|Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (PC)|
|Publisher: Funcom / Eidos Interactive||Developer: Funcom|
|Genre: Persistent Online Action RPG||Release Date: 05/20/2008|
|ESRB: Mature|| More Info on this Game
By Allen 'Delsyn' Rausch |
May 30, 2008
Like the universe it simulates, Funcom's Conan-themed MMO is a bit rough and unpolished but still contains some brutally awesome fun.
|Well-realized game setting; combat system; great PvP; fun introductory levels; interesting classes.||High system specs; lack of lower-level PvP content; broken high-level PvE content; clunky UI; tedious crafting.|
Jewel of the Baruchan
Age of Conan takes place during the period of Hyborian history during which Conan is King of Aquilonia. A fragile peace brokered between the hostile nations that surround Conan's adopted homeland has begun to break down and threats are encroaching on the land from all direction. Into this volatile situation comes the player, a slave on a Stygian galley ship branded with a mysterious mark. When the ship is destroyed and the player washes up on the beaches of Tortage with no memory of their former lives, an epic odyssey to discover who they were, what the mark on their chest means and who's behind this new threat to King Conan's world begins.
If there's one aspect that Age of Conan absolutely nails, it's the graphic representation of Conan's world. Age of Conan is a beautiful game, filled with extraordinary landscapes ranging from the harsh sands of Stygia to the broken terrain of Zelata to the frozen wastelands of Cimmeria. Every place filled with treats for the eye ranging from large effects like the beautiful sunsets of Khopshef to subtle details (like the fly-covered "road apples" in Tarantia). In the jungles of Baruchan, for example, players must fight their way through a tangled maze of vegetation inhabited by animal poachers, gorillas and Pict Tribesmen. While it's never really brought out via quest dialogue, elements in the environment -- sprung traps, gorilla corpses in nets, trappers who have been used as target practice by the Picts -- tells players all they need to know about the struggle going on outside of the city of Tortage.
The game's avatar creation system is equally impressive. Age of Conan lets players choose everything from the size of their derrière to how big their chest is to the angle of their eyebrows. It's not quite the classic City of Heroes/City of Villains system in terms of variety, but it's actually superior when considering how many subtle variables players can control and how good the resulting avatars look. Players can even pick scars and/or tattoos that indicate their character had some kind of life before the game begins. Of course all this graphical beauty comes at a price -- high system specs. Even on our gaming systems using an Nvidia GeForce 8800 we experienced some slight frame-rate slowdown and had to turn off a few of the graphic bells and whistles. Owners of older systems may be looking at the need for a complete upgrade.
There Will Be Blood
The major element that makes Age of Conan stand out from its competitors is its delightfully bloody combat system. There's no watching the status bar, clicking auto-attack or spamming special abilities. Combat in Age of Conan is more akin to an action game. Players control the direction of their attacks via the "1", "2" and "3" keys (and later get two more directions attached to "Q" and "E"). They also develop "combos" that do extra damage, place status effects, trigger some funky powers or provide the occasional insta-kill fatality. Players can protect themselves by using three "Shields" that can be rotated via some finger-twisting use of the "Control" key or slaved to other hot keys. Spellcasters aren't left out the fun either as they develop a similar "spellweaving" system that can drastically enhance the power of their magic at the cost of an occasional deadly backfire.
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