Also at the Codemasters’ booth during this year’s San Diego Comic Con was a dev-run demo of Rise of the Argonauts, their upcoming Greek mythology-steeped action-RPG. Steve Cornett, a designer at Liquid Entertainment took us through the demo and we send our thanks to him for his VERY in-depth knowledge of Greek mythology which served to greatly enhance what we saw.
You play as Jason, and proceed on your quest to obtain the golden fleece, which is said to have the power of resurrection. On your journey, you are accompanied by the other Argonauts which include the likes of Hercules and Achilles. In addition, you will meet several more throughout the game who will join your crew. What we saw was an awesome display of brutality which reminded us, slightly, of watching the battle scenes of the movie 300.
Combat is reminiscent of God of War only in that opponents often come at you and your two companions (you choose the two you want by your side, usually, when you disembark your sea vessel) by various directions at the same time. Jason will block with his shield automatically as is possible and damage, due to the fact that there is no UI in the title, is shown directly on the characters. With combat being very realistic, you usually do not have to wear down your opponent’s health bar. A couple well-struck hits depending on your weapon-type should kill the standard-variety mob. A big emphasis in combat is placed on getting around armor, and in the demo I saw being played, Jason used his spear to counter-attack and take out a well-armored foe. His spear, while not the best against groups of enemies, is excellent at exploiting the ‘chinks’ in even the best armor. In addition, when Jason or his companions score a brutal hit on the enemy, they are often dispatched in the goriest of manners…hehe.
Jason has an awesome assortment of weapons which include the types of a spear, mace, shield, and a sword on his person all the time. There are many different versions of these weapons in each type to be found throughout the game (as there is armor). Unlike other titles, Jason does not ‘loot’ mobs in the game as he already uses the best of equipment. Only items of the most awesome quality (and usually a long back story of their creation and/or usage) are taken by him to use on the quest.
A HUGE element of the game comes from which patron god you have the most favor from. Just about everything you do in the game from conversational choices to weapons you use more than others will affect which god you gain favor in. The patron gods are Ares, Hermes, Apollo, and Athena all have different focuses. For instance, Apollo favors the player with the options of learning more defensive skills while Ares will favor the player by giving them thee option to learn more offensive skills. As such, you increase their favor by using items that reflect that. Using your mace, which is very slow but very powerful, will increase the favor of Ares. You can gain favor in whatever gods you see fit in order to customize your character’s abilities to the fullest.
Another aspect of the game which we liked was the ability to directly-influence the storyline. For instance, after battling Medusa, it is up to the player whether or not to kill her or bring her back from damnation, in which case she will join the crew of the Argos. While there is only one ending in the game, the player can take many different routes to reach it.