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King Arthur - PS2 - Review


Posted by: jkdmedia

Review Rating 6.0 Above Average
King Arthur wasn't the epic, spellbinding classic we had hoped for, but the battle sequences boiled over with the essence of what makes a good video game: colossus battles, lots of action, special effects, and casualties of numerous no-name extras.  (Death is cool in a sword-slasher so long as it's not a character you know and care about.)

When Konami announced that they'd be the ones publishing  King Arthur, no one doubted that those cool movie sequences would be translated into good, exciting gameplay.  No one doubted that King Arthur would be turned into more than a movie licensed game.  We had no doubts.  None at all.

Like many games released in the past couple of years, King Arthur falls victim to The Lord of the Rings syndrome.  The Lord of the Rings syndrome is where the developers envision an exciting variation of Electronic Arts' beloved trilogy.  That said, their vision of a "variation" is pretty good.  On the other hand, their vision for excitement didn't pan out, resulting in something less than an on-the-edge-of-your-seat experience. 


King Arthur is what The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King would be with bad graphics, poor controls and weak enemies.  Hordes of enemies come forth, and all it takes to slay them is a tap of the X button.  The X button triggers your weakest attack.  It's also the fastest attack, meaning you can perform as many as one combo over and over again.  The other buttons allow you to perform as many as two combos.  And to think, this was designed for a console that's four years old.

As artificial as the enemies may be, they have no intelligence.  They lack the ability to think or react to a given situation (that is, a situation in which I am stabbing them in the chest).  They'll attack to prevent my character from entering a particular area, albeit very badly and without a clue as to how much force should or shouldn't be used.

When riding the horse, I found it was easier to trample enemies from afar than it was to trample them up close.  Apparently the game detects enemies even when they're not right next to the horse.  Kicking his legs forward caused the enemies to fall over in a weird, unrealistic way.  It's almost as if they died from boredom.  "Oh we just can't take it anymore.  This battle is too long to go on..."  I second that.

No two levels are exactly alike, but you'll beg to differ I'm sure.  The paths are as linear as they get.  Half the time you don't even have to know where you're going, or what your mission is supposed to be.  Attack the enemies and the day will be saved.  Or, if your path is clear, run to the exit and see what happens.  In many cases that section of the stage will end right there.  Games haven't allowed you to pass through a stage without completing an objective since the early 90s.  It seems as though a King Arthur will slip through the cracks every now and then.  Having played these games, hopefully the developers of tomorrow will not make these same mistakes. 


Is there a redeeming quality to be found within this weak button-masher?  I wish I could say there was.  If you loved The Return of the King's battles and want more of 'em, Dynasty Warriors makes a great substitute.  It's repetitive without being a disappointment.  Unfortunately that's all that King Arthur is: repetitive.  Disappointment included.

Review Scoring Details for King Arthur

Gameplay: 6
They say that anything worth doing once is worth doing twice.  That may be true.  But when you multiply twice times infinity that’s thrown out the window.  King Arthur is nothing but a repetitive beat-'em-up.  The gameplay mechanics aren't very good, adding to the urge to get out.

Graphics: 5
Boring colors, choppy animation, unrealistic faces...does King Arthur have any visual effects worth opening your eyes for?  Well, does it?

Sound: 7.6
A soundtrack that's far too epic for the pint-sized gameplay.

Difficulty: Easy
Here it is folks, my one-sentence strategy guide for King Arthur: Tap the X button, use square and triangle sparingly.

Concept: 5
Anyone can copy Dynasty Warriors and The Lord of the Rings.  I'm not thrilled about it, but if a developer must, they could at least take the time to ensure that the game plays as well as the game(s) they copied.

Multiplayer: 6

Overall: 6
Rent it as a last resort.  You can live without this game, trust me.  The film may be the world to you.  You may watch it and think about how wonderful each element is.  But that love can't buy you a new game.  The King Arthur you're stuck with now is the King Arthur you'll always be stuck with.

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