John McDonald

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Age of Conan Sucks – Don’t Bother

June 28th, 2010

My friend seems to be enjoying it on Windows XP and Windows 7, but if you’ve got Vista like me don’t even bother.

So my friend told me that this Age of Conan game (AOC) is now in some kind of free trial. I don’t know all the details about what’s available in the free version versus the paid game, but I’m assuming they’re trying to copy the relative success of DDO’s free trial strategy.

Unfortunately, AoC just fails to deliver again and again.

From the outset, the installation didn’t want to play well with Windows. Even though I once had Windows Media 11 & DirectX 10 installed but the game decided to “upgrade me” to WM9 and DX9 for some odd reason. After that, it tried to do the same thing with my video cards even though the version I was running was plainly higher than the one they were recommending. At least they asked me before messing up my video card… if only they had been so considerate before screwing up my Windows files.

I suppose there is an actual game in there somewhere to review, so let me try to put this… experience… in to words.

The character creation screen is great. If you’re more concerned about what your guy looks like than what kind of skills, abilities, and development path they’re going to take. Everything about your class and fighting style is pretty damn cookie-cutter, but you can customize the visual details as much as you want.

Inside the game world, the first thing you might notice as being different from other MMORPGs is the collision detection. At first it seems like a nice improvement, but it doesn’t take too long before I’m getting trapped in to very linear paths because visually small objects are actually massive roadblocks.

The first quest exemplifies this. A women is chained up along a large gap in the wall, but you have to walk all the way around the island to confront her captors. Visually though, there’s plenty of room for two Conans to duck and step over her chains.

For a moment, the game seems decent as I get lost in the hacking and slashing of a mindless grind. Then the mindlessness becomes acute: I don’t think I actually lost more than 10% of my health at any given time. I did actually die once on the way to the city, but it happened instantly when I stepped on a rock jutting out 30 feet above a river of lava. I guess the draft was bad because my corpse was incinerated immediately.

In order to get in to the town and advance from there, you’ve got to complete a series of quests that amounts to collecting rocks and talking to a half dozen people. Unless you’re really impressed by the flaky cut scenes, this means a bit snooze fest.

I got to the “night time” mode or whatever, but when I tried to talk to someone a gang of mobs twice my level decided to attack me in the middle of another cut scene. Of course, you can’t fight back in a cut-scene so I just lied down and died. And waited. And waited some more, because there’s no way to leave the conversation when you’re dead.

That was about enough of that, so I quickly forced my way out of the game and went for the uninstall button. Unfortunately, I had at least one more wait left because for some reason closing Age of Conan causes my computer to open Windows Media Center in full screen mode.

I could elaborate about the uninspired directional combat, the extreme graphic effects that are too dramatic to be considered realistic, or the linear quest pathing and shallow story-lines… but now I’ve got to go get my Direct X and Media Player back to where they used to be.

Comments

6 Comments

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  • James says on: March 2, 2012 at 5:42 am

     

    Age of Conan sucks even worse than you think…. Funcom is playing it’s old game… NO multi-core processor support, NO GPU support…. just like their dying dinosaur Anarchy Online, this game is definitely NOT worth playing.

  • shoes says on: May 20, 2012 at 8:56 am

     

    I just tried it for about 10 minutes and everything looked good till I started hitting mobs….my god its worst feeling I had in games ever. Warhammer suffered from same disease and late Rift. These people just can’t produce a game wich will have some kind of good fighting feel, like wow has, you know, when you hitting mobs.

  • Marc says on: June 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm

     

    By the looks of your review you have not really gotten very far into the game. Honestly, your review is a load of bull****. Firstly, the character creation screen lets you customize your character appearances only, yes, but there are skill trees (read: infinite builds and fighting styles) you can choose afterwards as you level up, so that part of your review is already failed. Then you mention collisions and find to nitpick. Truthfully, I have NEVER had any problems with it whatsoever. Collisions are nice and work nice, making you feel as if another person is actually there and solid. Quests, lore and storyline is great and down to earth (literally – check out Hyboria), but if you’re looking for elves, dwarves and orcs then yes you will be disappointed. Personally, I’m sick of high-fantasy. Moving on – if you stumbled upon mobs twice your level, maybe you should come back later when you’re stronger (I don’t know any RPG that doesn’t work this way, except maybe Oblivion, but we all know it’s scaled levels are a fail). And lastly, combat. To each his own, but for me combat in AOC tops each and every RPG game, MMO or otherwise, hands down. And yes, you can really feel the hits, IDK what are you people talking about.

    • John McDonald says on: July 16, 2012 at 9:10 am

       

      You are absolutely right about one thing – I did not get very far in to the game! My video card didn’t play well with the software, and it was a very poor experience the whole way through. My friend Josh didn’t have any video issues and thought it was a pretty good game, but the little bit of troubleshooting I did at various forums also suggested that I wasn’t the only one out there having compatibility issues.

      Unfortunately, the game just wasn’t going to play right on this machine and trying to play the game in its distorted form was more frustration than entertainment. I’m glad to hear you had a better experience, honestly, because I’ve heard some other good things about other games released on that AoC platform, Secret World, I think. Maybe I will give Funcom another shot, because Blizzard really screwed up Diablo III and I’m looking for a new RPG-style game.

  • nick says on: February 27, 2013 at 5:32 am

     

    Marc is just a crazed fanboy. This game is an utter borefest to play with uninteresting class picks, yeah different types of warrior, mage, and rogue. The combat is monotonous and a total snooze…

    Played for a couple days and wish that I could get that time back as it was a total waste. Why do people enjoy this game?

    You kill “bosses” without even losing 25% of your health and that’s only if you fall asleep at the keyboard from the boring combat… What kind of boss is that? Oh he’s 3 times taller than you, he should be a challenge and have way stronger attacks and health. WRONG! Just as easy taking him down as every other incredibly weak character you battle.

    Now I can’t say that I played it enough to please the fanboys but if I did I fear I’d probably have to go out and buy a new computer as I clearly would’ve smashed this one from the shear boredom…

    This game is terrible and nothing about it is fun from the uninteresting cookie-cutter dialog to the unimportant choices they give you, you’ll at least have no problem sounding like every 1990 era action star.

    • nick says on: February 27, 2013 at 5:37 am

       

      Oh yea and unlike most mmo’s out there you won’t be able to walk around freely as this game makes you walk the same exact path that they want you to by using a ridiculous amount of invisible walls. And yea I think as a barbarian able to take down bosses that are 20 feet tall I should be able to push a couple of branches that any 7 year old could easily push aside.

      Oh wait I forgot tiny tree limbs were made out of adamantium, my bad AOC

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