|System: PS3, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nihilistic||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Q1 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by D'Marcus Beatty
Fans of Conan are in for a treat in the coming year. Not only is Conan's era the setting for the MMORPG Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, but Conan will also be the star of a single player action game. This game, entitled simply (and possibly tentatively) Conan, will stay true to the bloodiness of the original comic series, evoking images of God of War. You can never get enough raw, savage, barbarian violence, right?
While in Hyborian Adventures you won't get to play as Conan, this game actually puts you in the shoes (or more specifically, boots made of animal hide) of the barbarian warrior. The story, though largely unrevealed at this point, focuses on Conan before he became king of Aquilonia. Someone has earned Conan's ire through some yet unnamed wrongdoing, and the game will focus on Conan's quest for vengeance.
The game will focus on Conan's unparalleled combat skills in a game that has elements of both God of War and the most recent Ninja Gaiden. The developers have stated that they are focusing on making Conan's move-sets more comparable to that of a good fighting game than a regular third person action hero. To achieve this, the game will make use of different styles that exploit Conan's prowess. Conan will always have a weapon, most likely his faithful sword. He will also be able to use other weapons such as cudgels, spears, staves, and other blades that he comes across in his quest. Every weapon used by an enemy is utilizable by Conan, with a grand total of over twenty weapons. Conan's fighting style will shift depending on his weapon, allowing him to fight with the one-handed weapon style, two-handed weapon style with weapons like a giant axe, or dual wielding two blades. Each of these weapon styles is upgradeable as well, allowing Conan to purchase new moves in each group using experience points that he gains from slain foes. The game will eventually allow the player access to over 100 different moves, which is definitely a lofty aspiration for an action game.
The combat will definitely retain all of the goriness that one would expect from Conan. The combat system is designed to allow for the targeting of specific body parts, which makes it possible for Conan to dismember or behead his unfortunate enemies. The player can even steal the weapons of their foes in combat, switching combat styles instantly. The A.I. in the game will be efficient though, so if the player repeats a certain combo relentlessly, their foes will know when and where to block, forcing the player to vary their attacks.
Conan will also have a number of special abilities that he can use throughout the game. Although most of these haven't been divulged yet, it has been revealed that Conan is able to go into a berserker rage, much like the overly popular Wolverine, and become frenzied, more powerful, and faster for a limited period of time.
The visuals in Conan are looking good, especially at this early stage. The character models are detailed and realistic, but the game still has nearly a year of development time to polish the graphics, so they could evolve even further.
If everything goes according to Nihilistic's plan, Conan could be the God of War for the next-gen. With an extremely violent and mature story set centuries in the past, a deep and complex fighting engine, and tons of weapons, Conan may be the game to watch for while we're all awaiting Kratos' inevitable leap to next-gen. Look for Conan in early 2008.
CCC Co-Site Director