KingsRoad Review

In today’s market filled with kingdoms in peril it can be difficult for developers to create a game that stands out in such an overused setting. But the guys from Rumble Entertainment are trying their luck with their newest title KingsRoad, a browser-based, and action-oriented role-playing MMO. In this game, players take on the role of the Hero who is set to save the troubled lands of Alderstone from the evil Adamar, the Lord of Shadows, and his vast hordes of mercenaries, dark knights and sorcerers.

So how does new title measure up to all the other competition? I hope your swords are sharpened, arrows all accounted for, and spell books and wands at the ready, because we’re going into the world of KingsRoad!

Sword-Swinging, Arrow-Shooting and Spell-casting… All at Once???

The gameplay of KingsRoad has players oversee their avatar, the nameless Hero, over a map that is always centered on their character, top-down style. Players get to choose an instance where they are tasked to complete the level by defeating all the enemies within the map. Afterwards, the players will be rated based on how well he or she finished the instance and will be rewarded with gems that can be used to upgrade their inventory slots, open chests and reset their skill trees. The Hero can be controlled via left mouse click for moving, interacting with NPCs and auto-attacking enemies while the number buttons (1 through 5) serve as the preset slots for the class-specific abilities. For the health and mana items, the Q,W,E and R serve as hotkeys. The battle sequences are fast-paced and it duly involves the players’ attention with clicking on the enemies, using their spells while trying to avoid getting hit with enemy fire, and using the health and mana potions to continue bringing the fight to the opponents. Boss fights are also worth noting, as they are huge and imposing that have unique spells in their arsenal; taking them down needs proper planning and strategy.

this.is.ALDERSTONE!!!

this.is.ALDERSTONE!!!

Each player can choose between three classes – the Knight, the Ranger and the Wizard. These three classes represent the kind of damage players can deal the baddies within the game. For those who prefer a no-nonsense, in-your-face action, the Knight is the way to go, as this the melee class of KingsRoad. If you want to snipe down your enemies from afar, the Ranger class fits the bill, with his volleys of arrows for long-range bombardment. The Wizard is in-charge of dishing out elemental area-of-effect damage that would singe and freeze any and all unwanted opponents from the immediate vicinity.

The Archer is mad at me 'cause I'm not giving him any love.

The Archer is mad at me ’cause I’m not giving him any love.

What is novel about KingsRoad is that players can change in-between classes as they progress in the game. This ability to change classes in-between missions provides players options on how to go about the quest they’re trying to finish.

Also worth noting is that the three classes can be built to cater to one’s play style – the Knight, for instance, can be played as a melee DPS character or a tanky one that can withstand lots of damage. The ability to build your Hero to your liking makes the gameplay that more fulfilling. Should players decide to change their Hero’s skill trees, they would have to pay for resetting them which is kind of a bummer.

Looking Sharp, Hero

Another thing that would catch anyone’s attention when playing KingsRoad is that the game is well-made, from the aesthetics point of view. The maps that players can explore are really detailed, from the shanty farm towns, the rune-filled mystical forests, up to the siege-ruined castle ramparts, the designers took it upon themselves to really stick to the theme of the map as much as possible without going overboard. They even animated most of the classes’ spells when players cast them as well as putting different death animations to the enemy units. Adding these little details makes the game fun to play as you get the sense that you’re not mindlessly droning about and running through maps monotonously. It also helps that as you get better items and equip them to your Hero, your character’s equipment changes its looks – it’s a real rags-to-riches kind of happiness when you see that your character gets to look more heroic and bad ass because of the loot you’ve gotten from your map runs.

For all intents and purposes, green IS my color.

For all intents and purposes, green IS my color.

Forging and Enchanting Made Easy!

Speaking of equipment, KingsRoad also incorporates a fun forging and enchanting system that is really easy to learn. Players can craft equipment by simply gathering three items of the same appraisal value and have them forged to get an item of a better rating, regardless of the type of item is is. If you happen to have a sword, a helmet and boots that are all of the same rating, you can forge these three items to get a new item of a higher rating. Getting the three similar-rated items every map run to see what item can be forged from them gives KingsRoad and its multitudes of maps high replay value. It is quite surprising how many items you can forge together in this game!

pick any three items that are of the same rating, and test your luck if you'll get an awesome item!...or a crappy one.

pick any three items that are of the same rating, and test your luck if you’ll get an awesome item!…or a crappy one.

The enchanting mechanic is similar to the forging system, but players need gems and crystals to enchant their equipment. Said gems and crystals can be leveled up by combining different crystals and gems, the only difference between forging and enchanting is that players can choose what crystals they want to level up and all the other crystals would be sacrificed to power up their chosen crystal; for forging, the three combined items cannot be leveled up.

A Hero is Not Without Faults

KingsRoad, while having some nifty tricks up its sleeves, still has some issues that needs to work on.

In terms of story, KingsRoad sadly falls flat on trying to give something new. Its story revolves around a nameless Hero that is chosen to protect the lands of Alderstone from an evil entity in the form of Adamar. As much as I would like to get behind a nameless Hero, this motif has fallen stale as of late, and it would have been better if there was a nice little spin or twist on an otherwise tired narrative.

Nice war hammer. Wanna trade it for my staff?

Nice war hammer. Wanna trade it for my staff?

KingsRoad is also surprisingly lacking in customization. As much as players can change the way their Hero looks like with new weapons and equipment, customization of the character itself is nowhere to be found. The Hero’s face and other features are standard and cannot be altered to what the players see fit. This proves somewhat drab, as most MMOs provide this kind of customization as a standard prerequisite; in KingsRoad, players are stuck with the nameless Hero and his beefy, macho physique. It is also peculiar that KingsRoad doesn’t allow players to change the gender of their Hero. One would think that a Hero could be anyone, regardless of gender, but in KingsRoad, their notion of a Hero rests on the hands (and shoulders) of a man.

Gameplay-wise, there are some camera issues. Sometimes the camera is fixed at the center of the screen and some maps have enemies pop up out of nowhere. Players need to be on their toes and try to cautiously move their Hero lest they’d be ambushed by a group of bandits and mercenaries unprepared. Add to that, there is no map to speak of when you’re inside one of the instances. While the overall map design is fairly straightforward, some dead ends might end up annoying players. Having the option to control the camera movement separately or having a map while inside one of the instances would have been nice.

The Hero’s classes also do not level up all at the same time. Players must grind their Heroes one at a time to level up. This proves to be a time-consuming task that most people might not have patience to do, but for those who want to have each of the classes to reach the highest level, they are welcome to grind through all the previous maps they have completed, as they can be re-run.

While KingsRoad has some social elements with guilds and special raiding events, one can skip all those together and just continue to grind through the maps to get better items for their Hero. You play the game all on your own and not be sociable and still progress. There is also no PvP element to speak of, which is a huge bummer, as having one would have made quite a fun dynamic to the game.

Pros

– Smooth and pleasant-looking backgrounds
– Eye-catching character designs and action sequences
– Players can change in-between classes
– Different skill branches to try out
– Vast item progression via crafting and enchanting
– Players are able to re-run completed instances that increases its difficulty and yield more experience and more rare item drops

Cons

– No female versions of the three classes
– Story is uninspiring and is often times an afterthought
– Character customization only happens in equipping new items
– Skill tree resets require purchasing in-game currency before being able to try out new builds
– Each class has to be leveled up individually in order to get stronger
– No PvP to speak of

Final Thoughts

Despite some flaws, KingsRoad manages to deliver on some aspects and is still an enjoyable game to play. Having a very deep forging and enchanting system would most certainly make replaying the finished dungeons a must-do. Apart from getting the privilege of seeing what items can be acquired from forging different items together, seeing one’s character progress from a nobody to a Hero is something that players would divulge hours upon hours on.

Rating: 4 out 5 stars

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