E3 '07: Conan Hands-On

By Crom's will, we hack our way through the savage single-player demo of Conan from E3 2007.

Some might ask why, exactly, there are multiple games featuring Robert E. Howard's seminal dark fantasy antihero Conan the Barbarian right now. The better question is, why not? The source material is rich with action that is both brutal and fantastical, qualities that can make for damn fine video games. THQ and Nihilistic had a playable single-level demo of their succinctly titled Conan for the PlayStation 3 at Barker Hangar during E3 2007, and it looks set to do well by its barbaric namesake.

As we started in on the brief demo, the influence of Sony's God of War games was nearly palpable, with a heavy focus on satisfyingly violent combat with multiple enemies, and a darkly medieval tone to the visuals. Our overarching objective over the course of the demo was to free several sailors imprisoned in small cages by enemy soldiers--roughly translating into lots of vicious swordfighting, and the occasional lever pull. With regular and heavy attacks that could be strung together into lengthy, bloody combos, the action moved fast, though with enough nuance to keep us on our toes.

Conan had several fighting styles at his disposal, and they were dictated by what sorts of weapons he had. Over the course of the demo, we fought enemies while armed with a single sword, two swords, or one gigantic blade, and the change of weaponry had an immediate effect on how the combat felt. There's an experience system at play as well, and when enough points were accrued, new combos could be learned. Many of the combos that could be learned were specific to the different weapon configurations, so it would seem that figuring out your favorite combat style and balancing how you spend those experience points will be important.

What we found most striking about Conan was how unflinchingly violent the gameplay was. When armed with two swords, Conan could swing them down hard, taking both of an enemy's arms with them, after which the now-armless enemy would thrash about until they were overcome by the loss of blood. Amongst the flurry of blades, enemies were also beheaded, sliced right down the middle, and generally dissected in the goriest way possible.

As derivative as it felt, we came away from the Conan demo with a generally positive impression, due largely to the gleeful carnage inherent to the combat. There was certainly no shortage of blood, which is just how Conan would want it.

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Discussion

73 comments
ironcreed
ironcreed

What's up with all of the God of War comparisons? Just because it is a brutal action/adventure game with a badass bladed weapon slinger for the main character, it does not automatically mean that it is a God of War rip-off, lol. Besides, Conan has been around A LONG TIME before Kratos and God of War. Anyway, I pre-ordered and paid for this game already, as it just looks simply fun as hell. The original Conan stories are a rich source for games. I am suprised it has taken this long for someone to pick up on it, and decide to make a killer series of games out of it.

007saeid
007saeid

this is a new god of War

knight_life_22
knight_life_22

Reminds me a lot of God of War, which could be a good thing. Ok that is a good thing, but the negative aspect is that it is going to have MASSIVE expectations.

I_pWnzz_YoU
I_pWnzz_YoU

nice this looks amazing, the combat system looks awesome i cant wait

MorphiX82
MorphiX82

doesnt sound too bad at all, but gameplay makes it look kinda horrid

dutch777
dutch777

Mmmm, is this just another press all the buttons at the same time and see what happens type of game?? Maybe worth a look.

HTML_d00d
HTML_d00d

No, Falfuren, thats age of conan , both games look good, this one looks more brutal :D

Testament
Testament

Aside from say this is very similar to GOW, judging by the preview, this game suffers from having good fast pace combo control, voice acting, and a desent story line that will keep you interested. On the plus side, it has lost of vore and violence, (which i think is kool) and lots of camera zoom in and zoom out movement during a dramtic throw or repell attack, which i think make a game more interesting, like samuri showdown, art of fighting, GOW, and etc. in closing, i feel more time is needed to put into this game. Faster and more responsive combos, better story depth, and a stronger voice acting could make this game way better than what it is.

Falfuren
Falfuren

sweet. is this the same game comin 2 360 that is set to go online?

Sony_FreaK
Sony_FreaK

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

pentium4dude
pentium4dude

tonytime, I think that you just pwned every single person on this forum with that quote at the end. Stunning. Speechless.

tonytime
tonytime

I feel ya DrBoriz, you are right. GoW has a lot of cool touches that were introduced by PoP, and it's artstyle is very similar to a game just a little older, Rigar for PS2. It seems that the only way a game can get away with taking note of what other games before them did is being a better game when it gets released. I honestly don't care. An analogical thought for u haters bashing this game for copying GoW: I'm catholic, and like all Christians, we (the new action games like "Conan") are taught to follow the steps of Jesus ("GoW"), in order to be the best we can be.

Legacyoftain
Legacyoftain

Immitation is the greatest form of flattery

ToOkie-TOokie
ToOkie-TOokie

I like the blood... could be fun. har har har

Sony_FreaK
Sony_FreaK

If you don't no what ignorance means you're just plain stupid Izyeys. Ignorant means not knowing of. So they are not knowing that you can't plain ol' base a game by its looks and compare a classic and say that it is a copy of a game that came out like a year or so ago. That is ignorance. They are ignorant because they don't read the articles and are quick to make comments on pics. You can't tell a life story through a pic am I right or wrong? Answer that.

tyler0077
tyler0077

People are comparing it to GoW..........and, so, whats your point.....GoW is still one of the best games I've ever played, I for one hope its very similar!

DrBoriz
DrBoriz

I agree with Sony_Freak & Sundweller. Kids who think they know a lot, when they don't, might say Conan is a vile copy from GoW, but actually GoW wasn't the first game in the market using that fighting system. For example PoP: Warrior Within used almost the same slow-mo bleedy decapitations and that kind of stuff. With such a big industry as the videogame industry, it's easy to find a similar gameplay on, or inspiration in, another game!!! If I only had a penny for every game that looks like another...

lzyeys
lzyeys

the fact that people are mentioning the games similarities to gow is not out of ignorance, but out of pure observation. I dont care about the sea monster or any of the boss battles, but the whole entire game mechanics seem all too similar to god of war; the slowing down of the action when a brutal attack was unleashed, the treasure chests, the movements with the weapons themselves, are all examples of how similar this game is to gow. that is not to say that the character is not unique, but i am pretty sure that the developers could have at least tried to come up with much more unique fighting system. i would be flattered if the developers would actually take the time to create a unique gaming experience, not just make a copy of the same game we all have played.

sundweller
sundweller

You're right Sony_Freak, it really shows ignorance on the part of the younger crowd. And if they're not younger than they are just ignorant anyway. If anything, the God of War makers and fans alike should be flattered that they chose to use a similar feel to represent one of the most famous and brutal fantasy characters of all time!

BombermanGold
BombermanGold

As much as I like God of War, there is no denying, CONAN is the original medieval badass!! And if you disagree, ARNOLD would like to have a word with you...

Sony_FreaK
Sony_FreaK

Granfier, you need to understand the ignorance of youngins like them they don't know what their talkn bout they just don't know this kind of stuff. But what they mean is that the game came out after god of war so its copy, its just pure ignorance

Granfier
Granfier

First off, everyone that says this is a "rip off" of God of War are retarded. Conan has been around since 1932, just because he fights a sea monster does not make him an rip off. Thats like saying God of War is a rip off of Warhammer, or any other fantasy setting (not including ancient myth). Okay any way the game looks great, lots of action.

scarletsnake
scarletsnake

Just because God of War had a seamonster doesn't mean that other games cant have it. I mean yeah, it's a mythological character but if you're gonna consider every game that has some content that reminds you of another game then you're not gonna find anything original out there. The seamonster thingy was used before in several other games so should we call GoW a "rip-off"?

PrinceUchiha
PrinceUchiha

I must say i'm impressed, I don't get some of you ppl. So they borrowed som things from GoW so what all that means is that your going to like the game when you play it. I bet you if they didn't you whould be sayin if the combat was like GoW I would really get into it.

shalashaska88
shalashaska88

THQ rarely impress gamers(I said RARELY, CoH was very nice)...so, lets wait till it comes out.

jakman2004
jakman2004

I'd support the God of War crew if they wanted to sue the makers of this game, it seems like such a rip off especailly with the sea monster, i mean that is just poor! They've done a good job with the violence but it seems that they've had to sacrifice good gameplay and a solid frame rate for it!! Why is it so hard to include both!? If it ends up good then I'd be up for having a go as the violence seems satisfying if not clunky at the mo.

ryguybond
ryguybond

haha i love it. gore is great

Blade_of_Athens
Blade_of_Athens

you call it what you want, I call it God of War Wannabe.

TheMenu
TheMenu

Sounds kind of like a rip off. But maybe it will be good. I'm willing to give it a rent at least.

Ravi_1900
Ravi_1900

So far visuals look good. But what can anyone say when a game like Hour of Victory made by UT3 was the worst game of the year.

PS2_PC_FAN
PS2_PC_FAN

Looks like a ps3 rip off of god of war to me, not as appealling to me as god or war.

dbrittain39
dbrittain39

Cant wait for the game to come out, looks likes it will be brutal

Yensog
Yensog

Looks awesome. But where's the undertone uncanny resemblance of Arnold?

thetruth_basic
thetruth_basic

That is one bloody messy game, I'm Sold!! Combat looks pretty challenging too, Crom bring your worst!!!

behemuth_Zero
behemuth_Zero

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

clawboy
clawboy

I'm a fan of hack and slash when it's doing right and after looking at both movies I'm hooked. Can't wait until this game comes out.

Dadriverman
Dadriverman

What they should be doing is taking the story from the Robert E. Howard books, with the comic books as story boards using the same art style.

Sleck64
Sleck64

It looks like a classic arcade Hack and Slash. And you really shouldn't bash people for saying the graphics look last gen. Story may be the most important thing but graphics matter too, especially in a hack-n-slash with a linear storyline. I really hope this game is awsome (It's always good to have another sweet game) but my prediction is that it's gonna bomb. Don't take it personally, it's just my opinion. Oh and I own a High-Def TV so you'll need to think of a different personal attack to use on me (Tonymatt225).

msharki
msharki

I've been waiting for this game since 1982. I would like to see some of the future games have some of the original stories in them. Maybe Red Nails, or A Witch Shall be Born, and maybe end the series with Hour of the Dragon. That would be a dream come true. Conan Rules!

FluffyMuffinMan
FluffyMuffinMan

Awesome!, really reminds me of God of War only with cooler features.

stonekey
stonekey

conan deserves a great game!!!!!! let this one be good, crom!!!!!!!

Kratos1235
Kratos1235

THat looks soooooooooo awesome! i can't wait to get it!

NandoSupes
NandoSupes

this game is shaping up to be great,I don't care if the graphics are not next gen, is not about that,gameplay is what counts and this game might have it in spades.

McGregor
McGregor

It does look a little last gen, but it could be because it's not finalized yet. I think the gameplay of this game is going to be amazing, and graphics at that point won't really matter.