RiseOfTheArgonauts-Xbox360I must admit that I have been looking forward to this game for a while.  Of course, I am big fan of RPG style games, but a few things made this one special from the beginning:

Instead of the generic middle-earth or Dungeons&Dragons type world, this one is set in the rich tapestry of Greek Mythology, where there is already a huge amount of lore, a long list of already identifiable heroes, as well as super-powered abilities as provided by the Greek gods as well as the heroes on Earth.

And as a huge personal ego trip, the primary character is also named Jason - so it is especially fun to have everyone addressing ME as 'King Jason' for a hundred gaming hours or so.

Following the stories out of Greek myth, the adventure starts on Jason's wedding day -- where moments before the ceremony, his bride is assassinated.  Jason decides to defy fate and find a way to bring Alceme back.  For the rest of game, you will be recruiting some of Greek mythology's greatest heroes - Hercules, Perseus, Achilles, etc. and visiting all of the big locations of the day -- battle minion, assassins, creatures and some interesting boss battles.  Eventually, you will need to find the great prize of the story, the Golden Fleece.

RiseOfTheArgonauts-Xbox360

As an RPG fan, the skill increase system makes sense by letting you dedicate your actions and your conversation choices to one of four Greek gods, each of whom likes a certain aspect of fighting - Ares/Mace, Apollo/Shield, Hermes/Sword or Athena/Spear -- as well as different personality choices.  By making consistent dialog choices and then dedicating your generic activities and milestones to your patron deity, those particular styles of fighting get enhanced.

There are lots of good parts - but in fairness, there are some rough spots, too.

Movement can sometimes be clunky, both in how you wander and where you can go.  With so many of the RPGs being 'open world', it is a little frustrating to hit invisible walls when you are walking down a path but the game play wants you to turn.

Also, the early battle sequences get a little repetitive.  By the end of the first few large battles with lots of basic bad guys, you'll start to feel like you've been button mashing quite a bit at the beginning.  As you start to earn special abilities, then things get more varied and the 'God powers' become much more meaningful.

Those are both forgotten in the grander scheme, so if I had to name one really peeve -- it is that as you wander around the locations, you must walk everywhere and some of the areas are spread out.  My overall satisfaction would be definitely improved if I could just pull up a mini-map and click/fast-walk to previously visited locations.  But hey, maybe Codemasters patches it -- or someone responds on this blog to tell me of a button that I haven't tried yet.  I would love to be wrong on this one.  :-)

As I've shared with other game recommendations, my favorite games are usually ones that have a storyline and "world" that is bigger than just what is in the video game - ideally with movies, TV shows or other reading material.  In this case, the game leverages some fairly well-respected literature that has been entertaining and inspiring imaginations since 800 BC.

This game does have a compelling story that is set in a rich tapestry of mythology - with a nice range of weapons and powers to make the hero your own.   And if you really want to get into it, go to your local library and read some of the original Greek myths leading up to Jason and the search for the Golden Fleece.  And then (especially if your name is Jason), you will really be able to get into this game!!

As always, thanks for reading.