Eragon Hands-On

We check out the action adventure game based on the popular fantasy novel.

During the recent Sierra press event in Palm Springs we had an opportunity to check out a work-in-progress Xbox 360 version of Eragon. Currently scheduled for release in December, Eragon is an aerial combat game that will follow the storyline of the upcoming Stefen Fangmeier movie (based on the books of Christopher Paolini) of the same name. Eragon is a fantasy adventure film set in the land of Alagaesia, which was protected by powerful dragon riders (think Jedi) for thousands of years until one of them (think Darth Vader) turned bad, convinced others to join him, and anointed himself king.

Eragon will follow the storyline of the movie which is based on the popular debut novel by Christopher Paolini.

In Eragon the game, you'll assume the role of the movie's titular hero: a young farm boy (think Luke Skywalker) who goes walking in the forest and finds what he believes to be a polished blue stone. The emergence of a dragon hatchling from the stone some time later makes it clear that the stone was in fact an egg, and when Eragon realizes that he shares a telepathic bond with the dragon--named Saphira--he decides to become a dragon rider and save the empire. One of the most interesting features of the game is that Eragon is never without a companion--whether it be his mentor Brom, the mysterious swordsman Murtagh, or Saphira--and all three of those characters can be controlled by a second player in cooperative mode. On this occasion, though, we were playing solo, which meant that the aforementioned companions--the human ones at least--were controlled by the CPU.

The first level that we checked out took place in a lush forest complete with waterfalls and a fast-flowing river that Eragon and Murtagh were wading through when they were ambushed by urgals. These troll-like creatures were armed with a variety of melee weapons and weren't at all shy about attacking in numbers. Fortunately, Eragon's combat controls are easy to pick up, and so we had no problem defending ourselves using a combination of quick attacks, strong attacks, jump attacks, grapples, combos, and special finishing moves. The dodge and evade commands came in very handy when we got embroiled in a fight with two or three urgals simultaneously, and when an enemy appeared on a hill above us and started firing flaming arrows in our direction, a flashing blue icon on the screen told us that we had the option to call Saphira down from the skies to take care of him in cinematic fashion.

Next up was a level set in what appeared to be the ruins of a desert temple, where we encountered our first kull. Standing around three times as tall as Eragon and his companion, the kull is a powerful ogre-like enemy large enough that you can climb onto it during a fight. We even watched a Sierra representative who was playing the game "ride" on the shoulders of a kull and steer it off the edge of a cliff to its doom--leaping off the beast to safety just before it fell. The kull's demise was a perfect segue into the next level that we checked out, in which our heroes were attacked by a gang of urgals while climbing a mountain path. The level felt quite different from the two that we'd seen previously, simply because so much of our movement around it was vertical rather than horizontal. All of the on-foot levels that we saw during our time with the game appeared to be heavily combat-based, but we're told that a number of gameplay sequences will involve stealth and/or puzzle-solving.

The game follows the main character Eragon and his various companions as they battle the forces of evil.

Adding even more variety to the proceedings in Eragon are four levels (one of them exclusive to the Xbox 360 version) in which you'll be flying around on Saphira's back. Early in the game, the dragon's main method of attack will be to whip enemies with her tail, but in the level that we played she had matured enough to breathe fire, which was particularly effective against the enemies who had foolishly taken up positions in oil fields. Our route around the level was set on a predetermined path, but we had plenty of freedom to move around within it to target enemies and to avoid the fire from their bows, catapults, and trebuchets. In addition to Saphira's attacks, the moves in our arsenal included a screen-blurring speed boost, a magical shield, and Eragon's ability to launch mystical arrows.

Eragon is shaping up to be an enjoyable action adventure game that should appeal to fans of the genre, of the fiction, and of the upcoming movie. We look forward to bringing you more information on the game soon.

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Discussion

41 comments
barnibus0
barnibus0

To be honest, I will buy this game. I have faith.... Eragon, if you do me wrong, I will truely rip out your guts, stab you with your shiny, red sword Zar'roc in the skull and completely 'Brisngr' yer butt!

michaelroy
michaelroy

coolest book ever looking forward to how the game shapes up. now what to do if the movie AND the game sucks...

keinuveye
keinuveye

kinda excited to read the book first...

waynekautz
waynekautz

Omg.... Get over it. Fiction only has so many variations so someone is always going to be griping "Boohoo! You ripped off LotR!!!" or some other idiocy to that extent. All that will matter is whether or not the game is fun to play. People obviously like the books due to the sales and people raving about them so all the rip-off whores will just have to suck it up. Btw, I hate DM of Might and Magic because it rips off Lord of the Rings! I mean, it has orcs!!!!

Andries-Willem
Andries-Willem

You A-hole why are you refering to Star Wars all the time. The books rock!!! This book is not a rip-off

SteveTwo
SteveTwo

Um, so this entire concept, books series and movie is a direct rip of Anne McCafry's Dragonriders of Pern books?

gimlifn
gimlifn

First of all the books are great if you like Lord of the Rings style stuff. Quit saying its like Star Wars. The ideas in eragon are very original compared to star wars if you really have read both books. The only thing that Eragon and Eldest have in common with Lord of the Rings is the elves dwarves and human thing along with similar time periods/middle ages.The video game better be good and not anything like the Lord of the Rings games because those were way to repetitive with every level being a button mashing contest. Hope the game turns out right and the third book comes out soon. The movie sounds like it is going to be sweeet!

mnewcomb59
mnewcomb59

lol Have you seen how stupid the characters look? Eragon looks like a hollywood metro dude and Arya is blond... Lol and zar'roc is something straight outta a hack and slash game... It looks so fake. I just hope they don't mess up saphira...

BlackFlame20
BlackFlame20

Woot! Oh yea! My dream has come true. :p I loved the book and I'm anxiously waiting for the movie. And seriously I thought about this to myself before about how cool it would be if they made it a game. They better include the magic too. I imagine though the fighting might be something like Lord of the Rings. Which wouldn't be bad.

skipyou
skipyou

I'm sad to say the book just didn't grab me. It just seemed really redundant and horribly overrated. Maybe i'll try it again sometime but the game, well i'll just say let's hope it's not another rushed- to- keep- up- with- the- movie kinda games becuase a good example of that is the harry potter games which are really really really really bad

ff7cloudking
ff7cloudking

this is one of the few books i actually read so the movie, and game better be good.

nambor100
nambor100

Yea Galbatorix aint rly a big part of one and two but this movie and most likely the game will be of all three books in one. This is mainly aimed at 'QuantumFireball'

Bass7
Bass7

Eh I can see all the similarities, yet he wrote this book when he was 15 so I can see why he doesn't have fully original ideas lol.

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

First off Iike Eragon and I agree with Gamespot it is much too similar to Star Wars. Either way i'm looking forward to this game....but please don't tell me those are Xbox360 screenshots they look like a old playstation 2 game...

vamroc
vamroc

Someone narc'ed on me for bypassing censorship rules reguarding use of questionable language. Give me a break !!! Nobody likes a snitch. The movie will be good and if it's lucky the game will be average at best.

WildCardDoW
WildCardDoW

Lol, I love how this article points out the "similarities" these books have with Star Wars! :p Of course they left out the fairly obvious unoriginal names, which are all anagrams of Tolkien stuff...

stevenscott14
stevenscott14

Sounds decent enough. I hope this game doesn't disgust the awesome book.

uas-2001
uas-2001

Does anyone know when the third book comes out in England? Also the movie looks poor but I can't judge the game yet. AWESOME BOOK(S)!

Lewos1
Lewos1

hmm...not bad...sounds more impressive than in previous previews i have read...

Lewos1
Lewos1

hmm...not bad...sounds more impressive than in previous previews i have read...

TintedChimes
TintedChimes

Does anyone know what the levels in our profiles are for and if you do can you PM me about this.

QuantumFireball
QuantumFireball

I dunno how anyone could turn Eragon into a movie or a game. There isn't a whole huge chunk of action, it's a lot of talking. Eldest is even more so. And Galbatorix doesn't even speak for those two books, how could he be cast in the movie?!?!?

Demonbob
Demonbob

Well, it won't please everyone, but it sounds like a solid game so far. I'm definately going to see this movie.

abigserve
abigserve

well i shouldnt judge seeing as i'm not into fantasy stuff, but those screenshots look godawful.

nambor100
nambor100

Oh common. have you people even played it yet!? no i dont think so. fair enuf it look's differant from the screen shots i looked at but you cant rly tell game play etc form that now can you? untill the in game videos come out i dont think and one can make a proper judjment.

shawgdawg
shawgdawg

@ rckbikes Nothing is ever as good as the book. Except maybe Blade Runner. Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep was pretty lame.

mnewcomb59
mnewcomb59

Hmm... don't urgals have horns? The book was great, but somethings were a little cliche... The second one was better. I think the game will suck, but the movie might be ok.

crackerblast
crackerblast

wow,how does every fantesy book turn into a crapy movie then an evean crapy game.and why does tht pictuer of that woman look like the ice witch from narnia???honestly

NotSure02
NotSure02

God I hope they don't screw the game and movie up cause the book was awesome. (I can't wait for the game and/or movie) BYAAH

fkholmes
fkholmes

Darth Vader was not the first sith and he did not convince any jedi to join him! Sorry I'm just a stawars fanboy.

basiccoolguy
basiccoolguy

(ummmm......it's spelled with an A. The dragon's name is Saphira, not Sephira. Good article though) Lol Calm down fanboys. Typos happen. This game will be fun, but it would be a lot more fun if they based it off the book rather then the movie.

rckbikes
rckbikes

never be as good as the book

Sargus
Sargus

As long as they pull through with the different versions of this game, it looks like I may have to pick it up for several different platforms. DS, Xbox 360, PSP, and GBA. Hopefully at least one or two of these versions will be great (as the gameplay in all is totally different). And yeah, it's Saphira... With an 'a'. To my knowledge, it's still that way in the movie in the game, just like the book. There'd be no reason to change it, anyway.

Dev_Kaito
Dev_Kaito

Another game based off of a movie? Uhhh, I hope it's not too bad....

980658965659865
980658965659865

Yeah, it's SAPHIRA. It's not like Gamespot to make a mistake like that, though. Maybe they changed the name?

Tatersalad927
Tatersalad927

ummmm......it's spelled with an A. The dragon's name is Saphira, not Sephira. Good article though

tidusjeff
tidusjeff

hopfuly this game will be good enough to play.