Product Type: THQ Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... 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 ... more
Crom of War
Conan (Xbox 360)
Member Name: Stunt 101
Conan (Xbox 360)
Date: 08/10/07, updated on 02/11/07 (761 review reads)
Advantages: Great, mindless fun.
Disadvantages: Too short.
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 havenít 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. Donít expect to see Arnold Schwarzenegger here, as itís not based on the films. I myself havenít read the books, so I donít know how many references to the books there are here. But thereís one thing I will say-this game is great. Just. Itís 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 wonít do you wrong.
The story follows Conan as he travels to this sea palace to find this treasure. When he thinks heís found it, it turns out itís 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 AíKanna 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 arenít too many cutscenes (not just because the game is short) and when there are ones theyíre unremarkable. The voice acting doesnít 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 itís a little similar to God of Warís 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. Itís 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. Youíll 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 youíre not blocking then you may as well kill yourself. Leaving yourself open means you will probably be interrupted while attack, especially if youíre 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 youíve filled it up, youíve 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. Itís 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. Itís 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. Thereís interactive actions, where thereís 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 youíve 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 youíre okay. Miss them, then you have to try again. Thereís 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. Itís 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. Itís 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 Warís 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 arenít 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 bossesí 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 donít really punish you at times. Itís also nice to see you use the environment to kill them too, as, for example, once youíve weakened the Sand Lizard, you need to interact with the environment to drop a boulder on itís 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 itís 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. Itís not just the fact that itís 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 Ďlets do ití. Itís also worth noting that itís 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 donít mind lots of violence and sex references. Thereís 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. Thereís 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 weíre 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 isnít Ďmachoí enough for me as he sounds cocky, but not enough. One thing I have to complain about is that some of Conanís lines are repeated way too much. ĎCrom is waitingí 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, donít 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 isnít a sex mini-game like God of War!
-(The Replay Value)-
Sadly, this is where Conan suffers most. The game really doesnít last long. 6 hours of gameplay and you should be done on your first time through. Itís 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. Youíll unlock about 20 on your first time through, so thereís reason to replay to get the rest. Plus, you may want to play through again for fun. Shame the game doesnít last long. Still, the game was really fun so if you have lots of cash itís probably worth buying anyways.
Replay Value- 6
Overall Score- 8.0
-(The Ending Comments)-
Conan certainly wonít be the greatest game ever. Most 360 owners will probably ignore this in favour of Halo 3. Idiots. Anyways, this shouldnít 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 youíll 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 itís own good. Itís just a shame itís 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 itís 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
Summary: A fun hack and slasher that feels like 'God of War in the next-generation'.
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