Look! Lookie here! It's Saphira the dragon seen for the very first time! Pretty isn't she? A little less blue than we thought she'd be, but a damn cute reptile nonetheless. No wonder Eragon chafes his thighs riding her. So would we if we had a dragon like that!
Anyhooo... enough of us going on about strange lust for dragons, because Eragon (the game, not the boy) is shaping up to be something quite impressive. We had the chance to play the game a little while back and although the 'on foot' sections were running, we opted to undertake a spot of dragon riding instead. We were deep within a series of canyons trying to fend off hordes of attacking Uruk Hai... no, sorry, that's The Lord Of The Rings. We meant 'Urgals' (honestly, you should see the other name similarities - Ardwen and Arwen, Isenstar and Isengard, it just goes on!), and Saphira flew like a beauty!
We were required to flame-down wooden siege towers, burn legions of bad guys, and scorch wooden ladders to send yet more baddies tumbling to their doom. The dragon mechanics worked brilliantly, and the heavy 'wumph, wumph' of the dragon's wings made our skin go goosebumpy.
Actually, besides the name similarities (Morgothal instead of LOTR's Mordor, Furnost instead of Fornost - honestly Mr Paolini, think up some other names!), fans of The Lord Of The Rings games will be in for a treat. The game plays in very much the same way, with a beautifully pre-set path, chock-full of danger and minor puzzles. Little wonder then that developer Stormfront Studios also made the well-respected Two Towers game for Xbox. So, to spin an old game-reviewing cliché out one last time, you'll probably 'like it if you like this sort of thing'.
With playable characters Eragon (or should that be Aragorn?), Brom, Saphira, and a few other Tolkien-inspired boil-in-the bag genre stereotypes, it could easily be seen as the unofficial fourth part of Tolkien's trilogy, especially when it comes to the games. If the fall of the dark tower left you wanting more there's no reason why you shouldn't seek this baby out. We'd like to have seen a little more inventiveness within the game (there's no reason the game should be identical to LOTR even though the book is), but we suppose, with the Two Towers engine knocking about, it lends itself perfectly to adapting. It even adopts the multiplayer mode of the LOTR games too, enabling two mates to simultaneously play through.
We'd probably think that Eragon would slip right into the comfortabe middle ground if we had another month or two in which to get the review code in, and fans of the genre would have gone nuts over it. However, as it stands, we're guessing Eragon will rank as a fun yet forgettable genre game - polite nods and moderately high scores, but nothing ground breaking. We're not Tolkien about a revolution.