Metascore
81

Generally favorable reviews - based on 50 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 50
  2. Negative: 0 out of 50
  1. 82
    A good game, a fun game, but also a frustrating game. The RTS implementation isn't as good as it could be, with a pesky camera and average control. It's the combat that really shines and the sheer magnitude of some battles.
  2. There's so much packed into this game that it's almost too complicated for its own good--almost. But once you climb The Crusaders' steep learning curve and experience the wild frenzy of its massive battles, you'll find all that complexity pays off in spades.
  3. While the action portions aren't as good as they could be and are little more than mindless hack and slash, the RTS elements are a lot more fleshed out and add a lot of depth to the game.
  4. A good game that rivals the PC versions for depth and is right at home dishing out the action on a console that was designed to push such an envelope.
  5. With a robust online mode, scattered borrowings from real-time strategy games, and that elusive indescribable fun factor, KUF is exactly the step-up that this genre needed. [Nov 2004, p.163]
  6. 70
    With multiple squadrons to command individually or all at once, a thorough system for upgrading skills and equipment, and personality at every turn, Kingdom Under Fire strikes a great balance between mindless action and careful strategizing.
  7. The most impressive quality of The Crusaders is the cohesiveness of the RPG, RTS, and action elements. Strategy fans that are looking for a deep, long-lasting console experience with frequent bouts of hacking and slashing should definitely check this game out.
  8. 80
    It's unfamiliar, challenging, abstruse, and yet intensely original and fascinating.
  9. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined me becoming totally addicted to Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders.
  10. It is unfortunate there isn't a free campaign mode in this game like Rome: Total War or any of the Total War series. Such a feature would have taken this title to the next level and mitigated the shortcomings of an overly rigid single player campaign and a reduced multiplayer component. Still, it is one of a kind.
  11. 60
    The learning curve is steep, and the first half-dozen battles serve to show you the ropes. After this initiation, things pick up and Kingdom becomes quite compelling.
  12. The third person action is surprisingly sturdy, while the clash of metal against bone and the confusion, blood and carnage of close combat has been captured spectacularly. [Nov 2004, p.109]
  13. A few localisation issues aside, Kingdom Under Fire is an absorbing and resplendent fusion of genres further improved by a selection of online modes that will ensure the game remains fresh and enjoyable even after the world has been saved. Again. [Oct 2004, p.112]
  14. I love Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders - it's as simple as that. What's the point in pussyfooting around? I plain and simply love it! It melds two of my favourite genres - hack and slash with real time strategy - and delivers something fresh, exciting and compelling.
  15. A big, deep game with more than 50 tough missions and sturdy Xbox Live support, and while it lacks a certain mass-market sparkle, its gameplay will thrill the niche of gamers that it attracts. [Dec 2004, p.84]
  16. Many a developer has thrown hordes of warriors on screen to methodically mow through, but no one has ever captured the visceral beauty and brutality of medieval war like Phantagram has in Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders. [Sept 2004, p.58]
  17. Slicing through goblins and Amazon elf gals while controlling multiple armies may sound hopelessly complicated on paper, but the brilliant control scheme keeps you from feeling lost. [Nov 2004, p.150]
  18. After some initial frustration, which I'll admit was high, it's really a game worth playing for the epic feel and chaos of open-field warfare.
  19. Original games aren't exactly everywhere, but adding such deep role-playing and strategic elements to a combat game was an inspired move.
  20. It doesn't know whether it's a hack and slash game or a tactical masterclass, and although it attempts to combine these, it doesn't do so convincingly.
  21. Putting the poor Live experience aside, the game is really quite good combining a heavy dose of both action and strategy into one game, makes for an extremely enjoyable experience.
  22. Phantagram has gone for sheer strength of numbers, which means draw distance and animations have suffered. Not a major loss, but it does diminish the high-gloss presentation.
  23. The beauty of KUF: The Crusaders is the simplicity of the action gameplay, even though it looks very complex and overwhelming on the screen. The control set is easy to use, yet competent when it comes time to battle the seemingly endless amounts of enemies.
  24. Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders literally takes this genre to new heights; the amalgamation of action and strategy is the best we've seen in a game of this type to date, and creates an enticing experience that is very hard to put down.
  25. It's got hours upon hours of fun in the single player campaigns, and if that weren't enough, there's the only versus mode and the game's promise of future downloadable content.
  26. But the game-play elements are bound seamlessly together and as a whole you get something just as good as any of those games.
  27. A great game. I love the flow that the game has.
  28. Microsoft's hidden gem, and Phantagrams masterpiece.
  29. When you look at KUF:TC objectively, it seems to be very much more than a sum of its parts. The audio is flawed, the graphics can be dodgy, the plot is thin and the controls are iffy, yet it still proves to be a very compelling and accomplished little action/strategy game.
  30. 92
    After the controls have been mastered, this baby handles like a sports car, so long as you keep a sharp eye on your map, and pay careful attention to enemy movement.
  31. The thrill of running towards an army and decimating it is enhanced by the insane amount of characters on screen, the impressive graphics, and the sweet metal soundtrack.
  32. Although combination attacks and special strikes are possible, battles come straight from the "Warriors" playbook - and fights, no matter how lopsided, are all too easily won by locating an enemy leader and killing him or her. [Dec 2004, p.127]
  33. A refreshing take on a tired formula of hack and slash game play. With its mixture of real time combat, strategy and management, KUF has enough to keep most armchair tacticians entertained for quite sometime.
  34. Feels like it should have been designed as a "Dynasty Warriors" clone. It would have done a wonderful job as such. The environments and character designs are beautiful accomplishments, and the sense of scale is an incredible feat. But the RTS aspects hurt the game badly.
  35. With near perfectly balanced hybrid gameplay, and thoughtful, intuitive controls, Kingdom Under Fire is sure to surprise even the most jaded player.
  36. The graphics are nothing short of amazing, especially considering the size of the maps, and the massive number of troops on screen. The brilliant soundtrack and excellent voice acting keep the game sounding great, and the story will keep you wrapped up in this medieval fantasy world.
  37. The combo of RTS, RPG and HnS was just too weird for me.
  38. Highly recommended because it combines two stlyes of gameplay well enough to make the steep learning curve a mere bump in the road.
  39. Lovers of intense strategy should go out and pick up a copy of KuFTC for this is a true gem of the gaming world. Word of warning though: once you are hooked it's just so hard to put down.
  40. It's this combination of thought and reflex that makes Crusaders exceptional despite its faults. [Nov 2004, p.101]
  41. The visuals during the battles are very good, especially when you consider the sheer scale of the images that are being rendered, involving literally hundreds of individually animated models thrashing about trying to knock ten bells out of each other.
  42. Each element fits in perfectly, however the amount of time the game requires you to put in may put off more casual gamers, but it's definitely a classic for strategy enthusiasts.
  43. This can get complicated. Fortunately, the game starts you out with just a bit of responsibility, then ratchets it up as you succeed. Helpful video tutorials appear with each new type of troop unit, and there are upgrades available.
  44. Phantagram has added not only an RPG element to the game but live action combat as well - not to mention the beautiful graphics...drool... sweet, sweet graphics.
  45. The difficulty and audio make the price of entry a bit high, but the story and scale are worth it if you're looking for something a bit different.
  46. A welcome surprise, a combination of strategy and combat in a genre that is typified by hack and slash.
  47. 78
    Online play could have been something more, but just ended up being a deathmatch mode. It could have been so much more. The story mode was fun to play through, though.
  48. It offers a good game length, nice graphics, lots of strategy, deep customization, and fun combat.
  49. 84
    Prettier graphics and fewer bugs would have been nice, but this game passes the true test: high entertainment value.
  50. 68
    The shoddy graphics engine is the most apparent deficiency while it's a pity that the fiddly control system, most specifically the errant camera, feels compelled to dampen the gamer's playing experience.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 29 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 18
  2. Negative: 3 out of 18
  1. KayG.
    Oct 15, 2004
    4
    This game had potential. Honestly the graphics are really downgrated. There are plenty of characters on screen taking up the polycount, but This game had potential. Honestly the graphics are really downgrated. There are plenty of characters on screen taking up the polycount, but the environments are very bland and the texture quality is of PS2. The sound on the other hand is horrible! Heavy metal does not work for this game. Unfortunate for the sound... I would honestly love this game if it where not for the horrible sound. Full Review »
  2. Linchung
    Sep 7, 2004
    4
    I've finished playing as Gerald and what i can say is that this game started out strongly but as play wears on, the controls begin toI've finished playing as Gerald and what i can say is that this game started out strongly but as play wears on, the controls begin to feel cumbersome. When controlling 2 to 3 armies simultaneously, it is difficult to see exactly what is going on and you feel very helpless. The worse thing is that the Gerald part of the story came to an abrupt halt - right when I'm eyeball to eyeball with dear ol Reggie ... darn! does the story continue? or do I have to play through ALL the characters to have a final ending??? This game sucks at the end ... Full Review »
  3. Jan 13, 2015
    10
    there is no game series better then this. i have never ever been so addicted to a game as this game, and im doing my best to get a new xboxthere is no game series better then this. i have never ever been so addicted to a game as this game, and im doing my best to get a new xbox original and this game to play it again. ive searched far and wide to find a game that matches this one. in same kind of playing, unit control, upgradeable units whit a bit of fantasy and magic. but ive never found a game even close to this Full Review »