Rise of the Argonauts review

Rise of the Argonauts tells the ancient Greek myth of Jason searching for the Golden Fleece. No, it’s not something to keep him warm he left behind at the pub after a few beers, it’s a magical fleece that’s gone missing and has the ability to bring people back from the dead. Why does he want it? Well, as bad luck would have it, his wife was killed during his wedding so he’s gone on the hunt to get the fleece back and then use it to bring her back from the limbo she’s currently in.

This may look like an action adventure at first glance, but it’s actually an action RPG, so don’t expect fighting styles and cool combos along the lines of God of War. The action here is controlled by a few simple button combinations. There’s a heavy attack, light attack and block, and the ability to use a weapon’s magical abilities with the use of the right trigger. You have a sword, a spear and a mace and you can switch between these mid-combo to add a bit of flair to your slicing and dicing. Combat’s also a little too slow for my liking but I’m sure it will suit some tastes.

On the role-playing side, things are stripped down. This isn’t on a par with Fallout 3 , Fable 2 or even Mass Effect. Most of the abilities you earn happen automatically, but you can choose how to make Jason stronger by applying your deeds and actions to points aligned with the four Greek gods Hermes, Athena, Ares and Apollo. New weapons can also be found with added abilities which you can swap between when at home on your boat, the Argo.

If you like a lot of exposition and dialogue, you’ll be right at home here. The story is very strong indeed and luckily, so is the voice acting. However, most of the game seems to be dialogue. There are also moments during conversations where you can choose what to say. They flow in a similar way to Mass Effect and slightly alter they way the game pans out, but mostly you just go through the motions of hearing what every character has to say. And trust me, they’ve got lots to say.

Of course, it’s not just Jason fighting the good fight against the Black Tongues who killed your wife, there’s also the Argonauts. The big Behemoth Hercules, Son of Zeus is by your side from the beginning but you soon recruit a witch, a Satyr and the daughter of a Centaur. You can choose which of these to take into battle before you leave your boat.

Rise of the Argonauts uses the Unreal engine which has always been silky smooth, however it’s not the case in the Xbox version. Although it doesn’t break the game, it can stutter occasionally and textures sometimes pop about in a distracting way. Thankfully, the scenery is a treat to look at and the character models all have a suitable level of detail.

There are some other minor annoyances, such as not having a mini-map in the corner of the screen. It’s easy to get lost and you always have to go into the menu to view your map and objective locations. It’s also a good idea to switch on your health meter so you know if you’re about to die in battle.

Rise of the Argonauts is about ten hours long and lots of this is listening to dialogue. This could put some people off but for me, it was worth sticking with to see how the well-structured story played out. Unfortunately, it won’t hit the mark for anyone who’s purely a hack ‘n’ slash fan or for in-depth RPGers. If you fall somewhere in the middle and don’t want to be bogged down with stats or need ninja reflexes when fighting, this could be for you. It gets a good 6 out of 10.

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Related: God of War, Fable 2, Rise of the Argonauts review

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