Monday, December 22, 2008

Xbox 360 - Rise of the Argonauts

Rise of the Argonauts - Codemasters

This third person shooter tries to be too many different things at once and fails at most of them. But, that doesn't make the game unplayable or unenjoyable. It just makes this game tedious and frustrating at specific times. This game tries to be an RPG, but fails at this. It tries to have multiple quests and fails at that. The only place where this game succeeds is in the story and in the fact that it's a third person shooter.


The story of the Jason and the Argonauts is not new. In fact, it was born out of Greek mythology. So, there's a lot of canon for this game. The story plays like a movie with interaction between certain elements... not very good gameplay, though.

Basically, you play as Jason (King of Iolcus) and you must battle your way across the lands with various helpers (only two at a time). Your helpers include Pan the satyr, Hercules, Argos and various others. Not all of them join your party permanently, but some of them join your party in a permanent way.

Gameplay & Graphics

Here's where the fun begins, or should I say where the fun doesn't begin. Let's start with the graphics. The graphics on this game are really no better than those you would have seen on an Xbox (yes, the old one) or possibly even a Wii. So, don't expect super high res textures or fluid graphics here. The graphic design was somewhat lacking and the final graphics in this game are most definitely sub-par (lots of tearing, slowdowns and glitchy controls). Jason's 3D character handles horribly and gets caught behind every little object (see below). So, be prepared to get frustrated over the controls for Jason. However, I can overlook the graphics if the game works. And, this game does work on many levels, but just not 100%.


The fighting is hard to control and has no targeting system. So, you're just swinging in the breeze hoping it'll strike a blow. The bosses and mini-bosses can be challenging because there's really no clue what to do until you figure it out through trial and error. I'm not a fan of trial and error gaming. Just tell me what to do or make it simple enough to figure it out. The game gets somewhat easier as you progress and gain abilities (as far as fighting opponents).

Health and Magic

There is no health meter and no magic meter. So, when the enemy starts hammering on Jason, you have no idea how far he is from death until you start to see a red halo. The problem with the red halo (and this was also a problem in Turok) is that by the time you see it, you're practically dead. In some cases, the red halo doesn't even appear.. you only hear the 'near death music' and see the screen start to echo. Worse, your health does regenerate, but because there is no health bar, you have no idea how much it has regenerated. So, you end up spending time running around in circles avoiding the enemy trying to regain enough health to keep Jason from dying. Game developers.... PUT A HEALTH BAR ON THESE GAMES WILL YOU ALREADY?!!!

This whole part of this game makes fighting a tedious activity when you're working on bosses or mini-bosses.

Character navigation

The character movements and navigation is, to put it bluntly, horrible. The motions are completely stilted and Jason tends to run into wall edges or other small objects and get stuck. So, you are forever getting stuck and then walking around the object. Bad bad design.

Character design

The 3D characters are made from very low mesh objects. The texture mappings are also quite low res. The best looking character in this game, not surprisingly, is Jason. All of the subordinate characters look quite bad. Hercules looks like some hulk, but not like Hercules. Achilles ended up being an arogant self-righteous annoying character (even if after he becomes part of your party).

The Argo

The Argo is the boat you end up with that takes you sailing to the various places. Unfortunately, it's just another static object. There's no real navigation with the boat. The opportunity here would have been to allow sea warfare on the boat. But alas, it wasn't to be.


The audio to this game works ok, but there are far too many times where voices are cut off in mid-sentence when the screen cuts to a new scene. There were at least two cut-scenes where the volume was so low that turning my TV's volume up 100% just barely allowed me to hear it.

RPG aspects

While it appears they tried to make this game somewhat RPG-ish, they failed. The game has no treasure to speak of and nothing really extra to quest for. While you can level up, you can't really role play.


The game was quite rushed. There were many things that were unfinished. Again, there were two cinematics at the end of the game that were so low volume, you couldn't even hear them. I can't even believe that someone didn't playtest this thing, let alone proof it. Frankly, in the shape that it is presently in, I'm surprised any publisher would touch this release.

The linear aspects (no pun) and the shooter portions of the game makes it not an RPG. If you're really desperate for a new RPG-ish game, then by all means buy it. If you're not thrilled by mashup games that are basically unfinished, then I'd skip it or buy it used when it gets to about $20.

  • Sound: 7/10 (voiceovers are very well done, fluidity sucks)
  • Graphics: 5/10 (lacking, raw, unfinished, low res textures, bad movements)
  • Bugginess: ?/10 (not rated yet)
  • Controls: 7/10 (not outstanding, Jason hard to control at times)
  • Play Value: $20
  • Bang-To-Buck: 1/10 (won't play it through twice)
  • Overall: 6.5/10 (plenty of save points, graphics & controls seriously lack, tedious in parts)

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