Naked titties. That’s probably the thing you’ll notice most after having kicked ass in the world of Conan the Barbarian for a dozen minutes or so. Freeing your first naked woman after all will give you your first ten point achievement and then the little tramp will bounce her titties and give you some excited line. Does this remind you of God of War? Us too and the rest of the game won’t be able to ban this idea from your mind for more than five minutes.
Conan, an action-adventure filled with combos, more blood and ripped limbs than F.E.A.R. and the necessary bosses to give it an epic feeling, is nothing more or less than a rip-off of the Sony topgame, but done with a little less panache, talent and conviction. But that in no way means there’s less bashing fun!
Bashing fun that by the way is delivered on your screen in an adult way, equally over-the-top and added with all the love from the comics by Robert E. Howard. For sissies this is not! Hair sharp and rock hard moves let you enjoy chopped off heads in slow-motion (with accompanying fountains of blood), bodies cut in two, burning lions, flying arms and ex-testosteron bombs crying out for mama.
Fighting is fun in Conan. You can choose to brawl with your fists, handle two swords at the same time or opt for one and combine that with a shield. Enemies attack faster or know how to better hold their ground depending on your style of fighting and each style has its own moves, blocks and parry’s. These latter a truly fat so that you can drill scum into the ground in a very satisfying way or get rid of unnecessary body parts. Again, those that have played God of War know what to expect. There’s also some magic present, of course, and those that fight well get more powerul thanks to the “singing” of your weapons.
We’re obliged to compare and then we notice that the engine reacts just that little bit slower than we would like and the controls could be a tad tighter. This never bothers though, but expect a somewhat looser feeling than with Kratos, and especially when comparing with Ninja Gaiden.
“Being cinematic” was clearly one of the goals and this gets accomplished by amusing and long boss fights and a royal use of the so-called QTE’s. With parry’s, with boss fights, when opening doors or pushing over pilars, or solving one of the simple puzzles: pushing the right buttons you will! This isn’t a problem, on the contrary as it perfectly breaks the sometimes monotonous, regular fight scenes.
Graphically, and also when it comes to voices and music, it’s hard to draw a line in the game. The models sometimes look fun and dynamic, but in some cut-scenes you get to see some awful textures or those typically unreal looking faces. Also the surroundings are sometimes good, and then they’re not, with some very beautiful architectural elements, but then there’s the water that looks worse than Roseanne after a night out. The voice-over does its job well but the others are delivered a lot less with often cheesy or even plain bad performances. Also the story is told with heighs and lows. While some parts combine good artwork and findings, seconds later you’ll have the impression that things don’t really fit together and that entire parts have just been cut out.
Conan is in the end a quite enjoyable game. God of War was clearly the saving source of inspiration, but this is also what makes the devs look like they failed: after all they don’t manage to equal their big example, let alone bring it to a next-gen level.
Those looking for fun and “adult” action, when it comes to presentation at least, the necessary bloody fighting and more of what God of War had to offer should certainly get this title. The rest better just take out the good’old PS2 for the real deal with Kratos!