Everyone’s played one of the Dynasty Warriors games before. We’ve all come home from work one day and been eager to go for some brainless hack and slash goodness and watch the body counts spiral up into the thousands. Unfortunately, half an hour’s play is usually enough before you tire of the repetitive button mashing and you head for one of the many more impressive titles available on today’s modern day consoles.
Rise of the Argonauts then certainly has the idea right. Promising to not only pack in masses of button bashing brilliance, but also toss in the kind of RPG chat that could easily give a game a bit of a long-term hook, it definitely sounds like the kind of title that could be thoroughly addictive.
Unfortunately, none of these elements stand up to any kind of scrutiny. Based on a Greek myth - though it does take a few liberties from time to time - Jason’s quest to obtain the Golden Fleece is one packed with murder, intrigue, and lots of blood thirsty action.
Well, that’s what you’d hope anyway. Instead of a rip roaring hectic rush through an interesting story crammed with lots of sword swinging goodness, you’ll spend an irritatingly large amount of time having a bit of a chat.
It’s an unusual design decision, but you’ll spend a wealth of time simply wandering from character to character shooting the breeze. If done well, it could have been at worst a nice break from the brawling. But, the poorly written dialogue and shockingly bad voice acting will only see you long for the field of battle.
Once you’re actually out there ready for a fight, things are right back to basics. Though Jason can wield swords, spears, and maces, the control system is so incredibly basic that you’ll be flinging each around with devilish ease.
The fighting is ultimately unsatisfying however. Like all games of this ilk, your enemies are fairly stupid and you can easily battle through the majority of enemies simply mashing a few buttons. It’s not that complexity is what’s desired in this brand of game, but there’s so little that you truly need to think about other than pointing in the right direction, that you’ll tire of the battling long before the closing credits roll.
But, there is one saving grace. Performing certain actions during brawls and make particular dialogue choices allows you to gain favour with one of four gods, each of which packs a skill tree allowing you to continuously gain new abilities and actions to spice things up a touch. Towards the latter stages of the game you’ll truly feel like an incredibly powerful Greek warrior which certainly has its draw.
There are, however, quite a few technical flaws. Graphically Rise of the Argonauts is merely functional, with little to show that this game couldn’t have appeared on the original Xbox. Rather than the wide open spaces of the Dynasty Warriors series, it’s tight narrow corridors of brawling here despite the appearance of space.
Rise of the Argonauts is certainly a missed opportunity. Despite the pacing issues and dull nature of the dialogue, you get the feeling that there’s the basis of a pretty decent title here.
A bit of a graphical touch up, a few more fighting scenes, and a brand new script and we could have had a fairly nice brainless romp on our hands. Instead this is one to wait till it hits the bargain bin, even if brainless brawling is what you’re after.
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