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King's Field (series)

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King's Field
Genres Console role-playing game
Developers From Software
Publishers From Software
ASCII Entertainment
Agetec
SCEE
Metro 3D
Platforms PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Windows, Mobile phones
First release King's Field
December 16, 1994
Latest release King's Field IV
October 4, 2001

King's Field (キングスフィールド) is a console role-playing game series developed by From Software and localized into English by ASCII Entertainment (who later reformed into Agetec). It is known for its brooding atmosphere and cryptic, labyrinthine dungeons.[1] Titles in this series have been released for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Microsoft Windows and various mobile phone platforms.[2]

King's Field was released for the PlayStation in Japan on December 16, 1994, 13 days after the PlayStation console itself went on sale.[citation needed] The game's fully 3D, first person perspective was groundbreaking among console role-playing games of the time and received significant critical acclaim.[citation needed] The next two King's Field titles followed in quick succession: King's Field II on July 21, 1995 and King's Field III on June 21, 1996. King's Field IV was released several years later for the PlayStation 2 on October 4, 2001.[3] A spiritual successor to the series, named Demon's Souls, was released February 5, 2009 in Japan for the PlayStation 3.

Games

PlayStation

The first game in the series, King's Field, was released only in Japan. While it was not officially localized into English, fans have written a full English translation patch.[4]

In King's Field, the player takes the role of John Alfred Forrester. He is searching for his missing father, Hauser Forrester, who disappeared along with his soldiers while exploring a dead king's underground graveyard. Shorter than the others in the series, King's Field includes five floors. The main aspects of gameplay consist of first-person battles, puzzle solving and exploration.

After the success of the first game, King's Field II became the first in the series to be released in the United States (under the name King's Field). In the sequel, the player takes the role of Alexander, the lone survivor of a shipwreck who at the behest of King Alfred tries to fulfill his duty to find and retrieve a mysterious sword from the dangerous island of Melanat.

This time around, a large portion of the game takes place above ground, but the main aspects of gameplay remain unchanged: first-person battles, puzzle solving and exploration.

In King's Field III (released in the US as King's Field II), the player takes the role of Prince Lyle Austin Forrester (son of King Alfred) as he struggles to uncover the reasons behind his father’s sudden descent into madness and to restore peace to the suffering kingdom of Verdite.

Overall gameplay remained very similar to the other King’s Field games and entails first-person battles, puzzle solving and exploration. This installment is the largest of the first three and contains various tweaks to the game's user interface which streamline controls and gameplay.

PlayStation 2

King's Field IV (released as King's Field: The Ancient City in the US) was the first game from the series released on the PlayStation 2 console. The entire game takes place within the Land of Disaster, where the forest folk once dwelled until an evil curse came upon the land. The player takes the role of Prince Devian of the Azalin Empire who has been given the task of returning the cause of the blight, the Idol of Sorrow, back to the cursed land. His journey follows the downfall of the Kingdom of Heladin and the failed attempt to return the idol by Septiego the Sword Master who led an expedition of over 1000 men in a failed effort to return the cursed Idol.

PlayStation Portable

King's Field: Additional I is the first game of the series released on the PlayStation Portable. It was only released in Japan and was never localized to English; however, the game came with a mini-instruction manual in both English and Chinese for grey import buyers. The "Additional" series uses a step-by-step style of gameplay, rather than free-roaming.

King's Field: Additional II, the sequel, also only found a Japanese release, and was never localized to English. It featured the ability to import the player's character from Kings Field: Additional I, including all equipment and statistics.

Microsoft Windows

Sword of Moonlight: King's Field Making Tool is a King's Field designing tool for the Microsoft Windows platform which was released in Japan. It lets the user construct free-standing King's Field games which may be played independently, without having Sword of Moonlight installed. It also contains a full remake of the first King’s Field game originally released on the PlayStation.[5] Fans have written a full English translation patch.[4] A recent fan-made addition to the King's Field series was released on December 24, 2009, titled "Dark Destiny", it follows the story between the original King's Field in Japan and the first U.S. King's Field release.

Mobile phones

King's Field Mobile is a KF title released in Japan but was available for purchase and download to anyone with a compatible cellular phone platform.[6] It was followed by two sequels: King's Field Mobile 2,[7] and King's Field EX.[8]

Merchandise and other media

To commemorate their 20th anniversary, From Software released the special collection package called the King's Field Dark Side Box, which contained a reissue of the four King's Field games which had previously been released on the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, as well as an audio CD, a map of Verdite, and other bonuses.[9]

Reception

Critical reception for the series in general was extremely polarized in that people tended to either hate it or love it. Common criticisms include: slow moving player character, low number of game characters (NPCs), difficult gameplay and muddy colors. Others often cite these very things as what they like about the series.

As opposed to other combat based RPGs, King's Field focuses more on exploration and a dark brooding ambiance. The slow character movement facilitates streaming data from the game disk which eliminates loading screens that plague most PlayStation titles. Fans say the lack of loading screens aid in becoming absorbed into the artistry of the title by removing constant reminders that "it's just a game".[10][11]

Overview

While the first three installments continued a single story, the fourth (King's Field IV) begins a new story. All King's Field games share elements of gameplay and some common items. The Moonlight Sword has been a recurring element in every King's Field title, as well as items such as the Herb and Antidote.

In all King's Field releases, except for the PlayStation Portable titles, battles are fought in real time, and usually involve maneuvering to land blows using melee weapons as well as casting offensive ranged-magic spells.

Future

From Software turned down a proposal to develop a new King's Field title, citing cost of development as the reason.[12] As of August 2008, From Software expressed no plans to produce a new installment in the series.

In October 2008, From Software announced a new RPG for the PlayStation 3 named Demon's Souls, which was described as a "spiritual successor" to the King's Field series.[13] The game has been released with great praise from multiple media outlets citing both its beautiful design and difficulty.[14][15]

References

  1. Kasavin, Greg (1995-12-31). News Game Spot. Gamespot.com. Retrieved on 2009-04-28.
  2. From Software Release Notices. Fromsoftware.jp. Retrieved on 2009-04-28.
  3. Publish dates GameFAQ. Gamefaqs.com. Retrieved on 2009-04-28.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Author. Release Notice. Agetec.yuku.com. Retrieved on 2009-04-28.
  5. From Software Product Details. Fromsoftware.jp. Retrieved on 2009-04-28.
  6. From Mobile Product. Fromcapsule.jp. Retrieved on 2009-04-28.
  7. From Mobile Product. Fromcapsule.jp. Retrieved on 2009-04-28.
  8. From Mobile Product. Fromcapsule.jp. Retrieved on 2009-04-28.
  9. Release Information Gamespot Japan. Japan.gamespot.com. Retrieved on 2009-04-28.
  10. Kasavin, Greg (1995-12-31). Gamespot Review. Gamespot.com. Retrieved on 2009-04-28.
  11. GameFAQs Reviews. Gamefaqs.com. Retrieved on 2009-04-28.
  12. According to Mark Johnson, an Agetec employee who has worked on localizing the previous King's Field titles
  13. Author. announcement. Agetec.yuku.com. Retrieved on 2009-04-28.
  14. Demon's Souls Review - PlayStation 3 Review at IGN
  15. Demon's Souls Review - Page 3 | PS3 | Eurogamer

External links

ca:King's Field (saga)

ja:キングスフィールド ms:King's Field (siri)

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