I wouldn’t be playing this game.

So there you have it. It’s a game with many flaws, but the combat makes up for it. At least that’s the way I see it. I hope that Steve drops by and adds his comments too!


Written by: Blackstaffer - News Contributor


  1. #1 by Steve on February 19th, 2008

    I tend to be less critical than Henning of the flaws in the various RPGs we’ve played, but each one does have some. In this one, not being able to load a two-player game from scratch is definitely a nuisance, but one with an easy workaround. The fiddly movement is annoying too, but again it can be worked around once you get accustomed to it. That is, apart from the Crystal Caverns cliff, which I just could not get my character to climb. Henning seemed to have a slightly easier time of it, but only slightly!

    Not having any health or mana potions is somewhat unusual for an RPG. This game substitutes fairly rare fountains for the more traditional and common potion bottles. But I find that in this game, that design is easily made up for with a couple of weapon enhancements that let you collect both qualities from vanquished opponents. And there are lots of opponents to vanquish, so once you have your weapon appropriately tricked out, it’s quite easy to stay at full health and mana most of the time, making the health and mana fountains largely redundant.

    (I think that like X-Men games, but unlike D&D-based games such as Champions, characters also do not recover health and mana over time, which can make up for a lack of potions or fountains in a pinch.)

    The melee system is indeed fun. My wizard character has a wide variety of wizardly combat attacks I can use, which do not require mana expenditure, and are entertainingly visualized. Each one is a combination of X and Square buttons, and at each point during a combo, you can see what your further options are, making it easy to explore the combo space. This is by contrast to some other combo-move games where you either have to memorize all the combos you want to use ahead of time, or just press buttons randomly and hope for the best – which can be fun too, in its own way, but I find not as satisfying as being able to predict what’s going to happen from one moment to the next. Full marks on that.

    I think my favourite spell for my wizard to use is Coerce, which forces opponents to fight for you rather than against you. The coerced opponents aren’t exactly part of your team, in that they will still attack other coerced opponents as well as non-coerced ones. But as long as they aren’t attacking you, it is much easier to defeat them!

    Now I just need to level up some more to try out some of my other spells…

  2. #2 by Trieloth on February 19th, 2008 [ 3426 Points ]

    Humm i liked Balders Gate games alot. Iam not sure why I even over looked this game. If theres still copys around I might have to check it out… I didnt realize it had online mode neither.

  3. #3 by Glitch on February 19th, 2008

    Ahh… Bard’s Tale for the PS2. A truly hilarious and quite entertaining game.

    I had a lot of laugh out loud moments playing it. And it also is a game that one can play while drinking beer.

    I’m curious as to what you think of it Henning.

  4. #4 by Jason on February 19th, 2008

    I think you might be mistaken about not being about to load a two player game. I bought that game at launch and played through almost all of it with my girlfriend. I think you just have to load the second character once you’ve already loaded the lead character’s save game. Actually I think you can join any saved character into your single player game at any time.

    I’ll give it a trying tonight to confirm.

  5. #5 by Henning on February 19th, 2008 [ 0 Points ]

    I just tried it again and could find no way to get a second player into the game.

  6. #6 by Jason on February 19th, 2008

    Ok. I did it.

    Select load game from the main menu and choose the save point you want to load. Once Player1 is in the game you have to press X on the second controller to add another player to your party. At that point you can choose any other saved character by clicking left or right on the d-pad. I think you can do this at any point during the game, even during a boss battle.

    The only think to watch for is that you don’t accidentally load an earlier save of your character or you’ll end up down grading your stats and level! I did that at least once or twice.

  7. #7 by Henning on February 20th, 2008 [ 0 Points ]

    Hey yeah! Thanks!

    I’m sure we tried that before.

    Weird.

    Article updated.

  8. #8 by Hannah on May 2nd, 2010

    Maybe there are CDs that do work and some that don’t?!?!?
    We had a German Version and just couldn’t load the second player, no matter what.


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