Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures

Hands-on: Jon Blyth guts a fox and wears it like a hat

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Age of Conan is unexpectedly beautiful for an MMO - Funcom's DreamWorld engine has seen a fair amount of overhaul since the archaic days of Anarchy Online. Mounted combat - although we weren't allowed to try it - seems like an entertaining addition, presuming it works as well as the demonstration - and the acting and script were all far better than you might expect from certain '80s movies.

Any concerns? Well, the combat is the main focus of any fighting game and that's where my main concern is. Is the directional stuff really about making the game action-packed? Or is it more about the difficulties of squeezing an MMO onto the 360? Will using combos in combat slow you down? Also, the chance for a one-hit decapitations might be graphically appealing, but in PvP we can imagine a fair few all-caps complaints from foul-mouthed teenagers who've had their noggin unfairly lopped off.

Like we said, Age of Conan is a game of compromises, and it'll take a lot longer than two hours in a dark room to work out whether Funcom threw the baby out with the bath water. And a bit longer again to decide whether the replacement baby is worth feeding a monthly subscription.

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