Got Game? April '06 Feature - The Next Level

Got Game? April '06

Find out what we've been playing this Spring.

Article by TNL Staff (Email)
April 19th 2006, 07:05AM

Ken Horowitz

During the original Playstation's run, I spent a great deal of time with the two Kings Field games that were released. Their dark atmosphere and massive game world were enough to keep me enthralled for well over forty hours (in each game). I was eagerly awaiting the PS2 sequel, The Ancient City, but never actually got around to playing it until now, and let me tell you, the gameplay has not aged well at all. Sure, From Software created an excellent graphics engine that takes all the charm of the series and enhances it greatly, but they seem to have forgotten to update the control scheme along with the visuals. It's slow, cumbersome, and totally unintuitive. You still turn like a tank, and for some reason, you can't modify the movement layout. Being able to remap the buttons is cold comfort when you're not allowed to invert the vertical axis or change the left and right stick functions.

What this does is essentially cripple a game that wasn't bound to attract hordes of gamers to begin with. The Kings Field series has always had a steep learning curve, and only those willing to stick with each installment for the first four or five hours reap the benefits. This sort of applies to Ancient City, since it's still very enjoyable... after you get used to the control. I guess that's what irks me the most. By the third game of a franchise, I shouldn't have to "get used to" the control scheme; it should have evolved along with the presentation. As it is, Ancient City is still fun (I'm about eight hours in), but boy were those first couple of hours ever tedious.

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