I was really excited about this game. The graphics looked amazing. The gore was there. Everything was good until I got into their beta. Boy, they sure know how to doctor up their photos! Age of Conan is a console MMORPG, meaning it's linear and dumbed down to the point where it's not even fun. No wonder it's also being thrown on the 360...
Let us rant...
Character creation is alright, there's a few nice ideas in the creation but still nothing impressive. The three races are either white guy, tan-white guy, or Persian guy. Certain races unlock certain classes a la most any MMORPG. Still, nothing impressive.
The guy I created was the Persian for the assassin class. I normally just build brute warriors because I like DPS and armor, but I wanted to try out another class for this game. Upon loading the game, I looked around at what I was expecting to be an impressive scene of blowing water and nice flora (like those screen shots I kept seeing). Since my computer is pretty beefy, I had the quality to the max using DX10 and all. Yeah, nothing impressive. Actually, the graphics looked a little outdated. I noticed a few glitches in the modeling that was bugging me and with future MMOs coming out with rag dolls, I expected this game to have some impressive animations at least. Nope, nothing but the generic "fall down" animation. The textures are pretty ugly too. The first mission has you saving a slave. Before you can pass the first area, you have to do her little quest. It's really easy. Kill one guy and move on. Anyone that's played MMOs today knows that a nice little addition to playing them is the lack of load screens. This game abolishes that idea and upon entering new areas, you have to actually load. What really threw me off is how linear the game is. I mean, there's a road that you follow and kill things on with a few boring side-paths. You actually can't leave the road. There's nothing but forest wall around it! So, yeah, I can't see myself having fun with a linear MMORPG. The game ran pretty well, aside from some chop (being beta, I understand). That was until you get to the first town. You have a quest similar to Dungeon Siege 2 of getting your chains broken before you can move on to the city. To break the chains, you must do another boring easy quest of collecting some stones that are flickering near some easy mobs. Around this area, I think the game started loading again, or tried to load the textures, in which my frames went from 60 to 2 for no reason. Finally I finished the quest, ran into the city (frames dropped again to 1) then the game crashed. I haven't had the nerve to open the game back up.
The gore is lacking too. There's some decent execution moves, but it's just too generic to be impressed with. Most of the time, I don't even see blood. The only time I saw blood was when I cut one guy's head off, I saw the head disappear instantly and then the mesh of what would be the insides of him, poorly textured I might add. I just don't get this game. I see screen shot after screen shot and video movies of how impressive this game looks, and how open it looks, but it's so linear and poorly designed that I'm just going to end up passing it up. GTA 4 is more MMO than this game and I'm being honest. Maybe Warhammer later this year will impress me.
I did play the other night for a moment on my brother's character. It was my first glimpse into the PvP. The arena is much like the Guild Wars arena in which you capture flags to win. Since I've been doing that since the early days of Quake, this mode just didn't impress me either. I did hear the PvP is going to be open to killing people in the streets anywhere, if you choose the server, but I'm doubting there will be a reward system for PvP. It will just be the jerk thing to do.
I hope no one actually falls for the reviews this game is bound to get. If you want to get a better Conan game, get that console crap Conan game that was a rip of God of War. It's easier on the eyes and actually more fun. This is just sad.