Eragon is a third-person video game released for PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows, developed by Stormfront Studios and published by Vivendi Games. Also released are unique versions of Eragon for the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, and mobile phone handheld gaming systems, primarily developed by Amaze Entertainment.
The game is based upon the 2006 Eragon film, which is loosely based on the 2002 book Eragon, by Christopher Paolini. The game was released on November 14, 2006 in the United States of America, on November 24, 2006 in European Countries and on November 23, 2006 in Australia in order to coincide with the release of the film. In the game the player takes on the role of the protagonist from the book and film, Eragon, and occasionally controls his dragon Saphira.
The majority of the game is taken up by third-person combat, usually on foot. At the start of the game the player can use four "combo" attacks. Additionally, they can use three basic magic attacks: magic push/pull (Thrysta Vindr), magic shield (Skölir), and magic fire (Brisingr). These three magic attacks can be utilised in different ways (for example, Brisingr arrows, or throwing spears in baskets magically). On the PC and console versions (excluding the Xbox 360 version) there are sixteen levels.
Some missions permit the player to use the dragon Saphira in combat. The gameplay mechanics within these levels are largely similar to those in ground-based levels, with the exception of some different attack moves (such as tail attacks). Protagonist Eragon sits on Saphira's back during these sections, and can be made to fire magic arrows. The player has no choice as to whether or not they use Saphira. Similarly, the player cannot use Saphira in ground-based levels: they can call for her and she will swoop past, but it is not possible to use this feature to ride Saphira. There is a multiplayer co-op mode which allows two people to play through the main storyline. It is possible to switch from playing a one-player game to a two-player game at any time. There are no Internet multiplayer options.
On April 18, 2006 Vivendi Universal Games announced that they were to publish a video game adaptation of the Eragon film to be released in December of the same year. It was slated to appear on most of the major game platforms (PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable and PC). The console versions were set to be developed by Stormfront Studios, who had previously worked on the game adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Amaze Entertainment, who had previously worked on the game versions of Pirates of the Caribbean and Over the Hedge, were to develop the handheld versions. On the same day Vivendi announced that the first possible chance to see the game would be at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in May 2006. On May 11, 2006 it was confirmed by Yahoo that the game had been in development since pre-production of the film.
The game was previewed at Comic-Con 2006, where the public was allowed to play only one level named the Daret Bridge. The enemies consisted entirely of Urgals, and the player had to overcome several obstacles using magic and Saphira. Christopher Paolini played other levels at Comic-Con, such as Spine Mountains. The game was also shown at the 2006 Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany. Actress Sienna Guillory, who plays the elf Arya in the film, made personal appearances at the Vivendi stand to promote the game. In October 2006 it was announced that the actors from the Eragon film would lend their voices to the game adaptation. Specifically, Edward Speleers (playing the title character), Sienna Guillory (Arya), Garrett Hedlund (Murtagh) and Robert Carlyle (Durza) were slated to lend their voices.
The console and PC versions of the game are very similar, focusing on the same style of gameplay. However, the Xbox 360 edition features two exclusive levels. One is on foot as Eragon, and Saphira is controlled in the second mission. It also features the Kull: an enemy from the novels. However, there are differences between their description in the novels and their appearance in the games. In the books they are eight feet tall and wield the same weapons as other Urgals, but the game depicts them as twelve-foot-tall brutes wielding flaming clubs. The handheld games are significantly different from the PC and console versions. The Game Boy Advance game centers on role-playing rather than combat, whilst the PSP game focuses on multiplayer action and aerial dragon levels. The DS edition uses its touchscreen in the battle system.
A version was released for the mobile phone. It allows alternate control of Eragon and Saphira, but unlike the console versions it allows multiple paths to be taken whilst still following the main storyline and allows customization of the playable character (in terms of skills which can be selected). The mobile game also provides a cheat code which, when entered into the console versions, causes the "fury mode" to become available. The Official Strategy Guide was published by Primagames and authored by Eric Mylonas. On December 6, 2006 a preview of the guide was made available from the Sierra webpage.
GameSpot rated the game 4.2 out of 10, and GameSpy gave it a similar score of 2 out of 5. PC Gamer UK slated the PC version of the game, describing the plot as "thinner than hospital undies", complaining about the tedious and repetitive side-scrolling action. They ended up summarising it as "a profoundly uninspiring tie-in" and gave it 53%. IGN came to a similar conclusion, primarily criticising the poor camera, unsophisticated combat and shortness. They rated the game 4.7 out of a possible 10.
However, the handheld versions of the game generally received more positive reviews. The Nintendo DS version received a positive review from IGN, who praised it for its "solid gameplay, enjoyable quests, being long for a movie license, and having thorough menu and tutorial system". It received 7.5 out of a possible 10. IGN said that it is surprisingly well developed for a Nintendo DS game.
Eragon on the PSP might as well be called Saphira. Whereas all of the other video game versions of Eragon put you in the shoes of the titular hero, the PSP version puts you in the role of Saphira, Eragon's scaly blue dragon companion. It seems like a great idea to make a flight combat game starring a bunch of dragons, but unfortunately Eragon is grounded by some frustrating control problems and unfortunate level designs. But despite those problems, there is some fun to be had by flying around as a dragon, chomping on goats, dropping boulders on enemy structures, and spitting fire at flying foes.
You play as Saphira, a magic blue dragon who has a special bond with her rider, Eragon. It's your job to fly overhead and protect Eragon as he sets about saving the world from evil. You do this by flying through nine different levels, completing mission objectives such as killing enemies, protecting allies, racing through narrow corridors, and using magic to clear pathways. None of the levels are on rails, so you can fly around at your leisure. The problem is that most of the levels take place in confined areas, so you'll usually be flying around in narrow canyons, within constricting city walls, and through underground passages. As a result, you'll spend a lot of time bumping into walls and cruising around mazelike pathways trying to figure out where you're supposed to go. This isn't an open-skies combat game where you get to soar through the clouds and dogfight with enemies, which is disappointing given that some of Saphira's moves are actually quite fun and satisfying to pull off.
There are nine levels in the single-player game, three of which are basically tutorials. Since it only takes 10 or 20 minutes at most to finish a level, you can burn through the single-player game in just a couple of hours. As you play through single-player, you'll unlock arena levels, which are multiplayer stages where you can go up against as many as three bots or real, live players in 12 different game modes. There are only six arena stages, and they suffer from the same design problems as the single-player stages. However, with so many game modes to choose from, you can spend a lot of time with the multiplayer game--just as long as you're willing to forgive the frustrating control scheme.
The multiplayer modes are basic variations on standard competitive multiplayer game types. In Rescue the Maidens, you have to fly to an enemy base, pick up one of your maidens, and then return her to your own base on the other side of the map. In Totem of the Ancients, you have to pick up a totem and hold on to it as long as possible, earning points the longer you control it. In Demented Doves, you have to catch diseased doves and let them loose inside the walls of an enemy stronghold, thereby "infecting" your enemy. In Butcher's Quest, you have to collect scattered hogs and return them to your pen, but you can also steal your opponents' hogs. In addition to these simple game modes, you'll find the usual deathmatch and team deathmatch modes. The multiplayer game is respectably robust and fully featured, and it's a nice touch that you only need one copy of the game to play. You have access to the full suite of game modes, maps, and options even when using game share.
Eragon sounds great in concept, but poor controls and claustrophobic level designs unfortunately clip this dragon's wings. If you can forgive the problems, you'll find some exciting and enjoyable moments in the game. The multiplayer is clearly the focus of this game, and it is actually somewhat enjoyable. Particularly impressive is the generous game-sharing feature that lets you play this game unrestricted with friends who don't own copies of their own. If you're not interested in a multiplayer game, though, you'll want to look elsewhere to get your fill of high-flying combat. 2b1af7f3a8