Sometimes it amazes me that some companies allow demos to be made of their games, especially for the current line of consoles. When practically the entire userbase can download a sample of the game, you’d think that if you didn’t have anything special to show off you’d keep it hidden from people.

Case in point, that new Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom demo that just appeared on Xbox Live… it sure is a piece of work. Whereas the last Kingdom Under Fire games have been action/strategy/rpg games, this one is straight up action rpg. And it
‘s just like any other action rpg game you’ll
fight enemies, collect treasures, and play with new weapons and spells while mashing buttons furiously.
The gimmick for this one is a dreamworld that you enter whenever you
sleep that gives you access to an old fella who tells you the story and then allows you to learn new abilities.

I should’ve known to stop playing from the start, when the first place the game dumps you off in is called "The Forest of Embracing". Really? Is it really? That’d explain the fruity piano music that sounds like a Resident Evil save room, eh?

The first battle shows a little bit of promise as you’re attacked by a large number of beasts, but any excitement you might feel is soon quelled. The enemies all move together as one and are very content to wait around for you to wack at them. A little more animation’s needed to make this any kind of exciting, guys… it’s lame to swipe at a group of enemies and see them all stagger back and splurt blood at the same time. The combat is also too slow for the button masher this game really is, despite its RPG wrappings.

The developers promised an environment that you can completely demolish, and there are some trees and other objects that you can destroy here, but a destructible environment doesn’t do you much good when it’s so sparse.

The weapons and spells are pretty cool and varied, but they don’t help to make the fights more entertaining for long. Still, you’ve got a lot of abilities you can map to most of the buttons for easy access. The only problem with that is that you’ve got to go through the menu and try to read it.

Can I once again say how much I hate when games don’t take into account that most gamers still use SDTVs? My eyes are hurting from all the squinting I did trying to decipher the plentiful text in this game, and I’ve got better than perfect eyesight (20-15, bitches). Is it really that hard to make it a little bigger for us? We don’t all have a grand to drop on a TV.

Even without an HDTV the game looks pretty enough, but the slow and boring combat doesn’t do it any favors. After you run into group after group of the same exact enemies you’ll be ready to quit the game, which is exactly what I did.

This is 1.2 gigs of hard drive waste. If you desperately need an action RPG for some reason pick up Oblivion instead… it doesn’t look like this is going to be worth it.