Kingdoms Rise – Preview (PC)

Kingdoms Rise is a fast paced 3rd person, hack-n-slash online PVP game in development by FlyLeap Studios.

At the time of this review the game had no tutorial to play-through but instead directed you to online videos which went over the basics : movement, basic combat, advanced combat etc. Although better than no tutorial at all, it would have been easier to learn the mechanics by doing rather than watching. The game combines sword combat with magic wielding in multiplayer deathmatches and objective based gameplay such as capture the flag. Players can change their loadouts as to what suits their personal gameplay. For example some magic spells do damage with fireballs and some allow the player to teleport multiple feet ahead in an attempt to get the drop on an enemy or to get out of a sticky situation.

The visuals of the game are decent. Good for an indie title, very good for a game of this scale with only 2 developers working on it. Players can customise their looks with different armour pieces and colours to make them feel more unique. I did notice, however, the graphical assets would reload after every spawn and although quick, it isn’t nice to see. This can be forgiven however given the title still being in beta. What is less forgivable is the difficulty sometimes in determining who and who isn’t on your team. The way the light works in the game made this harder than it should be and should be addressed.

As stated before the gameplay is fast-paced and uses a skill based real-time combat system. Players use the mouse to angle their sword slash at an opponent before executing the move, the opposing player then has a small timeframe in which to match a block to minimise incoming damage. Perfect blocks will parry and allow for a counter-attack and missed blocks will receive full damage. Attacks can be combined for quick kills or used with magic to vary assaults. It is an interesting concept to give players such freedom in games and if perfected could set a new precedent in melee focused games.

The combat isn’t where it needs to be yet to do that however. From our time playing we felt the attacks at times would feel clunky and not as fluid as it is obviously intended to be. This would often lead to frustrating duels where your character doesn’t seem to act exactly as you want. Another negative point was that whilst sprint was available to get into combat quicker, it meant you had to sheath your sword. This made the combat feel very start stop start again rather than an effortless switch. Overall the gameplay was nice, especially with the ability to teleport as this allowed for tactical assaults and retreats. The sword slashes all felt to have the same weight behind them because the animations were pretty similar if not identical.

Another flagging point would be that team damage in a game like this can be disastrous. There isn’t a proper deterrent for damaging team mates and team fights end up turning into a “spamfest” as everyone tries to get the killing blow – not caring that they are hitting their comrades to do so.

Kingdoms Rise, however, has the promise of a fun title and it will be interesting to see which direction it takes in the coming months. Its high-paced core gameplay encourages constant combat and could be a great foundation to develop a strategic and skill based combat game. Time will tell which road the developers will take the game down but we hope it will be one that has us grab our helmet and sword and go to war.