Rise of the Argonauts was one of those games many people never played. An action RPG set in Greek Mythology, it received rather lukewarm reviews. leading many gamers to skip it entirely. I was intrigued by it, however, and I was still a member of Gamelfy at the time it came out, I decided to give it a try.
I am glad I did. While Rise of the Argonauts has many faults, its unique take on some very well-known myths make it one worth playing.
A New Take On Some Familiar Stories
Rise of the Argonauts starts just before the wedding of Jason and Alceme. What should be a joyous occasion is ruined when enemies attack Jason’s palace right before it begins. Jason and his guards are able to repel the attack, but not before Alceme is assassinated. Jason is not content to let that stand, and after consulting the gods, he decides to set out to find the Golden Fleece, a legendary object said to have the power to raise the dead. His quest for the fleece will take him to the very ends of the earth and beyond, running across some of the most well-known characters in all of mythology.
Much of the story in the game is presented via conversation with characters, whether they be members of your crew or others you come across in your travels. The conversation system in the game is slightly reminiscent of Mass Effect; instead of choosing exactly what Jason will say, you choose more the attitude with which it will be said. While not as well done as that in the Mass Effect series, there is an added wrinkle to conversations: responding in certain ways can earn the favor of the gods.
Earning the Favor of the Gods
The leveling system in Rise of the Argonauts is based on how you please four different Greek gods: Apollo, Ares, Athena and Hermes. You can please each of these gods by either completing different deeds, such as killing a certain number or enemies with a particular weapon, or by choosing responses in conversations that please them. On the one hand, this makes you pay a whole lot more attention to the choices you make in conversation, especially if you are trying to please a particular god. On the other, it can tempt you to choose responses you do not really mean just to gain favor. Granted, it is not a perfect system, but it is still an interesting change.
Once you earn the favor of one of the gods. you can spend that point to upgrade skills related to that god. Dedicating deeds to Apollo, for example, will allow you to gain abilities of the sun and life, including Regeneration, which will replenish your health in battle. Dedicating them to Hermes can help increase Jason’s speed and dodging among other abilities which fit the swift messenger god. This system of leveling up fits in rather nicely with the setting, and it works rather well.
Combat in Rise of the Argonauts is deeply satisfying. You can switch on the fly in battle among three different weapons: a spear, mace and sword. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, including different God Powers which can be performed when using them. I found myself sticking primarily with the sword or mace, switching between them when I wanted to vary my attack speed or power. You also carry a shield, which can be used to block your enemies attacks. Overall, the combat works very well, though you will sometimes find it a little monotonous as many of the enemies can be vanquished with the same simple set of moves.
Missing the Mark
While in many ways Rise of the Argonauts is a good game, it is not without its flaws. I already mentioned the fact earning favor in conversations can sway the choices you make. You also will find the difficulty in the game rather inconsistent. Most of the lower level enemies can be vanquished rather easily just to see that difficulty spike severely when facing off against some of the bosses. I found myself replaying more than a few of those battles, and sometimes that got rather old.
Difficulty is not the only thing that is a little on the inconsistent side. As strong as the story can be, the voice acting can leave you a little flat. Many times the tone and inflection with which a character speaks just does not seem to match what is being said. One notable exception to this is Pan; the legendary satyr’s dialogue is one of the high points in the voice acting, making you look forward to any time you need to talk to him.
As frustrating as these things can be. there is one issue with them game that is more annoying by far: the bugs. Rise of the Argonauts is glitchy. Characters will clip through items, screens will freeze for a short time, and many other little bugs will become a rather large annoyance. None of them was worse that one I had right before the final boss battles of the game.The screen was flickering so much I could not even see what was happening, and I had to consult a guide to figure out what I was supposed to do as I could not see what was going on. Fortunately, that was the only time I faced that dramatic a glitch.
Still One to Consider
Flaws and glitches aside, I really did enjoy playing Rise of the Argonauts. When the various elements come together correctly, it is truly a joy to play. If you are able to overlook some of the problems, you will find a game that, while not excellent, is still worth playing through. Rise of the Argonauts gets a 7 out of 10.