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blackmanta's picture
Joined: 2007-06-24

Even though it wasn't one of the most hyped games of this year, I was looking forward to this game because of the subject matter and it's presentation. I love Greek mythology. Put anything with it in front of me and I'll wolf it down like a plate of spaghetti at Carabba's. Also I love Ray Harryhausen's films, and his [I]Jason & The Argonauts[/I] is one of my favorites, so anyone else's retelling of it is sure to pique my interest at the very least.

I was intrigued to hear that Liquid Entertainment was making this game. Liquid is a developer whose games I always thought would have been great had they been given more time to make them. [I]Battle Realms [/I]was an interesting RTS based on the seldom-used Asian mythology setting. It had an innovative feature called Unit Alchemy where you would make one unit, send them into another building and get a completely different one. Interesting concept, but it kind of lacked something in the execution. That and one of the factions, the Lotus Clan, was only playable in mutliplay and didn't have their own campaign. Their Lord of the Rings game, [I]War of the Ring[/I], was pretty good, but at times I couldn't shake the feeling that it felt like a WarCraft III mod, and it was later shown-up by EA's own RTS games based on the movies. And their last RTS, [I]Dragonshard[/I], which was based on D&D and its Eberron setting, was also promising with their RTS above-ground and Dungeon-crawling below, but the game suffered from bugs that caused it to crash and again, as with [I]Battle Realms[/I], a whole faction's campaign was scrapped and made only available in multiplayer.

So it was with a little trepidation that I was looking forward to this game. Fortunately, it looks as if they were given proper time to make it the way it was intended. But it still suffers from some design decisions that I think will keep it from becoming a classic.

The game bills itself as an Action-RPG, and it plays like it's the bastard love-child of [I]God of War[/I] and [I]Mass Effect[/I], with combat feeling a little bit like the former and dialogue scenes reminiscent of the latter. It does seem to be a little heavy on the dialogue side of things, but the voice acting is good and since I'm a fan of Greek mythology, it's heroes and the story of Jason, that didn't bother me too much and in fact I enjoyed it.

You only have direct control of Jason, with two other characters that you select from your crew who accompany you whenever you go ashore (again, a la Mass Effect). You don't really level-up per se, but you do have achievements that you can later dedicate to one of four gods in a skill tree system similar to [I]Diablo [/I]that lets you become more proficient with certain weapons - which you have four: a spear, a sword, a mace and a shield. During the course of the game, you will acquire better versions of these weapons as well as armor, so there is a little degree of character customization as well.

The version I bought was the PC version. I've read reviews for the console versions, which report problems like framerate drops, but I didn't encounter that too much on my machine and on the whole it runs smoothly. the control scheme however seems to lend itself more to consoles, but if you have a customizable gaming keyboard like, say, a Zboard, you should be fine. However the interface still feels clunky when it comes to the dialogue options. Each dialgoue choice is associated with a particular god, whose color seems to correspond with one of the four face buttons on the Xbox 360 controller, suggesting the game should be played that way as you only need press the particular button for the dialogue choice you want or use the analog stick. However, using a keyboard, I found I had to select using a combination of the W,S,A, and D keys, which didn't feel very intuitive.

Likewise, in the map screen where you keep track of your quests, I had trouble cycling through the quest descriptions to remember which people I needed to see. I couldn't do it through the WSAD keys like in the dialogue, and it was only later I found I could do it using the arrow keys, but this wasn't explained either in the manual or the contro options screen. So while the PC version may be superior performance-wise, it's still a port of a console game, and it feels it. Still, if you're like me and enjoy Greek mythology and a cool retelling of the story of Jason & The Argonauts, I find this game worthwhile, caveats aside.

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