2008 Reviews

Rise of the Argonauts

  • Review Date: 2012-02
  • Release Date: 2008-12
  • Developer: Liquid Entertainment
  • Rating: 5.5

Liquid Entertainment is an unknown video game developer to me. Their previous game was Desperate Housewives: The Game, which says it all really. Their only other game since ROTA (Rise of the Argonauts) is Thor in 2011, which was completely rubbished. Now they seem to be focusing on mobile games. So, you could be forgiven for going in with quite low expectations for ROTA.

However, it's actually not that bad at all. I'll try to keep this review short, because my playing was a little corrupted and I didn't really get to experience this game as I should. ROTA is a console-focused game, so checkpoints are everywhere, slow combat, poor menu options, but worst of all, a keyboard configuration you can't change. At All. Do Liquid Entertainment even play games on the PC? They sure as hell didn't seem to care that not every keyboard in the world is qwerty. How can you possibly release a PC game where you can't change the keys at all. For most players that use WASD, this might not be an issue. For me, it's a big issue. I'm used to a unique configuration and I'm not re-learning WASD after fifteen years of my current configuration. Yes, it's caught me out a few times before, but even in most Unreal Engine 3.0 games I can usually find the correct .ini files to manually change the keys to what I want. Not so with ROTA, for the life of me nothing in the .ini config files would make an ounce of difference in-game. So, I was forced to use GlovePie, a keyboard re-mapping program. But it still made the game buggy as hell - everytime I tried to move forward or backwards while a weapon was out my character would just swing his damn weapon instead of moving forwards or backwards. Trying to retreat to turn around and attack full on just resulted in the character (Jason) waving his sword while the enemy stabs me in the back. Now, this probably wasn't ROTA's fault, it was more likely to be the dodgy GlovePie program. But because the key config was so messy now, with some keys re-mapped in GlovePie and some not, there were a number of things I could use throughout the game. The 'god powers' which I upgraded throughout the game didnt' seem to work at all. I pressed every key on the keyboard and nothing worked, so shit knows what happened to them.

So this is what I mean about not experiencing the game like it was intended. Partly Liquid's fault for being ignorant console lovers. But it means it's hard to comment on the combat so much. What I do know is that most of the time I was able to just get near the enemies and mash the attack key over and over. Jason will turn to face the next enemy automatically, all the while I watch TV on the other side of the room. That's how stupidly simple it can be at times. It's really only the boss fights that gave me trouble, some of which are easy but others probably only became a challenge because I couldn't move properly. Jason only pulls his weapons out when there are enemy battles, and these only happen in groups every ten minutes. It's not constant fighting.

Mixed in between the walking and combat is conversation. Whoever wrote this script needs to be given a radio talk show so they can run their mouth all day long instead of boring me to death with hour and hours of mindless chatter in ROTA. It just goes on and on. I listened to most of the main conversations, certainly not sidequests, but probably 4-5 hours of this game is sitting through all the talk. Then you have another, roughly, five hours of actual gameplay. You can of course skip over the talking, but you'll completely miss out on the story if you do that. Which is a shame as the story is pretty good in ROTA, following King Jason as he tries to find the Golden Fleece to save his wife. There's lots of great characters you can take on your journey and a few different islands you explore. I just wish they condensed the chatter some.

That's not all - I've got more to complain about. The damn game crashed about a dozen times, half of which were while alt-tabbing. The final boss fight crashed just as I won, meaning I had to play over again. There's one section where you have a debate and have to choose the right answers during it. Four times it crashed as I tried to select answers - which if I wasn't skipping through the conversation would likely have been a twenty minute segment. There were also a few times where Jason's movement would go haywire and the mouse sensitivity would screw up. So it's a slightly buggy game.

So why bother reviewing this game if it's so bad? Well, actually, I really liked the design! I love a fantasy setting, and all the different islands in this game looked fantastic, Especially once you get to the underworld at the end of the game. This is one of the better looking Unreal Engine 3.0 games I've played. Admittedly it is extremely linear. Sometimes you have a few different paths you can choose to get somewhere, but they're still set paths. This is 2008 - in a large jungle island you should be able to trek wherever you want, not be stuck in a two metre wide path. But most games are still very linear,

If you're a WASD player then you won't have any issues with controlling the game like I did. So really the only negatives are some sloppy combat and ludicrously long conversations, but you get a good story, good characters and nice looking game out of it. I might rate it low for it's problems, but I'm still glad I played this game.