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Home > Review Archive > Video Games > Results: Eragon

Eragon
by Michael Anderson
January 02, 2007

Good book, bad movie, mediocre console game ナ just saving the best for handhelds?

Reviewed for DS, GBA.

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Scroll down for our Kid Factor.

GamerDad Seal Of Approval - 10+.  Click to learn more about our review seal. What GamerDad says about the ESRB Content Descriptors:
Violence: GamerDad saw abstracted killing in the turn-based GBA game, mildly visceral action on the DS.


The story of the writing of the Eragon book series is arguably more interesting than the books themselves for anyone out of their teens. The recently released movie is widely regarded as having taken an already weak and derivative story and removed all of the positive qualities the prose version ヨ yet enough of the ムStar Wars meets Lord of the Rings' themes remain to make it interesting for younger kids who love the book. Not surprisingly, the movie was made into a video game available for pretty much every platform, and not surprising the console versions are not very good.

Quite surprisingly the DS and GBA versions are different from the console versions, different from each other, based more on the book than the movie, and quite good. The DS version is an action game where you play the titular Eragonas he works his way from farmboy to dragonrider, uncovering his destiny and hoping to save the world from the evil Galbatorix. While the book and movie see Eragontraveling with comrades, in this game you must tackle challenges all alone ヨ with occasional help from your dragon Saphira. The controls work pretty well and the touch-screen is put to generally good use for things such as casting spells and communicating with Saphira. There are occasional puzzles that require the touch-screen, but the majority of the game is strictly fast-paced action. There are some quirks, frustrations and slowdowns, but overall it is a decently well done and fun game.



The GBA version is a more open role-playing game featuring turn-based combat and a full party of characters. The story follows the book more closely than any of the other versions, but at the same time the game provides a huge and open world full of quests and combat and opportunities to learn crafting skills. The combat system is robust and innovative for a licensed game ヨ the turn-based system is augmented with a multiple-hit combo system that can deal massive damage if certain attacks are chained together in a particular order. The game eschews the typical ムsleep at the inn & stock up on potions' traditions ヨ almost everything related to healing you need to make yourself, and you are given only occasional opportunity to rest and craft new weapons and potions. You get the raw materials from battling enemies, which also provides you with the experience points needed to level-up your characters. You can gain tons of levels throughout the game, allowing you to broadly develop your characters. But the GBA version is also something of a ムhardcore' game ヨ there is no quest log, and you don't find out until too late that you can't go back to areas you previously explored to complete quests later in the game. But if you are dedicated to some fun combat and developing a powerhouse character, you have many hours of Eragonahead of you ... regardless of your opinion of the movie or books.


Click to learn more about GamerDad's Kid Factor review section. For elementary school kids, Christopher Paolini's Eragonseries is a coming of age story that has captured their imagination. The themes of struggle and loyalty and reluctance to let go of things you love are all played out very well in the way the game represents the story. The level of violence in either version of the game is significantly lower than then PG-rated movie. Enemies are battled without blood and fall without gore ヨ only the near-constant combat in both versions might be of any issue, as it is the core means for advancing through the game.

Which version to buy?
GBA: clearly the better version, but suited more to those who love grinding through turn-based battles.
DS: cool graphics and nice action make this a great choice despite more flaws than the GBA version.
Note: my brief experience on the console version of Eragon combined with the additional ESRB descriptors makes me limit the review to only the GBA and DS versions. There is clearly more intense content that has earned the game a T rating for the PC and consoles, but it is unclear how that would impact the GamerDad Seal.


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Home > Review Archive > Video Games > Results: Eragon
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Game Info:
Platform(s):
DS, GBA

ESRB rating:
E10+ - Age 10 & Up

Violence

Score:






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