After the summary of the Kingdom Under Fire II pre-launch event itself, and the article dedicated to the information collected during the various interviews, here is the part that will concern the game that we were able to test in a slightly less advanced than that which will be proposed at launch. Indeed, in order to ensure a certain stability to the dedicated server created especially for the event, the studio has chosen to take a build dating back a few weeks, in which the music has not yet all been added and where many voices are still in Korean. It has indeed been confirmed to me that the game will be fully dubbed in English, with spanish and German subtitles.
The five classes are proposed, for my part I played a ranger (Ranger) then a warrior Mage (Spellsword). For his part, Clamoune tested the maverick (Gunslinger) and the Berserker. You will soon find play sessions with these different classes on our YouTube channel, follow us!
Once the class is chosen, come the options for character creation. On the left are the basic parameters, including the choice of face, hairstyle, or facial decoration. Colors are customizable for hair, eyes, lips and skin. Beyond the basic models, the shape of the body does not change. The face can be set in detail, directly manipulating the polygons using the sliders on the right. It should be noted that, for the moment, the sex is fixed according to the class, with therefore three female characters for two male. There are currently no plans to unlock this unless the community actively requests it.
After a cutscene explaining the situation, the game begins in an RPG view, therefore only controlling the hero or heroine. The starting point is the same no matter the class and, from what I could see on my neighbors' screens, there is no difference in how the story unfolds on the first 7 or 8. levels (we did not have time to go further). In this mode, movement is conventionally performed using the keyboard, with, in the case of the test, a WASD configuration adapted to the proposed keyboard. Surprisingly, it is not possible to jump! Space is used to dodge ... The game takes control, the promise not to let go of the players in this new world is kept.
The tutorial also covers the specificities of the classes, the abilities being unlocked as you progress with, each time, situations to test without taking too much risk. Anyway, several times I got down alive on this departure and each time an NPC healed me. On the left, I am with my Warrior Mage while on the right Clamoune is in the same place with his Maverick.
After a first epic fight, the MMORPG part leads to carrying out fairly classic quests in the genre: kill x enemies, interact with y elements, go to such and such a place, talk to such and such a character ... The quests are triggered by dialoguing with the characters of the world, identified with a yellow exclamation mark on the head, in addition to being visible on the minimap at the bottom right.
There is no automatic path calculation by clicking on an objective, but the character is given an arrow on the top of his head, which indicates where to go to complete the quest, which location is marked with a big green arrow once at destination. Since the quest requires, for example, to kill enemies in an area, the location is marked off on the minimap. It is also possible to open the world map to click on the destination: in this case the character sets off immediately, trying to calculate the best way to get to the destination.
Integrating a character sheet management, with equipment and a fairly basic inventory, the interface resembles that of many other games. A button gives the opportunity at the bottom of the inventory to automatically sort or to disassemble the rejects to recover craft components. Everything is not yet translated ... well, well, it is sufficiently explicit to know if it is better or not.
Around level 4, I got my first mount, an item in the inventory which then joins a collection. Once the mount is applied, it will summon in about 2 seconds at any time (outdoors).
Shortly after, the first mission is unlocked, addressing the RTS dimension of the game. For this first mission, there is only one troop to manage, and all the commands are not explained either. The information is supplemented as the battles progress so as not to be inundated with information (for example I have not yet had to manage more than two troops, and not the three possible maximum). The change from RPG to RTS is done easily, via the Tab key (as well as ², the key to the left of the numbers, to adjust the view). The camera adapts naturally and smoothly. Visibility is surprisingly correct, with markers (optional) which are displayed on the heads of enemies to better find their troops in the melee which can quickly involve more than 100 units. The troops are self-managed via basic behaviors: defensive, aggressive or support to the hero. Otherwise, each can be taken care of and given specific goals using F1 to F3, the opportunity to use special skills as well.
At the end of the battle, a score is calculated, giving a score according to the damage inflicted or the number of deaths ...
I haven't had much time to explore all the UI elements yet, but here are some screenshots of the different menus:
And from the shop so feared (a dedicated video is planned):
Clamoune and I both found our classes to be really fun to play, with a distinct personal preference for the War Mage on the Ranger, and for the Maverick Clamoune over the Berserker. In the outside world, the damage inflicted is impressive, basic monsters do not take more than one or two hits before dying. Of course, during missions, it is sometimes more complicated, the enemies are so numerous that the damage taken quickly puts in danger if the hero is not properly protected by the troops, not to mention the captains who strike much harder. Perfectly following the current adage of games "easy to learn but difficult to master", Kingdom Under Fire II is not as opaque as it seems to be, the grip is easy, helped by a tutorial well created. But effectiveness on the battlefield will require obvious strategic skills, and in particular an ability to have a good overview coupled with an excellent knowledge of the capabilities of his troops and his hero. The content of the store completely reassured me about the economic model: everything seems to have been thought out to offer a fair gaming experience, without the obligation to go back to the checkout after the initial purchase.
If I had to absolutely find negative points, it would be on the graphics side. Although correct, they clearly fall short of the games coming out at the end of 2019, with textures lacking in finesse and non-existent or unrealistic shadows. The animation is a bit stiff, especially in the crowd of enemies who seem to "slide" across the game screen, with somewhat erratic behavior. On some bosses, I struggled to manage my character's hitbox (the area in which my character is able to hit the other), making me wonder if this might be a one-time collision issue. , not to mention one of my spells that regularly went the wrong way. Finally, the absence of jumping is probably something very incidental, but I admit that I miss it, me who plays a lot of melee classes and who have taken the habit of occupying myself like that during the fights. It is also important to note the importance of the Korean influence, especially on the attitude of female characters who sometimes have borderline annoying overreactions (doing a sexy pose for nothing, sending kisses in the air, winking 'eye...).
However, these points did not mar my real pleasure of playing. Our second game session lasted more than 1 hour and 15 minutes and we didn't see the time go by at all! So this is clearly an excellent point. It now remains to be seen if this first impression is confirmed in the long term ... answer on November 14 with the release of the final version! In the meantime, follow us on YouTube, because videos will be uploaded very soon !!