Eragon


by Carole Hunter
author awarded score: 60/100

Eragon Review
Publisher: Sierra
Developer: Stormfront Studios
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 2
Reviewed by: Carole Hunter

First of all, I’m sure many of you are already familiar with the story of Eragon, especially as it’s now a much-publicised film adaptation of the popular children’s book. In the main, it revolves around a teenage boy (Eragon) who finds a blue stone, which he soon discovers to be an actual dragon’s egg. The dragon held within duly hatches because she (Saphira) has chosen Eragon to be her dragon rider—and much heroics duly unfold across a land of danger, magic, and fantasy. The content of the videogame consists of Eragon’s journey through the land of Alagaësia to find the ‘Varden’ who are the game’s version of the rebel alliance—or, more to the point, the good guys. Eragon is accompanied in his journey by Brom, who serves as his guide and teacher, and is later replaced by Murtagh, the son of Morzan—betrayer of the dragon riders—who fortunately seems nothing like his father and frequently aids Eragon in his quest. The game is an RPG, hack-and-slash adventure with some magic thrown in for good measure, and its content will likely appeal to the more novice and younger gamer rather than the hardcore gamers among you, mainly as it’s a fairly simple game and is unlikely to pose much of a lasting challenge.


The first half of the game sees the player venture forth alongside Brom, and then—Warning: SPOILER ALERT—after the poor old soul dies, it is then that Murtagh takes his place. The game offers up a standard-issue single-player mode and also a two-player option as well, which is a handy ‘drop in-drop out’ co-op mode that certainly helps to make the whole experience somewhat more interesting.

When the game opens, the player is given the choice of playing through on ‘Easy’, ‘Medium’ or ‘Hard’ mode. While battling through each of the game’s level, players will learn different fight combinations, which are easy to apply and thankfully aren’t too hard to remember. Also, players are rewarded with better moves as they progress through the story—ultimately ending up with the attainment of the mighty dragon slayer sword, ‘Zar’roc’.

The game offers up an Auto Save feature and each time a level is finished players are shown a map of progress before the next stage of Eragon’s journey. There are also countless handy checkpoints, and there’s always the option to go back to any level already completed, which grants the opportunity to find and collect secret eggs to unlock special features. However, there’s scant little inspiration to get excited over though, as these extras only range from the likes of concept art to commentary. Yet, that said, if all 18 in-game eggs are collected then a bonus mission is unlocked.


Aurally, Eragon’s game music is repetitive almost to the point of annoyance, and players may well even find themselves turning down the sound on their TVs. However, the music supporting the credits is reasonably good. As for the game’s graphics, they’re not exactly the best, though the lack of top-tier quality isn’t a distraction and the whole thing generally feels similar to an existing Lord of the Rings videogame. Sadly, the in-game camera angle is fixed, which—in this writer’s opinion—somewhat impairs the game, as players will automatically want to seek out an alternative/more advantageous viewpoint.

Eragon’s levels offer little by way of variation and are largely linear in terms of execution and gameplay—even when riding their dragon, players can still only ever move forward, which restricts the game’s playability. On the plus side, the video cut-scenes are unique in the fact that they have a storybook feature feel and their colours exude a pleasant washed out pastel effect.

The in-game character dialogue certainly sounds as though it is has been voiced by the cast from the current feature film, but there are no subtitles to accompany the vocals, which could make it difficult for the hard of hearing to follow—and may even prevent full game enjoyment. Players with hearing impairment will also not be able to hear Eragon casting spells or immersed in conversational pieces, which would otherwise aid them with certain challenges. However, the on-screen hints and combinations are all visibly delivered, so it’s not a total loss.


The only female character that players can use is their dragon Saphira. The flight controls for Saphira are easy and straightforward enough, though it’s a bit disappointing that players don’t get to fly with her more often. The other female character in the game is Ayra, guardian of the dragon egg—Eragon has to rescue her from imprisonment before rushing her to the Varden in order to remedy her poisoning. Unfortunately, she is not a playable character.

As a videogame interpretation, Eragon is a touch more faithful to the book than the Hollywood version, but if you are after lengthier play value, this is probably not the game for you. Also, the gameplay does grow extremely repetitive occasionally, though Eragon will still certainly appeal to fantasy lovers and existing hardcore Eragon fans. While there is a degree of enjoyment to by garnered from Eragon it’s still a game that probably won’t inspire much in the way of return visits as clawing advance of boredom is likely to beat down any lasting longevity.