Conan Xbox 360
Published by: THQ
Developed by: Nihilistic Software
Release Date: Out Now
Conan is a hack and slash action game based on the fictional character Conan the Cimmerian (a.k.a. Conan the Barbarian). You’ll play as Conan the Cimmerian who severs limbs from, and decapitates all kinds of enemies. The game begins with Conan raiding a tomb in search of treasure. On finding what he thinks is the treasure; he breaks the guardian statues only to discover that he hasn’t found it. In fact, he’s unleashed an evil sorcerer known as Graven. Conan is knocked unconscious, losing his memory in the process, and has his magical armour taken from him. He awakens to find himself on the beach of an island that’s run by pirates. Before long he’s accompanied by a Warrior Queen who needs Conan’s magical armour to help save her people from a deadly curse.
Conan is a third person action game that’s filled with brutal combat and gushing with man-made blood fountains. It’s quite clear that the developers have been influenced, to a degree, by the God of War games as there are elements here that you’d find in a God of War game such as the way you have to tap a button or move the analogue sticks to open doors and push objects etc. Conan can also pick up many environmental objects to hurl at his opponents. Weapons from slain enemies can be picked up and used (some of which are actually quite large) and you can even dual-wield your swords if you wish.
The combat is all about performing effective combos and knowing how to capitalise on your opponent’s weaknesses. Conan’s fighting style is largely determined by the weapons he’s using. Some enemies are weak to certain weapon types. Conan will eventually locate pieces of his magical armour and when he does he’ll begin to acquire magical abilities which further adds to your combat strategy options. As you play through the game you’ll collect red runes from slain enemies and chests (you are also given red runes for rescuing topless ladies) and these give you points that will enable you to unlock combo moves and techniques. There are quite a few One-handed, Dual-Wield, Two-Handed and General Move techniques to unlock and master. Conan will also be able to level-up when he finds and activates a series of three triumvirate symbols. There are four difficulty levels and the hardest difficulty level, King, isn’t initially available.
From a technical standpoint, the graphics in Conan are a little disappointing. Still, there’s no denying that from a stylistic standpoint, the developers have got the game pretty much spot on. The lands of Hyboria look pretty much how you would expect them to. The character models are a little rough and if you were being really picky you could say that the blood and carnage doesn’t look as good as it should but it’s one of those games that keeps you focused on the action rather than giving you time to admire the visuals. Given the power of the hardware at the developer’s disposal though you do have to wonder how good the game could have looked had it had the same level of graphical excellence as the God of War games.
Conan does have subtitles, although they are disabled by default. The subtitles are displayed using white text and they are placed in darkened dialogue boxes meaning that they are always easy to read. The game isn’t fully subtitled however. The cutscene dialogue and all of the essential in-game dialogue is subtitled but there is dialogue which isn’t subtitled at all. Thankfully the dialogue that isn’t subtitled isn’t of any importance (including the cheesy comments from the topless woman that you rescue). The game’s tutorial messages are all in text and these are displayed in the same manner as the subtitles. The game also displays a fair bit of information via icons. The hand icon indicates that something can be interacted with and you’ll see icons that show a specific button needs to be pressed to interact with items. The back button icon will also appear when you’ve earned enough points to acquire a new ability.
Conan is a solid action game that should appeal to those who like their action games bloody and brutal. It’s a little disappointing that the game doesn’t look better and the storyline isn’t anything that you would class as memorable but the primary focus of the game is the combat and there’s no denying that the combat can be a lot of fun and at times quite intense. Acquiring new abilities throughout the course of the game helps prevent it from becoming too repetitive and I daresay the ability to rescue topless women will definitely add to the game’s charm for some gamers. If you’re desirous of an enjoyable hack and slash action game to play on the Xbox 360, Conan is definitely worth a look.