Conan is a hack and slash or game for the Microsoft Xbox 360 games console.
This game puts you in the shoes of everybody's favourite barbarian, Conan, the game has good voice acting and even features the brilliant actress Claudia Black.
The gameplay is something like God Of War but it is perhaps even more brutal, in this game mashing the attack buttons will dismember enemys up sending their arms, legs and heads flying everywhere. You can also pick up enemy Weapons which is good and satisfying, beating your foes to death with their own weapons is a very entertaining.
There is not much variety to the gameplay but as what is there is so good and satisfying you don't really mind.
If you like hack and slash type games you will definitely enjoyed playing this. You can buy this game. for a round 20 to 30 pounds which is a good price. Just keep it a way from young children.
When drawing up a demographic of who plays computer games the most, we all know who they are. Console makers may try to claim that they appeal to all age groups and both sexes, but we know who they are. Nintendo in particular are now claiming that they are opening up new avenues of casual gamers, yet despite this, we know who the majority of gamers will still be - boys/men from 6 to 26. Some games makers embrace this demographic and produce products that appeal to every stereotype that this group lusts for - women, violence and explosions. It has made the likes of 'Grand Theft Auto', 'God of War' and 'Gears of War' massive sellers. However, none of these can compete with the most testosterone game yet - 'Conan', a warrior without shame.
'Conan' is less of a clone and more of a direct rip off of 'God of War'. You play as Conan in a 3rd person action game that contains plenty of fighting and some platforming elements. You are given the task of defeating an evil Wizard, but before you do this you must find your armour. Each section of armour gives you a power that you can use once you have built up your power bar. Orbs are collected by defeating bad guys and destroying chests. These orbs either give you health, magic or experience. After you gain enough experience you can use it to unlock more fighting moves that enhance your combat skills.
Although unoriginal the combat stands out in the game due to its ultra violence. You can finish off baddies in a variety of demeaning and violent ways, from beheadings to limb removal. It certainly earns its 18 tag, but that does not mean that the game is mature. In fact the introduction of topless ladies as bonus treasure chests is unsettling and demeaning. I personally feel that the game is an 18 cert aimed at 12 year olds!
The immaturity of the game is a shame as there is fun to be had here. The fighting elements are repetitive, but fun. The platformer sections also fall into this level of description as they are nothing new, but still good fun. The best elements are probably the old school feel of the boss battles. At the end of each level is a larger enemy who you must figure out and kill. The battle against the dragon is a particularly good one and reminded me of gaming back in the day of the Playstation 2. However, is this all a bit dated for the year 2007? (3 out of 5)
The character and story in 'Conan' is not actually that important and is merely a way of linking together numerous acts of violence. Despite this the characters are not too bad. Conan is traditionally a sexist and that is the case here. The only other character with any depth is A'Kanna the female warrior out for revenge. By having some sort of story it did drive the game forwards, but not much else. (2 out of 5)
It is the lifespan of a game that can determine whether it is a rental or purchase opportunity. With an average gameplay experience and a fun story there needs to lots of these elements to make spending upwards of £50 worthwhile. 'Conan' is certainly not worth this. I was able to complete the game in a weekend making it perfect rental territory. You could argue that I found the game fun enough to complete in 8 hours, and this is true, but I feel that it was not long enough. (2 out of 5)
There is no online aspect of 'Conan' except to compare scores with other people. A co-op game would have worked really well. (1 out of 5)
Some people may call 'Conan' ugly, but I would argue that the graphics are serviceable. When playing the game you do not notice the limited polygons or the ugly character models and can play without care. However, when the close-ups are shown during the cut scenes you do notice that in 2007 these graphics are not really good enough. (2 out of 5)
'Conan' has a series of levels that are designed to allow the player to fight, climb and take on an end of level boss. I felt that the style of level was old school, but that it was done well. Personally, I enjoyed being funnelled into a pack of enemies then having to scale a giant cliff. There is no freedom of movement like in many modern titles and it does suffer from the dreaded invisible barriers. However, despite this they remain fun and the pacing is kept high by forcing you towards the next action. (3 out of 5)
Having secured the voice of 'Hellboy' as Conan you would think that the makers would have hit liquid gold. However, like many film/TV actors who voice characters in computer games Ron Perlman has taken the money and run all the way to the bank. I love him in 'Hellboy', but as Conan he is flat and bored sounding. It really retracts from the game. It is made worse by the fact that Claudia Black as A'Kanna sounds like she is doing a professional job and infusing the narrative with feelings and atmosphere. The rest of the sound is various fight noises and the music is ok. Perlman almost does enough to put you off playing. (2 out of 5)
There is a lot that you can fault about this game, but none can detract from the fact that it is fun to play. The graphics are ugly, Perlman sucks, and it's immature and too short. However, while it does last the game is undeniably fun. The combat and platforming may borrow heavily off 'God of War', but when you are going to copy you may as well copy from the best. There is no comparison overall as 'GoW' is by far the superior game, but as a cheap rental 'Conan' will entertain any lover of old school action platfomers. One last warning before I go, like many older games the end game boss is ridiculously hard - enter at your own risk! (3 out of 5)
Maker: THQ RRP £50
Amazon uk £39.98
Ah the hack and slash genre. Mindless button mashing, teeth grinding fun. Some have been successful, like God of War. Others have come close like Spartan: Total Warrior. And others, well, just suck. *cough* Dynasty Warriors *cough*. Anyways, I havent seen many games like this on the 360, until now. God of War and Spartan, meet your match-Conan! This is a game based on the books by Robert E. Howard. Dont expect to see Arnold Schwarzenegger here, as its not based on the films. I myself havent read the books, so I dont know how many references to the books there are here. But theres one thing I will say-this game is great. Just. Its a great looking, great playing game with tight controls and nice sound. But ultimately, the game is let down by a lack of length, as you could beat this in six hours! Still, if you have £40 and looking for something to keep you busy until something else comes along, this wont do you wrong.
The story follows Conan as he travels to this sea palace to find this treasure. When he thinks hes found it, it turns out its an evil wizard sealed off to stop doing bad things. So, what does the wizard do to thank Conan? Beats him up, takes his armour and uses it to create evil monsters. So now, he tries to find his armour and defeat this evil wizard. He also teams up with a lady called AKanna as she needs help too. Considering this is based on a book, is surprising (and disappointing) how much the plot stays away from the action. There arent too many cutscenes (not just because the game is short) and when there are ones theyre unremarkable. The voice acting doesnt hurt the story, though.
Light attack is mapped to the X button and Heavy attack is mapped to the Y button. You can grab an enemy with the B button and jump with A. You can dodge with the right stick and select powers with the D-Pad. The triggers are used for blocking/parrying and throwing objects. The shoulder buttons are used for activating powers and doing a context sensitive action/grabbing an object. The controls are responsive and easy to learn. I guess you can say its a little similar to God of Wars controls. I know, it sounds ridiculous as they are completely different to each other! But, hear me out guys. Okay, so you do a weak attack with the X button right? Well, on God of War the square button is the weak attack, which is pretty much in the same position as the X button on the 360 controller, in terms of those buttons. Its the same with the heavy attack. Plus, both games make you use the right analog stick to roll. See what I mean?
Conan plays a lot like God of War on the PS2. You fight lots of enemies while solving the occasional puzzles. Youll also fight some huge enemies too, like a giant elephant zombie. You have two attacks, which are light and heavy. Light attacks are quick but weaker, yet heavy attacks are more powerful but are easily interrupted before you can hit them. You can use both these moves in combos, while mixing them up into each other. You can also grapple, where once you grapple you can do other moves like a back breaker, and more. One thing that you will need to do is block. If youre not blocking then you may as well kill yourself. Leaving yourself open means you will probably be interrupted while attack, especially if youre doing heavy attacks. You can also try and do parries. Basically, parries are when you block just as the enemies attack you and then do something brutal back to them, like kick them in the air and stomp their head.
One thing Conan throws lots of at you is moves. There are tons and tons of moves to unlock by earning experience with red orb things. If you earn enough to unlock a move, you can use it after. One thing with the game is that rather than unlocking a move and leaving it to never use it again, you are encouraged to use moves as if you use moves a lot, you master them. Every time you use a move your mastered percentage goes up. Once youve filled it up, youve mastered the move. There are different types of moves. You have your one handed weapon moves, two handed moves and two weapons moves. You can pick up weapons anywhere. Like moves, there are different types of weapons. You can have two one handed weapons, which are small blades like swords and axes. Then you have two handed weapons, which are either heavy blades or huge weapons like giant sticks. Big weapons are obviously more powerful, yet if you have two smaller weapons you attack more. You can also pick up shields to defend yourself even more with. You can gain lots of experience by finding NAKED maidens around the levels.
You can also do magic attacks like God of War. You have four attacks. One of them turns people into stone so you can attack them without them assaulting on you. Its good for big enemies like apes who are hard to attack. Another summons loads of bats to attack enemies nearby quickly. Another opens up a warp hole and sucks nearby enemies into it. Finally, one drops lots of flaming boulders into a short area for a period of time. Aside from the warp hole move, most of these moves rip off God of War. Turning people into stone. Summoning the dead to do your dirty work. Big area moves with an element of life (fire). BY GOD!!! You earn magic by finding blue versions of these orb things. Its worth saving magic for most needed moments, as sometimes I used a magic ability too soon and it could have really helped me get through the level.
The game, like God of War, features a lot of context sensitive actions. There are two types of actions. Theres interactive actions, where theres something like an item or object that can be interacted with. Once you press the button necessary it will either start a Battle Action or just do what you can do, like pick up a weapon or pull a switch. The other is battle actions. If youve played God of War, do you remember those epic battles where at moments you have to press the right buttons to do the right things? Well, there here too. Basically, if you activate the battle action, then a button combination will start. Nail them right, and then youre okay. Miss them, then you have to try again. Theres also moments outside of battles where you have to, say, tap the B button to yank a chain so you can pull a wall down. These are nice fun, but feel like they are a little repetitive.
There are a lot of things you can find in the level. There are lots of treasure chests around the level, which give you experience to buy new moves. Another way to get experience is to find naked women around the level, who are chained to the wall. Its pretty funny at times, but some may take offence to it. There are also a lot of these shapes on the floor around the level. These are Rune Triumvirates. Rune Triumvirates are basically powerups for your health and magic. You need to stab your sword into the ground to activate it. Once you do that, you can follow a path they create to find the other two to increase your health. Its good to find these, as you start with little health at the beginning.
The best parts of the game are definitely the boss battles. The game certainly takes a page from God of Wars book, as some of the boss battles are large. These include a giant Sand Lizard, a huge Elephant Zombie and more. Yet, the game also offers bosses that arent that much bigger than Conan, like a barbarian leader and the evil wizard himself. Unfortunately, the bosses mostly suffer from an iffy pacing. Basically, you can easily deplete all the health from the bosses health, only to have to fight it again because you only just did a bit of damage. The bosses can be hard at times, but the bosses dont really punish you at times. Its also nice to see you use the environment to kill them too, as, for example, once youve weakened the Sand Lizard, you need to interact with the environment to drop a boulder on its head. Overall, the boss fights were really cool and are a joy to play.
Unfortunately, the puzzles are nowhere near as good. These puzzles are small minded, simplistic, mediocre distractions. Mostly, it never gets more complicated than breaking a chain, mashing on the B button to pull the wall down and then going through it, or setting fire to a bush. They are also repeated too much that it makes it nauseating, even though its a little coincidental that a game based on a barbarian who uses more brawn than brain has puzzles that are stupid.
The game is rated 18+, and for a very good reason. Its not just the fact that its so violent, with heads being chopped off, limbs flying and other such gruesome things, but the fact that you find women in levels completely naked, except for their lower parts. Some may like it, some may find it very insulting. Especially since if you save them they basically say lets do it. Its also worth noting that its quite hard so younger people will get frustrated with it. Maybe a 15 year old could get away with playing it, so long as they dont mind lots of violence and sex references. Theres not language here as well.
Graphically, Conan looks great. The best thing about it is the animations. Like God of War, the animation is really fluid and smooth and moves look fantastic. The character models look nice, with good detail, but some more variety would have been really nice. Some of the enemy character models, like the Zombie Elephant and the dirty cave apes look really nice as they bring some character into the game. The environments look nice as well, with some great textures and objects in the background. Theres also a nice draw distance, with little pop up anywhere. Plus, the frame rate runs super smooth, even with limbs flying and the level of detail. Then again, it is a next-gen console game were talking about here. One thing that is annoying is the camera, which is fixed and makes it hard to see enemies in other areas.
Soundwise, the game is also great. The voice acting is appropriately cheesy, though Conan isnt macho enough for me as he sounds cocky, but not enough. One thing I have to complain about is that some of Conans lines are repeated way too much. Crom is waiting does get old after hearing it fifty times! The soundtrack is very good. It has orchestral music, like God of War, and it really does fit the action as it is epic. Like always, dont like the music you can switch on custom soundtracks. The effects are also great too, with blood splashes and other mature effects like that. At least there isnt a sex mini-game like God of War!
-(The Replay Value)-
Sadly, this is where Conan suffers most. The game really doesnt last long. 6 hours of gameplay and you should be done on your first time through. Its not that long, and while there is replayability, a lack of co-op hurts it even more. In terms of what you can do after, there are about 49 achievements in the game. Youll unlock about 20 on your first time through, so theres reason to replay to get the rest. Plus, you may want to play through again for fun. Shame the game doesnt last long. Still, the game was really fun so if you have lots of cash its probably worth buying anyways.
Replay Value- 6
Overall Score- 8.0
-(The Ending Comments)-
Conan certainly wont be the greatest game ever. Most 360 owners will probably ignore this in favour of Halo 3. Idiots. Anyways, this shouldnt be ignored as this is a great game well worth your time. It has the same excellent gameplay from God of War, with a next-gen feel to it. It plays great, though youll love or hate the button mashy gameplay of the game. The graphics are great, thanks to lovely animation and nice character models and environments. And the sound is great too, even if some phrases are repeated a little too often for its own good. Its just a shame its over so soon, as 6 hours later and your done. But, if you have about £40 to spend and need something to entertain you for the weekend this will do you great. And if you loved the films or books and own a 360/PS3 then its worth at least renting to see how close this game stays to the books.
-(The Extra Info)-
This was published by THQ and developed by Nihilistic.
This was released on September 28th, 2007 and is also on the Playstation 3.
Thanks for reading. Stunt 101