It's difficult to know where to begin when it comes to picking out the problems with Rise of the Argonauts, so we'll just stick to the major issues. It's quite enough.
First off, the combat is awful. Slow, repetitive and clunky, it isn't in the same league as Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry 4 or even - and we shudder to say this - Too Human. Instead of unleashing devastating combo attacks you're reduced to weakly stabbing at opponents with a spear/sword/mace (that's it) like a petulant child poking a lump of broccoli with his fork. Unsurprisingly then, combat is kept to a minimum here and you actually spend most of your time wandering around barren, linear landscapes having inane chats with legends from Greek mythology.
Conversations themselves are stilted, long-winded and marred by grating American accents. Up close, the abominations you discourse with look like they were made by a six year-old in the character creation mode of Tiger Woods 2002, and facial models are regularly repeated. Hercules in particular amused us, as not only does he look like he's swallowed a barrel, but his face bears an uncanny resemblance to Ben Stiller in Dodgeball.
Perhaps the most irritating aspect of the dialogue, however, is the distance you have to haul your badly-animated ass to get to them. You'll be running through sections of bland scenery for several minutes at a time to get to an event, only to discover that the second half of your fetch-and-carry task requires you to walk back and chat to someone stood at the place you started. It's a cynical way of artificially lengthening the game, and you have to complete these protracted side-quests to gain experience.
If there is one aspect of the game that impresses, it's the way your stats are used to level Jason up. Complete a side-quest, or reach a landmark (like killing 50 enemies) and you'll get event text on your screen - like a mini-Achievement. These events can then be dedicated to the gods in exchange for better skills and powers. Nice idea.
Shame the skill trees and dedication processes are fiddly, and that adding skills apparently has zero effect on the gameplay. Throw in lengthy load-times, animation that judders when you walk, and a wailing soundtrack and you've got one of the Worst Games of 2009. Stick that on the box.
A wretched game that totally fails to compete with other hack-'n'-slashers on 360.
- Awful combat
- Excruciating dialogue
- Bland like dry Weetabix