Eragon: LOTR But BETTER?

I wrote this review because someone had to.

When the Eragon game first game out, instead of reviewing it, someone at X-Play decided to write and record an unhinged rant against homeschooling because the author of the Eragon book was homeschooled.

But like the book, the game is preddy good and deserves a serious review, instead of irrational seething hatred for Americans skeptical of their failing government school system.

ERAGON: THE GAME. It's a game all right. The story? Boy finds dragon egg. Old man teaches him about dragons and fighting and stuff. It's actually decent, and the book deserves a read. The game does a decent job of telling the story, in highly-stylized cutscenes that are just COOL to look at.

Gaaaaameplay? Swords, bows, traveling through levels-- Lord of the Ring movie game. BUT BETTER? I'll tell you why:

First, there's no unlockable combination attacks in the game. Everything you're going to use with your sword, you learn in the first level: a worthless knock-back combo, a good stun combo, a glorious grapple combo, and a knock-down combo. Does this sound inferior to the LOTR games where you can buy different combos and progress your characters? It shouldn't, since if you REMEMBER, the majority of combos in those games were TRASH anyway. ESPECIALLY in RotK, where your slow-swinging combos could be interrupted as if they were jokes-- Swift Justice, aka X X X X, was the best combo in the entire game, and it was the only one which you could count on to not get punished for using. WOWWWWWWWWWWW, that's incredible. Don't get me started on Two Towers. Besides, could you GRAPPLE in those games? Didn't think so.

To grapple an enemy in Eragon, you can either do the grapple combo for an ezpz front-grab, or grab them from any direction any time they're stunned. (Me? I like stun-attacking soldiers, them grabbing them from behind to kick them in the back of the head) You can also grab them after performing a perfect counter, which is awesome.

Once you've got them, depending on the enemy, you'll do a variety of awesome wrestling moves from slamming them in the chest with the pommel of your sword until they collapse, to jumping on their backs and pulling and breaking their necks. You can also just dish a BIT of pain out on them instead, and throw them into other enemies, or over cliffs. It's great stuff and you can do a lot with it.

When an enemy's on the ground, you can finish them with a sword through the chest. This is how you'll kill most of the enemies in the game that you don't throw over cliffs. Enemies take a HUGE amount of punishment if you're not using your combo attacks on them. Which is kinda nice, because using your combo attacks is fun, and it's cool to not have to worry about an enemy dropping dead before you get to finish an attack you wanted to do. Another problem the LOTR games had.

Eragon swings his sword nice and quickly, with a good range. It's a far cry from Aragorn in RotK, who feels like he's stopping his swing halfway through. Enemies also mostly do a good job reacting to being hit with a sword, instead of being damage sponges like ... Uruk-hai.

You've also got a bow, but it takes a biiiiiiiiiit too long to draw out a 1-hit "skill shot". Once you start learning magic, you'll rarely be using your bow. Even when you get a magic arrow.

MAGIC? Yes, over the course of the game, you'll learn different magic attacks to use. And use them you shall, because it's useful and fun. You can force-push or pull enemies off of ledges, set them on fire, use a blast to scatter enemies and break their shields, an-- well that's mostly it. You don't get a HUGE selection of magic to use, but it's still fun using them in battle. The fire spell takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to recharge though, so you'll mostly be using magic for--just like with grappling--throwing enemies to their doom. Different spells recharge your magic gauge at different rates, so the simpler stuff you can use more frequently. You can also use magic to solve envir-- I was going to say "solve environmental puzzles", but that's a joke. You can use magic to progress through the environment, by say, pulling wooden beams from a wall to make stairs for yourself. There's some light platforming in the game. No jumping to your death, it works very well and feels decent.

As the game progresses, you can use magic a bit more quickly, your health bar gets longer, and you'll get 2 different swords. There's your LOTR-esque character progression. It happens automatically, and hey, maybe it would have been cool to be able to level up your character how you want. "Maybe", okay it WOULD have been cool.

Eragon has no "Experience" system, which is kind of a bummer. Killing enemies nets you uh... orbs. Get enough orbs and you can activate a Rage Mode. It's something I didn't have to do once in my playthrough on Normal difficulty. It's something I didn't even WANT to do-- why would I want to end the battles more quickly when I'm enjoying them? I only ever used Rage Mode on the unlockable infinite-wave level, and that was just to heal my npc partner. (I made it to wave 68, eventually enemy archers just start doing way too much damage, and you're boned.)

The Rage Mode could have been scrapped entirely and orbs be used for an upgrade shop-- upgrade HP, upgrade Magic, upgrade arrows(because they really could have used that). As the game is, there's nothing to really do but charge through the levels, engaging in admittedly delightful combat. It would have been neato for all of those chests I broke open to contain something I actually wanted or needed.

Still, that's a smol issue. A BIG issue? Riding the dragon sucks. Saphira controls well. But the three levels where you play as her are just boooooooooooooooring. You'll just fly on a rail with branching paths. She can slam things with her tail, brace herself so you don't get splatted by the stuff you run into, and she can breathe fire for a pitiful amount of time. You can fire magic arrows from her back, which is more useful than anything she does herself. Mostly it's just nice when these levels end.

DIFFICULTY? I don't know. A few of the bosses seem to take foreeeeeeverrrrrrrrrrr to finish, and left me with about... "===-----------" that much health left. Maybe my strategy just sucked. Also maybe I could have used Rage Mode, I don't remember. Anyway, I'll say the game's not too difficult. Rarely did I feel like my balls were being busted.

Am I forgetting anything? No, I think that's it. ERAGON: THE VIDEO GAME. It's very enjoyable. Wish it had a bit "more", but what it does have is FUN.