Rise of the Argonauts - Cheat Happens Game Review
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Rise of the Argonauts
PC Games, XBox 360, Playstation 3

Reviewed on: PC

Developer:
Liquid Entertainment
Publisher: Codemasters
Rated: "M" for Mature



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
   
   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
   
     
For the first hour or so of playing through Rise of the Argonauts, I couldn’t help but think how uninspired it was. Then it hit me – I was wrong. Argonauts is truly an inspired work; it was clearly inspired by hit titles such as God of War and Rome: Total War. The only problem is that the developers at Codemasters failed to retain any bit of what made these games enjoyable, and instead gave us a miss-mash of tired clichés that misses even the fundamental elements of the genres it tries so hard to combine.

Set in ancient Greece, Rise of the Argonauts takes much of its storyline directly from those mythology stories you thought you forgot after you graduated. Players will assume the familiar role of Jason the Greek King, whose wife has been murdered. Like any true mythological king, Jason sets forth for vengeance and kills the assassin and searches for the golden Fleece, believed to harness the power of resurrection and thus the only way to bring his Queen back.  On your quest you’ll recruit your Argonauts and do battle with everything from mortals to mythical creatures and even the gods of Olympus themselves.

When you’re basing a game on a widely known series of stories that have been around for centuries; you better be damn sure you’ve got them right. I understand the developers taking a few liberties for the sake of storytelling and pace, but Argonauts seem to get lost in its own story from time to time – taking part of one tale, and adapting it so it fits into Jason’s quest. It may be something that only those truly familiar with the source material may notice, but if you’re going to base your title on something – shouldn’t it be accurate?

"...every line of dialogue reeks of cheese and over the top voice acting."

Much of your time in Argonauts will be spent conversing with the towns folk and mythical figures you encounter, a shame as there isn’t one character you’ll actually enjoy talking to – every line of dialogue reeks of cheese and over the top voice acting. You’ll be able to influence each conversation via a Mass Effect like tree of responses, but more often than not you’ll find yourself painstakingly just hitting the first response to get to the end of the segment. Games heavy with dialogue work well when done right – this is a textbook example of how things can go wrong.

 
   

When not listening to mythical figures go on and on about such and such island or whatever they’re blabbing about (I found myself tuning out quite early into most conversations), you’ll be taking part in the combat system – one of the game’s few redeeming qualities. At all times, Jason wields a sword, spear, mace and a heavy duty shield. Each one of these weapons controls the same, and while that may seem dull, it’s a welcome gameplay mechanic as you’re going to need to switch between them very frequently to deal with multiple enemy types. You’ll need to have a strategy, as the combat is fast paced, and responsive (not to mention bloody), but if you get into a rhythm and get too comfortable with the controls, you’ll have visions of Dynasty Warrior like repetitiveness as much of the combat can boil down to simple button mashing combos – a shame when combat is otherwise enjoyable.

The combat being fast isn’t always a good thing. You see, by default there’s no HUD display, and you’re supposed to look for visual cues as to Jason’s health like his clothing being torn, looking weaker and tired. Easier said than done,  it’s hard to look for these small visual aspects when you’re surrounded by an angry crowd of enemies and you’re busy pulling off combo after combo. When you do get low on health, you don’t die (you ARE Jason, Greek king after all), the screen goes blurry ala Gears of War and you enter an “altered state of being” where the screen goes blurry and you have ten seconds to run around frantically and not get hit by any more enemies. Yeah, really.

"Jason and his Argonauts are able to level up their weapons and abilities..."

 
   

Jason and his Argonauts are able to level up their weapons and abilities by gaining favor with the Gods. Each deity has a skill tree with more than twenty unlockable upgrades. To gain "points" to use in this system, you must dedicate achievements to whatever God’s skill tree you’re looking to upgrade on. The amount of skill points you get to upgrade your skills is proportionate to the size of the deed you do in the God’s name. For example, doing small tasks around a town will net you less than defeating a large number of enemies in battle. You can also earn favor by choosing dialogue choices that make said God happy, but again – you’ll tune yourself out of most conversations and more than likely avoid this option.

Aesthetically, Argonauts is far from God like – in fact, it would better be described as a peasant. While some of the facial animations are quite good, the rest of the visuals rival that of a latter generation Xbox or PS2 game. More often than not, environments look like flat jumbles of color rather than anything noticeable – a huge letdown when you think of the imagination that could have gone into areas like Mount Olympus or each God’s respective island. Frame rate and clipping issues, mixed with a few absurdly funny animations (stairs seem to be a problem for Greek Kings) will have you cringing more often than not.

Fans of Greek mythology may get a kick out of Rise of the Argonauts, but will be turned off once they see the amount of liberties taken with the title’s story. Most other gamers won’t find much to enjoy here either, as the dialogue, which takes up the majority of the game is painfully boring and unimportant, and though the combat is decent – there’s just not enough it. If you’re looking for a game dealing with Greek mythology – do yourself a favor and stick to God of War.

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Unlock all Aspect Power, Unlimited Health, Super Damage, Teleport

One of the only redeeming qualities of Rise of The Argonauts is the game’s fast, and surprisingly deep combat system. This system really gets satisfying when you unlock some of the abilities and powers found later in the game, which can be quite difficult as you’ll have to do enough deeds in the name of each god to unlock them. Using the “unlock all” cheat makes things incredibly easier and it’s quite fun to use these massive abilities on the game’s smaller enemies.

The boss battles, especially those in the game’s third act, can be quite tough. A great strategy is using the super damage cheat, with the all powers. This way, most of these bosses can be easily dealt with in one or two blows.

Rise of the Argonauts is a lackluster game made better by its cheats, plain and simple. It’s fun to experiment with maxing out each character and weapon and seeing which style you’re more comfortable with and which you enjoy.


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