Conan Xbox Official Website
by TDK Mediactive
Developed by Cauldron
Released - Out Now
Price : £29.99
Only a few weeks ago we looked at Conan for PC and all things considered it was an enjoyable game. Now here we have the Xbox version and it's fair to say that the game feels more natural on the Xbox. Of course you could configure the PC version to use a gamepad but PC gamepads are inferior to the console controllers and the Xbox Controller S feels a lot better than any PC gamepad or the default keyboard and mouse combination. Feature wise though the game is exactly the same apart from the in built Xbox Live support.
Those in the know will be aware of the fact that the Conan phenomenon began long before the Conan the Barbarian movie, which starred a young Arnold Schwarzenegger. Conan the Barbarian was the creation of Robert E. Howard and was a hero like no other. Conan was savage-like yet, at the same time, was a man of honour as well as being a phenomenal warrior. Conan was known as the 'greatest hero of the Hyborian age'. Conan the game is based on Howard's books and not the Schwarzenegger movie.
The game is a tale of revenge for Conan. Conan returns to Cimmeria to find it burnt to the ground. He finds only an old man alive, but nevertheless does not have long to live because of the injuries he has sustained, who informs him of who has carried out the atrocity. Those responsible are known as the Vulture Cult and Conan swears to avenge his slaughtered friends by putting an end to their existence. On his quest for revenge, which takes him across 5 expansive regions of Hyboria, Conan will encounter many enemies, some of whom are powerful mystical creatures, who will test his fighting skills to the full. Conan will also have to retrieve the pieces of the Atlantean Sword if he is to have a chance of defeating the evil Vulture Cult.
Conan is a combat heavy action RPG that will appeal to fans of action games more than it will to RPG enthusiasts. Conan earns experience points during his battles and these experience points can be used to develop Conan's skills and abilities. Every aspect of Conan's combat technique ranging from a basic swing to a whirlwind kick can be developed. This is actually very impressive and certainly has to be one of the most impressive combat development systems yet seen in a game. Through the course of the game Conan will have access to 16 weapons, although to begin with he'll only have the Father's Sword. Later he'll acquire a variety of swords, maces and axes. Again the amount of weapons on offer is impressive and it certainly takes the hack 'n' slash elements to the next level especially as there are around 50 different combo moves.
Whilst online gaming support was added via a patch in the PC version, the feature comes as standard in the Xbox version. Of course the Xbox version has the advantage of being able to utilise the Xbox Live system which makes setting up games as easy as it could be. The usual Xbox Live options are on offer, Quick Match, OptiMatch and Create game. You'll be able to take part in a Deathmatch, Body Count or Time Challenge. Body Count is essentially a fight 'till you drop mode and Time Challenges that gives you 60 seconds to score as many points through combat as you can. You can also play multiplayer games either on the same console or in a system link configuration so you don't have to have Xbox Live to fully enjoy a battle against human competition.
Graphically the Xbox version compares very favourably to the PC version of the game. In fact for a PC game it looked a little too angular and you could still level the same accusation at the Xbox version. It's not as impressive as some Xbox games I've seen but it's certainly good enough. You will find a few clipping problems, particularly when using the first person view (white button) but these don't spoil anything. Camera control is automatic but you can manipulate it yourself with the right analogue stick. There are times where you don't have the ability to move the camera, and you are notified of this by an icon in the top right of the screen, but this never causes any problems.
What you can't fault the game for though is the quality of the subtitling which is as exceptional on the Xbox version as it was on the PC version. Even on the introduction to the game (something that is almost always forgotten by the developers) subtitles can be seen so you can enjoy the game from the very beginning. The subtitles, which are an option, were on by default too which again is great to see. The game manual is also useful even though only around 20 pages are in English. The manual covers the various weapons, the skills and abilities, outlines the default controls and even throws in some background on Conan.
Whilst the Xbox version is practically identical to the PC version of Conan, the controls feel more comfortable and it's easier to enjoy the multiplayer options in the game. Conan feels more like a console action/RPG and compares favourably to other games in that genre on Xbox. I was also very pleased to see the game listed at only £29.99 which represents great value for money especially when you consider that the game is Xbox Live compatible too. Conan fans are sure to be pleased with this game that's been based on the fabled character.
Game Rating: 8.0/10
Feels more comfortable on the Xbox and with the addition of Xbox Live support, it has the edge on the PC version.
The subtitling is as good on the Xbox version as it was on the PC version.