Conan Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by Chris Wigham  
Filed under Reviews, Xbox 360

As this is the Xbox 360 version of Conan that we tested, obviously it comes included with an achievements list. Take a look at this achievement list and you’ll realise that may of them involve you having to do nasty things to your enemies. Now whoever said you got points for killing enemies in the most gruesome way imaginable in regards to Rockstar’s Manhunt may have been wrong, but they certainly would have been correct if they had said the same for the gore bath that is THQ’s Conan. Chop a number of limbs off for example and you get an achievement. Lovely.

As you might have already gathered, Conan is a barbarian and is a vicious chap who likes making bad people spring a leak or two, not the kind of leaks that can be stopped with plugging your finger in the holes of course or even the sort that a plumber could sort out, but the kind that means a nasty death. The blood can actually be turned off if you are the squeamish type, but the removal of body parts and rivers of red was certain to be a selling point for those people who yearn for the return of the bloody days of gladiatorial combat (perhaps some of these people haven’t discovered boxing yet). Expect the removal of intestines (you’ll never look at a sausage the same way again), the hacking off of limbs and enough beheadings to make all those decapitation executions of the old days seem rather rare.

Anyway there’s much more to Conan then simply chopping limbs off, well perhaps the “much” part is a little bit of an exaggeration, but what we mean is that it’s a great game that hasn’t just been made with brutality in mind. If we were to describe Conan in a nutshell, we would say it was a lot like Sony’s God of War series on the PS2, although with a long haired barbarian instead of a bald angry man. Good inspiration then, although is it a worthy try at going toe-to-toe with one of the finest action games? Or perhaps Conan even beats the God of War at his own game? Questions need answers, but we’re not answering yet..

Conan certainly isn’t a man that attempts to reason with his enemies, so we wouldn’t want a combat system that involved non-lethal force. What you do get is a deep combo-filled game, and as we all demand such things from our games, there should be no desire to complain about the lack of depth in Conan. Anyway, there’s a swift attack button and a more sluggish and powerful one, action fans will know exactly where we are heading with this one, yes indeed you can mix your attacks up and different attacks serve you well in different situations. The Barbarian can also parry intended enemy attacks and then follow up with a sword flail of his own, pull enemy arrows out of his body (we’re sure it’s not quite as bad as trying to personally extract one of your own teeth), dual wield weapons, and toss objects towards his deserving foes, as well as all the other bloody and courageous things that you would expect from a tall muscular barbarian, at least the one that isn’t dressing up for a costume party anyway.

Like his other action buddies Conan earns upgrades and becomes stronger through his success. You are rewarded with red runes by killing enemies, by rescuing chained-up maidens (completely naked from head to midriff if polygonal flesh, fake breasts and sexist games are your thing) and by seeking out boxes. The more you use a certain move or combo the closer you will get to mastering it, and from then on you are rewarded with bonus health and upgrade runes each time you kill an enemy with it. A nice reward that.

Magic is almost obligatory in a game such as Conan, thus it’s with little surprise that magical attacks are drip fed to you throughout the course of the barbarians adventure. It’s all about rediscovering Conan’s lost armour, and with each new find Conan will then have a flashy new magical attack to flaunt in front of all his grateful maidens and of course to kill his enemies with.

There’s little other than the combat to keep you busy with puzzles being close to non-existent, although admittedly Conan does look like the kind of guy that is much more about brawn opposed to brains. Epic Boss battles do give you a break from time to time and are frequently huge in size, although there’s only really the odd one that will live on in our memory.

Graphically the game could be called disappointing. Conan himself does look pretty good, although he does have a rather plastic look, whilst the lighting is pretty impressive. Still, we’d expect more from a game that is exclusive to two of the most uber powered consoles on the market right now. As for sound, well the voice acting is laughably bad whilst the orchestral music is frequently superb.

There may be superior action titles on the market, although Conan is still very much worthy of the attention of any action fan or those who sadistically enjoy dicing limbs off. It’s a bloody, sexist and very playable game, but whilst Conan should flatter Sony, it’s not exactly up to the standards of the God of War series.

Now please excuse us, we’re certain that more damsels in distress are wanting their dignity back.

8/10

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