Review by haitam1

"And just another failure."

Boy, Christopher Paolini must be living the high life right about now. The 23 year-old has already published a book that has been read by millions of people around the world and has been turned into a major motion picture starring perennial Oscar candidates Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich. Fans rejoiced when they heard that Eragon was being turned into a movie, but it was the announcement of the game that got us excited. After hearing people talk about what a great story it was, we couldn't help but look forward to the release. Unfortunately, Eragon is a major disappointment in just about every way. It's one of those games that will only appeal to the hardcore fans of the property, and even they will probably be frustrated by its repetitive, boring gameplay and subpar graphics.

If you're not at all familiar with the story of Eragon, here's a little primer for you. The titular hero is a simple farm boy who finds a mysterious egg in the woods. When it hatches, Eragon is shocked to find that the egg contained a dragon and that he is now forever connected to the hatchling. It turns out that Eragon's destiny is to save the land from an evil king that... you know what, screw this. To be honest, I know very little about the plot (the previous sentences were gleaned from what my friends told me), mainly because the game does a horrible job of explaining exactly what's going on. It's basically just a bunch of action sequences loosely tied together by some poorly constructed cutscenes. If you don't already know what's going on, it's likely that you won't be able to figure it all out on your own. For the sake of this review, let's just say that you have to kill lots of bad guys.

Now, when I say "lots of bad guys," I really mean it. You'll fight wave after wave of the king's evil minions, and while some are definitely tougher than others, it shouldn't take you long to figure out the best way to defeat them. To say that the game is simple is an understatement, and we're guessing that most "hardcore" gamers will be able to make it through without dying more than once or twice. Eragon is extremely linear, too, and you'll feel like the game is leading you along as you progress. Not sure where to go next? Just look for the big magic icon! The game also features an annoyingly static camera that causes problems here and there, particularly when your enemies are charging you from off-screen.

Although Eragon seems like a solid hack 'n slash actioner at first, you'll quickly find that the combat is just a boring, repetitive mess. Basically, all you really need to do is master alternating between light attacks and strong attacks if you want to succeed. You can use this method to pull of some of the basic combos that are introduced at the beginning of the game. We had hoped that we'd be taught more intricate moves as we progressed, but that was about it. You'll probably use the same combos over and over and over again just to get through the levels as quickly as possible. You can also use your trusty bow to take out any enemies that are farther away. It's a solid auto-targeting system, and you never run out of projectiles.

Eragon also has a number of magic spells at his disposal, including the ability to push or pull foes. He's also able to set his enemies on fire, which leads to some unintentionally (we would assume) hilarious consequences. Whenever you set a baddie ablaze, he'll run around until he either falls off a cliff or simply falls to the ground. Obviously the bad guys in this land never learned how to stop, drop, and roll. The biggest problem with the magic is the fact that most of it is used to alter the environment to progress through the level. Alas, you'll never have any problem deciding what to do, as any movable objects are highlighted.

For a game that relies so heavily on dragon themes, we were surprised that Eragon featured very few actual dragons. In many of the levels, you'll be able to call on Sephira to fly in and smash (or in some cases, toast) your enemies. However, like the rest of the magic, it can only be used when the developers see fit. There are also a few flying sequences that waver between being mind-numbingly boring or painfully frustrating. You'll basically spend the whole level flying in a loop, seeing the exact same landmarks and killing the exact same enemies over and over again. If that's not bad enough, you'll be forced to deal with a camera that repeatedly causes you to smash into walls or falling boulders.

From now on, Eragon should be referred to as the poster child for games ported into the next generation. The Xbox 360 version of the game doesn't look much better than the Xbox version (in fact, several people approached my desk and were amazed that it was actually a 360 game), and while some of the environments look decent, nearly all of them suffer from repetitive design. The audio is slightly better, although the score does get a bit tiring after a little while. The voice work is solid throughout, although the villains were a bit on the hammy side.

Unless you're a big fan of the books, there's really not any reason that you should purchase Eragon. The game doesn't feature much in the way of plot exposition (a shame, since I'd heard very good things about the book), and the presentation is just plain awful. I mean, you know it's bad when you are simply told between levels that you've learned new abilities or gained new weapons. Nearly every aspect of Eragon is a disappointment, from its straight-outta-the-current-gen graphics to its poor in-game camera.

Gameplay: 3/10 Really It's no joke.It's the same as the psp the ps2...
Graphics: 2/10 It doesn't show half of the 360's potential.
Sounds: 5/10 Not ad but when flying sounds are weird.
Replayability: 2/10 you must be sick to play a second time.
Overall: 3/10 Very disapointing.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 04/23/07


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