Imagine you're a military hero in the Middle Ages, gallantly striking down the enemy and commanding friendly forces. Set 50 years after the events of Kingdom Under Fire, The Crusaders lets you lead hundreds of troops into war, while managing resources, augmenting your forces, and developing your combat strategies. You can choose to play as one of two races, Humans or Dark Legions, and you can select one of several character types within each race.
While moving across the continent, you can stop by castles, gain endorsements from feudal lords, hire mercenaries, replenish or change equipment, and more.
It's great to have a "real" Kingdom Under Fire game playable on modern platforms. I know Blueside has had all kinds of issues with sustaining and modernising this series, but everyone really should experience the original. With Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders there was real potential that this series could have gone on to something big. As it is, though it's shaping up more as a bit of flash in the pan brilliance that will likely not be replicated.
Overall, Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders is a game from 2004 and it shows. The graphics are dated, and the voice acting seems subpar, but the overall story and combat are what makes this fun for me. Anyone who played the original will appreciate the small updates that have been made to bring the game to the PC in 2020.
If you're a fan of real-time strategy and classic medieval combat, Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders isn't a bad option. The graphics are wildly out of date and the fantasy is about as generic as it comes but these are minor issues compared to the fun tactical gameplay and the sheer tactile thrill of wading into a sea of combatants and going wild with your blade.
It feels like the PC port of Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders could have benefited greatly from a bit more remastering. It seems like a game that had some fine ideas back in the day, but both genres it tackles have moved on to bigger and better things in the time it has been away.
Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders is not a remaster or remake, in fact it’s barely a port. Whilst the scale of the game makes it fun in places, it looks and feels incredibly dated, and you’ll lose a lot of that fun if you’re wedded to mouse and keyboard. It’s an old game, presented warts and all: if bad camera controls, dodgy voice acting and uninspiring storylines are going to put you off, then keep away. On the other hand the game is quite cheap, and it remains the gold standard for a genre that never really got the attention it deserves. If you’re a fan of the original it’s likely a must-buy, for everyone else I’d temper your expectations accordingly.
I understand why, once upon a time, this game was a fan favourite but it simply isn’t good enough by today’s standards. The gameplay could be quite interesting even now if the remaster, or rather the port, wasn’t so incredibly bare-bones.
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