The movie's been billed as the next big thing, possibly even the next Harry Potter, but we can't see that happening to be honest. It'd have to be something extra special, let's face it. Eragon the book features a boy who finds and raises a fire-breathing dragon, and goes off on a mad Lord Of The Rings-style adventure. Eragon the game is about uninspiring, repetitive gameplay and dull graphics.
For a game that includes dragons and fire-breathing and stuff, you'd expect a lot of swordplay and fighting. Combat is based around a simple combo system of hitting the A and B button in different sequences to produce various attacks that, strangely, look the same. Holding the Right trigger brings up the bow and you can either fire off a quick shot by pressing A or you can press and hold A for a more accurate shot which takes a little more time but leaves you open to a kicking. For no other reason than 'other games do it', there's a bit of bullet time lobbed in the mix when you finish off the last enemy of a wave, or grab and hold a nasty before kicking him in the face.
As you progress through each level with Brom - think of him as the equivalent of Gandalf in this fable - Eragon's magical powers begin to awake. Holding the Left trigger and using A performs a pre-defined special attack. His array of magical attacks include picking up spears and lobbing them at enemies, moving giant cranes to help you overcome obstacles and force pushing and pulling enemies off high ledges.
Unfortunately, combat isn't anything we haven't seen before. If you're familiar with the two Lord Of The Rings hack-and-slash games, you'll recognise this straight away - it's almost a carbon copy, only dressed up as Eragon instead. Completing each level usually gives you access to a new power or more powerful weapon.
And then there's the dragon, Saphira, to deal with. When the game lets you, Eragon can call in his fire-breathing pet to take out a few baddies, smash a few towers and generally roar a lot.
You also get to control the winged-warrior, which plays out as you'd expect - just make sure you don't fly into rocks and trees, and get hit by enemy fire and you'll be fine. A mention has to go out to the camera. We're puzzled as to why the Right thumbstick doesn't let you look around your character and the world. The game looks like it should let you run around freely, but there's only one path you can take through the levels. If the camera were positioned better, figuring out where you need to go would be a bit easier. Sometimes it's a case of jumping all over the pace to see if you accidentally grab a ledge or jump on a barrel.
Great things are expected of the Eragon franchise, but this could be a thousand games we've played before. No single feature stands out as special, and the gameplay is all far too familiar. It's one of those games that kids will beg for after seeing the movie, but they'll want something better a week later!
A by-the-numbers cash-in on the movie. Will only entertain young minds as long as the novelty of the movie lasts.
- Two players are better than one! Your mate or dad can jump in and out of the action at any time.
- Err... it's got dragons!
- Feels rushed to cash-in on the success of the movie. A little more time in development and this could have been alright.
- Looks rubbish. We all know that the Xbox can do far better than this!
- Repetitive combat that's more miss than hit. All you need to do is hammer the buttons and you'll probably come out on top.