Available for: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
The first question that came to mind upon receiving this game was, “Did Conan really need to be revived?” To me, the guy always seemed liked a second-stringer. None of my friends ever discussed any sort of “greatness” about the character, or how badass he actually was or wasn’t. He always was just sort of “there.” Kind of like how McDonald’s is always just sort of “there.” You can take it or leave it. There’s nothing ultimately satisfying about it, but as a last resort it can serve a purpose. So therefore we could speculate that Conan and chicken McNuggets could team up, and make a less-than-dynamic duo, yet still get some work done by the end of the day.
Or something like that. Apparently THQ wanted to rip off the “God of War” franchise completely and bring it to the Xbox 360. Every last little bit of “Conan” is taken from the much superior “God of War” idea book. Muscle-bound dude who likes to kill bad guys willy-nilly? Check. Lots of topless women throwing themselves at our hero when he saves them? Check. Action sequences that require the player to hit certain buttons when they flash on the screen? You betcha. Upgrades to attacks and combos? We’ve got that, too. Button mashing mediocrity? Oh yeah, truckloads of that for “Conan.”
In fact, it’s hard to find something that “Conan” didn’t steal from “God of War.” Oh wait, there is one thing. The fun. “Conan” is about as plain vanilla a button-masher of a game as you could hope to find. Whereas “God of War” looked and played brilliantly, and included some absolutely infuriating puzzle/skill elements from time to time and terrific boss battles, “Conan” instead prefers to dumb everything down. Way down. Sure, Conan can upgrade his skills and all that nonsense, but it really makes no difference at all. Players will often just find themselves mashing the X or Y buttons to get most of the work done through this thankfully short adventure. Oft-times the upgrades won’t even really work too well, as the enemies often come in for the kill faster than Conan can pull off the moves.
But that same A.I. is completely stupid as well. Many times, Conan can walk up to a baddie who just stands there navel-gazing and begin hacking away. Hooray for lazy programming. Also, Conan has a small arsenal of elemental magic attacks that may or may not be effective, depending on, well, just about everything lining up just so. Chances are you’ll be far too bored to even care to use the damn things after slicing and dicing through the billionth enemy running around in circles.
“Conan” is also a mess graphically. Some of the textures are nice, but seriously, this isn’t anything that both of the “God of War” games didn’t do 10 times better, and they were made on an older machine. Too often, the game will slow down and chug as Conan goes into one of his killing frenzies. I’m not sure if this is intentional or not, but it feels and plays so completely lousy that I’m guessing it wasn’t. And the voice acting is just as bad, too. If I had to hear Conan mention some dude named Crom one more time during his frequent outbursts, I would have happily ripped the disc from the console and stomped on it.
“Conan” is not an example of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. Instead, it comes off as lazy and uninspired. Nothing about it is fun. The boss battles make for a welcome break from the monotony every now and then, but even they become predictable and dull after a fashion. There are better hack and slash games for the 360 out there (even the somewhat poorly received “Ninety-Nine Nights” absolutely trumps this game). If you want some easy Achievements, give this one a quick rental. But other than that, just forget all about “Conan,” as you probably have many times before.