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Age of Conan Hyborian Adventures PC Review - -

Gameplay 9.0
Graphics 8.8
Sound 8.7
Value 9.1
Developer: Atari
Review Date:
July 2008
Howard Bourke


Age of Conan Hyborian Adventures

The amazing world of Robert E. Howard comes alive in Funcom's latest online epic entitled Age of Conan Hyborian Adventures that is based on the saga of this amazing writer, including much of the pop culture stories of today from novels to comics.

Beautifully recreating the rich and majestic world of Conan, the developers have truly gone to some outstanding research in creating the lands of Cimmeria to Stygia and if you are a fan of the novels, you'll be awestruck at the attention to detail. Best of all, you don't need any prior knowledge of the Conan novels, comics or movies as the developers have ensured that even the novice of gamer will be able to pick this title up immediately and start playing.


  • Enter the true Conan experience – The first official Conan online RPG sends you on a brutal journey in the footsteps of the worlds’ greatest fantasy hero. Meet Conan’s friend and foes, battle demons and monsters known from 70 year of Conan history, and step up to the ultimate challenge and befriend the mighty king Conan himself.

  • Explore the world of Conan – Enter a gigantic and unique gameworld containing more than 30 distinct regions spread across the three mighty nations of Aquilonia, Cimmeria and Stygia. Explore deep jungles, burning deserts, inhospitable mountains, vast valleys, dark dungeons or gleaming cities, and take part in an incredible journey of exploration and adventure.

  • Real Combat Engine – Experience Funcom’s revolutionary Real Combat engine, and fight mounted or on the ground. A new multi-point melee system allows the players to swing their weapons where they direct it, in real-time, going head-on against the formulaic nature of online RPG combat. The Real Combat engine also allow players to team up in battle formations and command both NPC’s and other players in epic multiplayer battles, as well as giving you the chance to participate in massive sieges.

  • Single-player vs. massively multiplayer – Emerge as a hero from the story-driven single-player experience and embark into even greater adventures in the massively multiplayer part of the game. The branching single-player story is created by the award-winning writers behind The Longest Journey, Dreamfall and Anarchy Online so expect something extraordinary.

  • PvP and PvE – Meet the ultimate resistance in human opponents, and enjoy crushing the skulls of fellow players in mini-games, sieges, arena fights and drunken brawls. Charge into the world of Conan, and fight monsters and demons alone or in groups.

  • Extensive guild and solo gameplay – Form guilds in the multiplayer game and lay siege to hostile castles. Let the catapults sing their merry song of death as the enemy is brutally crushed to a pulp. Team up with other players in large guilds, and explore a large range of social gameplay opportunities. ‘Conan’ also offers extensive solo gaming opportunities, taking you through an amazing single-player journey and deep into the lands of Hyboria.

  • Varied gameplay – Besides bringing the most brutal experience ever seen in a MMO, Conan also promises to deliver what all fans of MMOs love and enjoy. Vast character customization opportunities, a deep character creation, lots of social opportunities, crafting, a deep and fun RPG system, exciting classes and player-made cities are but a few ingredients in this powerful RPG.

  • Amazing graphics – ‘Conan’ takes graphics in MMOs to a new level! With the latest and greatest in technology and an amazing art direction the graphics in ‘Conan’ immerses you into a world as never before seen in any online fantasy universe.

  • Stunning Sounds – Listen to a powerful and epic soundtrack in 7.1 surround. Hear gripping voices recorded by professional actors, and enjoy a dynamic soundscape bringing players to the edge of their seats.

  • A story to die for – ‘Age of Conan’ delivers a brutal, mature and compelling storyline that will send you headlong on a journey of brutality, intrigue and depth. Mixing the finest of storytelling found in classic RPG’s with the open-ended approach found in MMOs, ‘Conan’ delivers a rare and special story experience.

  • The first mature MMO – In the true and barbaric vision of Robert E. Howard, ‘Age of Conan’ promises to bring mature online players something dark, new and refreshing. This is no cartoony fairytale, ‘Conan’ is made by grown-ups, for grown-ups, giving online gamers the chance to unleash the ultimate havoc and fury.

For those unfamiliar with the rich world of Robert E. Howard's Conan, the game does contain what could almost be considered a tutorial which through the use of in-game cinemas, voice acting and some basic quests, it will teach the gamer not only the control system of the game but also a small amount of history to wet your appetite.

In its essence, Hyborian Adventures is your classic RPG title or Sword & Sorcery adventure game where the gamer must select a character and their class in order to interact with the gaming environment. From weapons to spells, friendly characters to monsters, it's very reminiscent of Dungeons & Dragons, although Conan was first.

Creating your character for Hyborian Adventures is a treat and you can really put your own "spins" on the character that you are making. From race to sex, class to abilities, the customization is unparalleled. Of course, the gamer has all the cosmetic functionality of other games such as appearance to even tattoos.

With 12 different classes, each of these classes is then broken down into four other archetypes that is pure customization bliss. You don't have to be a pure fighter or a magic user, thanks to the variedness of the creation engine. Your character also has available a health and stamina bar to assist with gameplay, while magic users have an additional mana bar to assist with spell casting. By competing quests and defeating enemies, you are awarded experience that can be used to level up and also improve your statistics and give you access to more powers.

As mentioned in the features, the title has been targeted for adult gamers which means the title contains a healthy dose of adult themes from excessive violence to even nudity and sexual references. When the developers did say they were going to create a game based on Robert E. Howard's barbarian hero, they did not cut any corners and the realism and homage to the character is right on the money.

The control system of Hyborian Adventures is quite in-depth and intuitive on the PC which is simplicity at its best. Accessing weapons, engaging with NPC's or battling enemies is well thought out and novice gamers should have no problem in mastering this great gaming engine. The only drawback that you may occasionally suffer is "lag" which is a slowdown between your computer and the server, however the internet is rather sturdy these days, so hopefully you won't be too effected by this sometimes common phenomenon.

As you progress through the game, your character has the ability to level (become more powerful) and then access a variety of new gaming environments for higher level characters. Your fighting becomes more interesting as you progress as your combination attacks become quite powerful as do your spells.

Combos are relatively straight forward to use and my favourite aspect of this ability is that you can even perform fatal combo's that means you can dispatch your enemies with a single blow. Classic Conan!

For those who wish to remain solo, the developers have ensured that you can complete a variety of quests without the need for other players. Feel like some player killing? Depending on where play and the areas in the game, you can compete in some entertaining PVP battles and even engage in death match or capture the flag type games.

Wish to join a guide? That's another feature of Conan and gives you a sense of ownership to the universe when you join and does make the game more enjoyable. You can develop a trade in the game such as weapon smith, armour smith, gem cutter, alchemist and architect with specific missions to your trade and assists in going one step closer to gaming realism.

The price of perfection does come at a cost and unfortunately Age of Conan Hyborian Adventures has a few glitches that may effect your gameplay. Although all online games suffer from bugs, the ones in Hyborian Adventures are fortunately far and few, however I have unfortunately experienced some server crashes and a few graphical glitches, however after a solid month of playing, I'm fortunate to say these are are quite rare.

Best of all, Funcom continue to releases patches and fixes, ensuring that your online experience is quite sturdy. It should also be noted that the installation process of the title is quite consuming, especially when new patches are available but as the title is a living and almost breathing entity, it is a small price to pay for an organic-type game.

Graphically, the title is a visual treat on the PC and is probably one of the most graphically impressive online games at present as the attention to detail is amazing. Best of all, the game remains quite constant with a workable frame rates.

The weather effects and lighting is perfect and match that with some quite impressive spell effects and you have one good looking game. The characters have a true Conan feel to their appearance and its as if you are walking through the world of Robert E. Howard. Although every now and then, the frame rate will take a hit but this is more common in more heavily populated places but the game still remains quite playable.

The musical score of Age of Conan Hyborian Adventures is almost like it has been taken from one of the Conan movies and truly assists in immersing you into this rich universe. The sound effects go hand-in-hand with the gameplay and when you do hear the voice acting, it's perfect and is not clichéd nor forced as some games. Even the background ambience, especially in some of the "evil" areas really gives you the creeps.

In conclusion, Atari's Age of Conan Hyborian Adventures is a must have online game, especially if you are a fan of the RPG genre. The gameplay is almost perfect, especially for an online game and the stories and missions are gripping, entertaining and will have you playing day after day. Be warned though, the game is quite addictive, so you might want to warn your families and friends that you are going away on vacation, to the wondrous world of Conan the Barbarian and Conan the King!



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