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Rise Of The Argonauts (X360)

Rise Of The Argonauts (X360)

Rise Of The Argonauts is a fusion of a role playing and action game based on ancient Greek mythology.  Developer Liquid Entertainment have focused more on a streamlined arcade action viewpoint with this game which may very alienate a portion of the prospective audience.

The title is trimmed in complexity when compared to others of this hybrid genre and the game mechanics are focused on an easily accessible real time combat system. The methodology offers up a simple combat engine with repetition of light and heavy attacks and well as block and dodge moves.
ROTA starts with Jason and his colleagues onboard the ship Argo hunting for the Golden Fleece. This time however the Fleece is to be used to revive his fallen wife Alceme who has been assaulted by an evil and corrupt organisation.  The title is brimming with quality Greek Mythology and I certainly don’t want to ruin it for prospective players by detailing any specifics, but needless to say there are Titans, Centaurs and Minotaurs aplenty.

The dialogue system is nicely handled in the style of Mass Effect which is no bad thing however during every conversation you are presented with options as you debate and discuss with the plethora of NPC’s. It is also refreshing to see that instead of encountering pauses between sections that you are able to choose your next line of dialogue while the NPC is still talking. It creates a much more natural, immersive and realistic environment. These responses are presented in various states of mind (such as anger) so you never really know what Jason is going to say until he says it.


Unfortunately these conversations don’t really affect the outcome of what is going to happen so it feels much less like role play and more just going through the motions. It is very linear in nature and a lot of the conversations just seem to be there as filler more than serving any purpose. When I completed the ten hour adventure, I worked out that around half of the time was listening to dialogue so it is unfortunate that it really does not have any effect on the game direction. On the other hand you can be as big a butthead as you like, knowing that it doesn’t really matter.

Unlike other games in this genre the combat doesn’t earn experience points but you are given a deed system in which completing side quests or missions earns you accomplishments. These are presented in a list and can be dedicated to Apollo, Hermes, Ares or Athena at shrines. Dedicating these deeds and choosing conversation paths earns you favour points which can be used to purchase new abilities. Many of these abilities are passive such as health regeneration and others are active for use on the battlefield, although to stop overuse they are tied into cool down timers.

Combat is not particularly satisfying as all you need to do is press a combination of buttons such as Y,Y,Y or X,X,X to perform combos. Jason’s equipment list can be improved in various ways but even when I put the game on hardest setting it was not much of a challenge. This is mainly because the enemy AI is very poor, almost everyone behaves in the same system. All the guys with shields for example act in a similar manner which means once you crack a way to beat them, it can be applied throughout the game till the end. Even the bosses are not much of a challenge and just require various combo’s to defeat. It really is all about the timing and positioning to progress.

Jason starts off reasonably powerful and improves as you play but it is difficult to measure how he is improving. The title does offer a decent wound mechanic, in that enemies will limp, bleed and crawl when hurt but the combat damage system is all a little vague.

The issues are compounded by the inclusion of friendly NPCs. Famous characters such as Hercules and Achilles join you in battle but you have no control or input over what they are doing. The developers pimped the fact that cooperative game play with the NPC partners would enhance the overall game play but to be honest they all just seem to do what they want with scant regard for what you are doing. It really does end up being more a button masher than anything satisfying.

The interface is minimalistic and immediately it is best to turn on your health bar and god power readout otherwise it is very difficult to work out what is happening in combat. Quite why the decision was made to have them off by default I can’t understand. The lack of minimap is also very frustrating because you need to pause to access goal locations and find out the path you should be taking. A simple in game indicator of some type would have helped the player immensely.

So far I have detailed the repetitive and shallow combat and the somewhat meaningless dialogue but what I find shocking is the less than stellar performance of the engine running on the Xbox 360. There are frame rate issues in larger battles and at times I noticed hitches when panning the camera to various areas of the environments. It isn’t a critical game ruining aspect, but it is unfortunate that a little more optimising and tweaking wasn’t applied to help negate this. To be fair, the environments look pretty and have some great colour depth and when you get to sections like Hermes shrine it is hard not to be impressed with the overall attention to detail. Equally so, the character models are impressively created and textured.

The voice acting is pretty good which is rather important as the developers have incorporated so much into the title. Sadly the content of most of the voice acting is meaningless and rather contrived which means after a few hours it becomes a grating tedious bore to sit through. There are some aspects regarding the debates over the fleece which are interesting to listen to but when you realise that very little of it has any bearing on the game or your direction it is hard to hold interest in ploughing through it all. The soundtrack is impressive and fits the genre and history of such a title and the sound effects are punchy enough to add impact to the combat.

Rise of The Argonauts is a title which deserves some acclaim for trying to break a staid and somewhat overused mould. The storyline and characters will appeal to fans of ancient Greek mythology however unfortunately the implementation in the long term is sadly lacking in execution. The combat system is simplistic and the dialogue is meaningless  and overindulgent. The frame rate issues also do nothing to help the immersion factor. A nice first effort from Liquid Entertainment but hopefully the next attempt addresses the problems.



Too much chatting and not enough action. The combat is also very simplistic and it ends up a button masher.

Nice environments, but the frame rate issues are quite apparent. Lack of optimisation.

Good musical score and voice acting is decent.

Approximately 10 hours of gameplay. That’s all there is to it.
(not an average)

A nice effort, but it fails on too many levels to be worth a purchase.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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