The enemies in the game aren't going to be invited to any MENSA meetings any time soon but it's about what you would expect. The base AI for the majority of the bad guys seems to be "Hey, let's all rush the big guy with the glowing swords and see what happens". There is some variety as some enemies will occasionally wait a bit and then charge you or wait until you have your back turned on them. Later on in the game the AI starts to wander in to the cheap "That's totally lame" area where enemies start pulling off long, unblockable combos. There isn't a lot of this but there are a few levels where you realize you are screwed as soon as they land one attack.
These game isn't helped by some inconsistencies in the level design. There are some wide open levels where the game designers place invisible walls so you can't jump off into space no matter how hard you try. Then there are other levels where one misstep sends you back to the last checkpoint in the game. The problem is that it's not consistent which is frustrating in the later levels because Conan will some times either get knocked off a ledge by an enemy or finishes a combo that takes him off the edge of a cliff. Some of these problems would be mitigated with a decent camera system but the designers went with a fixed camera. The camera will usually rotate to give you a better view of the action but it tends to lag a bit which can be frustrating. This is especially true when you are trying to navigate to the save point that's just across a chasm. What's sad is that I think the developers knew that this was a problem because some of the check points in the game have you re-spawning immediately at the start of one of these lame jumping puzzles.
Speaking of save points the game also managed to adopt the Save point/check point system from God of War as well. It kills me that game designers don't let me save my progress anywhere in a game even on modern consoles with large hard drives. This system is made worse by the fact that some of the save points are off the beaten path. That's right, the game forces you to explore the game to find some of the save points in the game which is a terrible, terrible design decision. It's bad enough that we still have to deal with a game construct that's nearly 15 years old but to make players have to hunt for them is inexcusable. One of my first notes on the game was that it seemed like there was a large gap between save points but I now believe that I just missed a few on the way.
Thankfully the game isn't very long and clocks in at around 6 hours or so. That wouldn't be a bad thing except that the game sells for $60. That same $60 could have been spent on four Oregano Italialiano pizzas from Minute Man Pizza, two months of an online dating service, or on a better game like Ratchet and Clank. The good news is that I’ll get an extra 30% trade credit for the game when I trade it in on Rock Band next week.
Playing the game did remind me a bit of the 80's animated movie Heavy Metal in that it's feels aimed squarely at teenage boys and those who are teenage boys at heart. The gore and blood is part of this but the better example are the half-naked maidens that Conan can rescue during his run through the game. For no reason at all there are topless women tied to walls with no explanation of why they are there or who left them there. I can almost see chaining topless maidens to trees in a forest or in a castle but outside in the snow? What's really weird is that all of these women only know how to get up by performing a move reminicent of a Two Live Crew song. I'm not going to tell you which one but use google if you're still in the dark. It's like the developers at the game wanted to put a God of War sex game into the game but chickened out at the last moment and decided to go with quantity of boobs rather than quality of boobs. It was kind of funny the first time but it got old after a while.
After all this kvetching and moaning (I'm assuming you're still reading) Conan isn't a bad game. It's just a very derivative game that could have been so much more. They could have added a few new features to the game, added a few levels to the game, or even spiced it up with some real sexuality rather than the tee-hee stuff they put in the game. There are a lot of cool features in the game but it's really hard to recommend this game for ownership.
If ever there was the definition of a rental it would be Conan. Sure there are some nice visuals and some decent game play but the game is too short for the money.
Page 2 of 2