Rise of the Argonauts Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Rise of the Argonauts box art
System: X360, PS3, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Liquid Entertainment 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Codemasters 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Dec. 15, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

That's well and good, and the control setup is intuitive and responsive. When it comes right down to it, though, walking up to an opponent and hammering the buttons works perfectly well. You soon catch on to each enemy style, and aside from some basic strategy and timing (making sure you're only fighting one enemy at once when possible, pushing enemies away or rolling when it gets crowded, avoiding bosses' attacks, etc.), there's not much to it. Even when you run out of life, you don't die right away; if you can avoid taking damage for a little bit, you'll regenerate health. The hacking and slashing is still fun, especially given the generous splashes of blood, but it never feels like you're accomplishing anything.

Rise of the Argonauts screenshot

All these flaws stem from the difficulty of making a good action-RPG, so they're at least understandable, if not forgivable. The additional problems are less so: Argonauts doesn't even get the basics of game design right. One issue the developers should have resolved is that in order to see the map, you have to pause, wait a split-second for the menu to load, and select "Map." Considering you'll be exploring a relatively big world, traveling from one icon on that map to another, you'll be doing this a lot. There should be a mini-map on the screen at all times, or at least one a single button press away.

Also, the pacing is terrible. The game begins with Alceme's murder, and it proceeds to a series of fights that help you get a grip on the controls. From there, though, there's a huge span in which you're doing nothing but walking around and talking to people. In a lot of places, the game feels like long periods of boredom peppered with occasional battles.

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Then there's the awful voice acting that accompanies the hours of conversation. Sometimes the actors have the writers to blame; no one could make the words "That Blacktongue called you Medea. I assume that's your name?" seem unscripted. Yet just as often, they prove able to make the simplest statements sound self-conscious and unnatural. It doesn't help that the character models' faces and lips don't move quite right, either.

Perhaps most noticeable are the constant graphical glitches. The developers used the Unreal Engine 3, which allowed them to create detailed and good-looking environments based on research into Greek history. As soon as you walk through the world and move the camera around, however, you'll experience some serious framerate drops. When you cover a lot of ground quickly, the game will sometimes stop entirely and take a second to load. It's a very distracting problem, and one that should have been fixed.

If there's an upside to this game, it's that despite the shallow combat system, it's rather amusing to spill blood in battle. That's a small upside for a game that costs $60 and demands you sit through hours of talking just to kill stuff.

By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
2.3
Graphics
The environments tend to look good, but the severe framerate issues make this game hard to watch.
4.7
Control
No complaints.
2.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice actors sound cheesy and self-conscious, and you have to listen to them a lot.
3.3
Play Value
It's reasonably fun to hack your way through battles, but the combat system is shallow, and you have to sit through lots of conversation just to get to each fight.
2.7
Overall Rating - Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Become a hero in an epic legend artfully re-imagined.
  • Fight alongside Hercules, Achilles, and other fabled heroes, each with their own extraordinary powers.
  • Breakthrough real-time combat system with dynamic animations and visual damage modeling.
  • Develop and upgrade multiple weapons, specialized killing techniques, finishing moves, and more.
  • Travel to dozens of unique islands filled with richly researched, intricate detailing.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Rise of the Argonauts screenshot - click to enlarge Rise of the Argonauts screenshot - click to enlarge Rise of the Argonauts screenshot - click to enlarge Rise of the Argonauts screenshot - click to enlarge Rise of the Argonauts screenshot - click to enlarge Rise of the Argonauts screenshot - click to enlarge Rise of the Argonauts screenshot - click to enlarge Rise of the Argonauts screenshot - click to enlarge Rise of the Argonauts screenshot - click to enlarge Rise of the Argonauts screenshot - click to enlarge Rise of the Argonauts screenshot - click to enlarge Rise of the Argonauts screenshot - click to enlarge

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