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PC Game Review

Age of Conan
Rise of the Godslayer


Format: PC
Deep Silver
RRP: £29.99
4 020628 949778
Age Restrictions: 18+
Available 11 May 2010

Far to the east, beyond the devil-haunted towers of Zamora and the wind-tossed waves of the Vilayet Sea, the Empire of Khitai spirals slowly into chaos. The tendrils of darkness spread through the lands, tainting them. The Hyrkanians, kept at bay for thousands of years by the Great Wall, now spill across the Northern Grasslands in a wave of savage slaughter. Let the Rise of the Godslayer begin...

When the original Age of Conan servers went live the game attracted a significant number of subscribers. The initial levels were visually pleasing and were married to some decent vocal acting. Things went well for the average player until they hit the half way mark when the game basically dried up; when the interest went so did a whole bunch of subscribers and half of Funcom’s servers, as players flooded into Middle Earth and away from Hyboria.

Not to be deterred from what was basically a good on-line adventure game, Funcom soldiered on and have now released Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer. Funcom have gone much further with this release than just patching the bugs in the original game. They've added a whole new kingdom for players to explore, Khitai, with its distinctive Asian look. It also adds the Khitans as a new playable race along with the old favourites of Stygians, Cimmerians and Aquilonians - though there are no new classes to choose from.

The first part of the game plays as it always did, with the gamer having to work through the initial quests in Tortage until you hit level twenty. And, for new, current and returning players, this is where the fun really begins. At level twenty you have the option to travel, by caravan, to the Gateway of Khitan. You could be boring and accept passage on a caravan, which will get you instantly transported, but where is the fun in that? Instead you could opt to pay your way by guarding the caravan, which provides the chance for random encounters, spoils and practice fighting. The last is important as you're going to need to be significantly stronger to survive in the new lands.

Here Funcom have upped the number of quests to counter the original complaints about the game, and usefully they have introduced a way to earn points though either grinding or questing that can be traded in for useful items. This has the advantage that if you're thinking of battling about your weight, the addition of items could make the difference between success or failure.

Khitai is not only attractive to look at but also introduces a further twelve new tribes. Here you have the option to be a hero for hire, picking up bits of work from all and sundry, or you can bite the bullet and align yourself with a particular tribe. A tribal rank will bring benefits but it also brings new enemies. All of this work will be useful as many of the quests are not available until you reach a certain level. Within the game the cap level has not been changed from 80.

Most expansion packs add a few bells and whistles; Godslayer has gone a lot further by addressing some of the fundamental flaws in the original game. Obviously the idea is not only to snag new players but also to lure previous players back to the game. With this update they are likely to be successful, but I do worry about the sudden flood of players using up less servers. It will be interesting to see if the game suffers from any significant level of lag, if so it will likely spell the end of Hyboria for good.


Charles Packer

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