For the first hour or so of playing through Rise of the Argonauts, I couldn’t help but think how uninspired it was. Then it hit me – I was wrong. Argonauts is truly an inspired work; it was clearly inspired by hit titles such as God of War and Rome: Total War.
The only problem is that the developers at Codemasters failed to retain any bit of what made these games enjoyable, and instead gave us a miss-mash of tired clichƒ©s that misses even the fundamental elements of the genres it tries so hard to combine.
Set in ancient Greece, Rise of the Argonauts takes much of its storyline directly from those mythology stories you thought you forgot after you graduated. Players will assume the familiar role of Jason the Greek King, whose wife has been murdered.Like any true mythological king, Jason sets forth for vengeance and kills the assassin and searches for the golden Fleece, believed to harness the power of resurrection and thus the only way to bring his Queen back.
On your quest you’ll recruit your Argonauts and do battle with everything from mortals to mythical creatures and even the gods of Olympus themselves.
Dec. 16, 2008
When you’re basing a game on a widely known series of stories that have been around for centuries; you better be damn sure you’ve got them right. I understand the developers taking a few liberties for the sake of storytelling and pace, but Argonauts seem to get lost in its own story from time to time – taking part of one tale, and adapting it so it fits into Jason’s quest. It may be something that only those truly familiar with the source material may notice, but if you’re going to base your title on something – shouldn’t it be accurate?
Much of your time in Argonauts will be spent conversing with the towns folk and mythical figures you encounter, which is a shame as there isn’t one character you’ll actually enjoy talking to–every line of dialogue reeks of cheese and over the top voice acting. You’ll be able to influence each conversation via a Mass Effect like tree of responses, but more often than not you’ll find yourself painstakingly just hitting the first response to get to the end of the segment. Games heavy with dialogue work well when done right–this is a textbook example of how things can go wrong.
When not listening to mythical figures go on and on about such and such island or whatever they’re blabbing about (I found myself tuning out quite early into most conversations), you’ll be taking part in the combat system–one of the game’s few redeeming qualities. At all times, Jason wields a sword, spear, mace and a heavy duty shield. Each one of these weapons controls the same, and while that may seem dull, it’s a welcome gameplay mechanic as you’re going to need to switch between them very frequently to deal with multiple enemy types.
You’ll need to have a strategy, as the combat is fast paced and responsive (not to mention bloody), but if you get into a rhythm and get too comfortable with the controls, you’ll have visions of Dynasty Warrior like repetitiveness as much of the combat can boil down to simple button mashing combos – a shame when combat is otherwise enjoyable.