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PlayStation 3 Review: Rise of the Argonauts

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This role playing/action game has strong combat and unique skill sets while the high content story with great voice acting really puts this mythical journey on the high end of the entertainment realm. Set in ancient Greece, Jason and his group endure just about every spectrum of emotion throughout their quest, filled to the brim with Greek mythology. Knowledgeable players of this genre can find an even higher level of enhancement and entertainment.

You play as Jason and venture on an important quest for the Golden Fleece. The plot has loads of crucial information, but many times you can't take immediate action, which plants tasks and subplots in your head. You also see cut scenes where the results of your victories or missteps play out through the other characters.
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The journey becomes a dangerous one for you and your suspecting subjects who feel like you've abandoned them to chase an impossible dream. Hercules and other famous characters help you along the way, but it’s the quartet of gods in whom you find your true strength. Apollo, Hermes, Athena and Ares all have special powers. The manual clues you into each god’s symbols, powerful characteristics and, most importantly, skill trees – a strong, innovative system that’s easy to use.

You can seek favor with certain gods and acquire new powers, ideally used against big groups of the antagonistic Blacktongues and other formidable foes. This addictive element also has a great replay value as you discover new combat methods and special actions.

The overall combat features deliberate moves with a strong trifecta of weapons: swords, mace, and spear (try it with the X button for some brutal finishers). The game has normal, strong, and special attacks instead of combination or chain attacks. You can also avoid attacks and make special counter moves. Overall health and special deeds also factor into your fighting skills. The combat system benefits you most when you probe for weaknesses then attack at opportune times.

The strong action elements expand through the consequential dialogue choices you make throughout the story as you interact with the characters. The only points where your dialogue choices only have a mild effect is when you encounter the fortune tellers who mainly guide you to the god that best fits your personality so you can make easier, more natural decisions throughout the game. It's a great mechanic that obviously yields more meaning and deeper connections to the action.

You get numerous auto save slots, but this game could use some portals for speedier progression, especially when you have to back track. Players who aren’t navigation experts might find themselves repeating paths through areas to progress. It doesn’t help that you don’t get an onscreen map display. You basically have to pause, access the map then hope you remember the way.

You should definitely turn on the subtitle text in the options, otherwise you’ll probably miss out on some crucial information in this strong, story driven game. The text of the last line of dialogue in a sequence is automatically displayed as if to say "You missed what they just said didn’t you?". This is a better, time saving option than stopping gameplay and making you scroll through the text to catch missing information.

The level of dialogue content is high, but luckily there's great voice talent throughout the game so you can invest yourself into the story. Voice acting includes great performances from recognizable veterans like Michael Gough, Brian Bloom and all around filmmaker Shaun Paul Piccinino.

You’re bound to find several entertaining moments in this well rounded, “choose your own adventure” format. For example, making decisions on special petitions is particularly fun and beneficial to your god power skill tree.

The graphics are strong with fantastic panoramic views on land and sea enhanced by a great musical score by Tyler Bates and Tim Williams, who both composed music for the upcoming Watchmen film. It's a deeply satisfying gaming experience.

Rise of the Argonauts is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for blood and gore, mild sexual themes and violence. This game can also be found on PC and Xbox 360.


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