previewed on PC
A 75 year old legacy
Eidos, FunCom and Conan Inc have all joined forces and pooled their collective knowledge and resources to give a new breath of life to the venerable 75 year old Conan legacy created by Robert E. Howard back in 1932. Howard’s work has helped inspire modern swords and sorcery fantasy throughout the 20th century and now spreads its influence into the 21st century with Age of Conan. In Age of Conan, the player will find himself in the world of Hyboria during the mighty period when Conan rules as King. The time of war is once again upon the lands of Hyboria and, in the traditional flavor of fantasy gaming, a call to arms has gone out to all would-be adventurers and mercenaries. The player will find themselves neck deep in the vast lore and detail of Robert E. Howard’s world as they adventure their way to riches and glory.
Age of Conan, as many already know, is the newest “Next Gen” Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Currently it is set to be released only for the PC, though an X360 release is expected sometime in the future. There are certain standards that are followed by practically all Fantasy based MMOs, concerning the gameplay, combat, character development and PvP just to list a few. Age of Conan takes many of these standards and revamps them into something completely new and, hopefully, much superior in comparison to what has gone before.
First and foremost, Age of Conan is the first ‘M’ rated MMO to be made available to gaming audiences. Typically the “dreaded” ‘M’ (Mature, 17+) rating is avoided by game developers to allow the largest possible playing audience. World of Warcraft, with its 11 million subscribers is a perfect example of this. Age of Conan, however, has taken an alternate route. Instead of dumbing down the content and gore, which would otherwise be an injustice to the Conan franchise, Eidos and Funcom have embraced the mature rating. Thus, they have embraced the graphic, brutal and sensual nature that is the essence of the Conan legacy. If you are easily offended by graphic bloodletting, decapitations, impalements, dismemberment, foul language and maybe the occasional bare breast of a woman, Age of Conan may not be what you are looking for in a MMO. Age of Conan was given the ESRB rating of ‘M’ for a reason, and they are proud of it.
One of the major highlights of Age of Conan is its real time combat system. Now, real time combat is hardly a new concept and has been attempted before in other MMOs titles with mixed results. Age of Conan will attempt to take combat to the next level. The player will choose when and how they will attack their target. Will you choose a powerful overhead chop or a faster slash at the mid torso? The player controls which direction the attack is coming from and when the strike takes place. The age old attack button-mashing has no business in this combat system. In addition to the standard attacks, there are several attack combos that can be achieved. When the player attacks following a certain series of directions, they will execute a combo, landing devastating damage or a fatal blow resulting in the bloody and often gruesome ending of your opponent.
Ranged and Magical combat haven’t been left out of the loop, however. Those favoring ranged combat are in for a special treat as they are finally allowed to manually aim and fire their weapons. In other MMO titles, ranged combat is a simple matter of activating your attack and the projectile will fire from point A and hitting or missing point B. However, Age of Conan's real time version of ranged combat will allow the player to manually aim from a first person, or an over-the-shoulder 3rd person, point of view offering a considerably more challenging ranged combat experience overall.