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Eragon - Review

by Steven Williamson on 19 December 2006, 08:50

Tags: Vivendi Game Eragon for Xbox 360, Vivendi Universal Interactive (NYSE:VIV), Action/Adventure

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It's about Dragons...

Eragon hit the big screen on December 14th and tells the tale of a 15 year old farm boy who grows up in a fantasy world of dragons and magic. After discovering a blue egg that hatches to reveal a small dragon, Eragon becomes an esteemed 'dragon rider' and names his new fire-breathing pet Saphira.

The videogame, which has been released to coincide with the film in Europe, combines the main ingredients from the original book and subsequently the new 20th Century Fox adventure tale. Eragon involves more sword fighting than an episode of Zorro, chucks in some Robin Hood-style bow and arrow action to get those juices flowing and then blends it with a magical mixture of spells and, of course, fire-breathing dragons. Along the journey you'll encounter a sprinkling of puzzles as you embark on a treacherous adventure through forest, docks, villages and mountain-tops in order to fulfil your destiny.

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The Eragon universe has been extremely well replicated in the videogame and Fox's influence is clear to see in the decent production values and movie style direction in the cut-scenes. The gameplay elements are bolstered with a decent storyline told through a number of well-designed and polished scenes, but despite these scenes,the nice looking environments and some occasionally entertaining fight sequences, Eragon's initial charm wears off quickly due to a lack of depth and substance in the core gameplay.

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Eragon's main problem lies with the fact that is far too linear, meaning that you won't be able to jump on your dragon and take a ride over the villages and mountains that litter the landscapes, but instead you'll be practically dragged through levels with only one possible way to go. This is made more frustrating by the fact that the challenges you face on the adventure repeat themselves over and over again and, despite Eragon promising plenty in the early stages, it falls short of delivering an engaging experience.

Despite the main character, Eragon, being given the opportunity to test out a mixture of hand to hand combat, magic and bow skills, Eragon basically boils down to relentless fight sequences and no sooner have you took out a dozen enemies another throng descends on you for more of the same. The gap between the fighting sequences is so short that you'll barely move 100 yards before being attacked again by another deluge of enemies and therefore the game doesn't flow but stops and starts just when you think things might get interesting.

The fight sequences and the animation of your own character and the enemies can be entertaining in the larger battles, but slicing through these foes often only requires the pressing of two buttons and the reward for the button bashing work is little more than progressing to next fight.