- Enormous number of weapons and combination attacks, great boss battles, stunning battle animations
- Enemies are too predictable, storytelling lacks polish
Conan might've been elevated to the Mount Olympus-like heights that a certain other warrior has achieved had it not been for the disjointed narrative and dispassionate vocal performances.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
Before there was The Lord of the Rings, there was Robert E. Howard's Conan the Cimmerian. Now, the big brute is starring in his own video game.
But don't call this a comeback: even though it's been 75 years since he was born, Conan's still more than ready to crack a few skulls.
Choose your weapons
Conan might start off with little more than a sword and a health meter, but right out of the gate the hulk's got his pick of three different ways to do battle, and each lends itself to different situations and styles. A blade in each hand deals damage with frightening speed, but equipping a shield instead means enemies have a harder time breaking through blocks. A single two-handed death-dealer can pound the life from anything in a few short strokes, but its sluggish movement demands careful timing.
Since damn near everything you kill drops equipment, the opportunity to change approaches is seldom far away. Conan's path through this dark world might be a straight line most of the time, but his arsenal reads like the inventory checklist for a weapons store: swords, scimitars, halberds, polearms, axes, shields, torches, boulders, and more lie strewn all over the place.
House of pain
The laundry list of armaments is nothing compared to the enormous library of combination attacks Conan can unlock, and each is gorier than the last: limbs are sliced from torsos, heads removed from shoulders, and intestines spilled from corpses cleaved in twain. Fallen foes release red runes to be spent on new repertoire manoeuvres; once learned, most can then be practiced in battle until mastered, at which point additional bonuses are awarded. As if that weren't enough, as Conan gathers pieces of his armour, he gains special powers, like the ability to briefly turn enemies to stone, or call a rain of fire down from the heavens.
From the Barachan Isles to Stygia, the visuals evoke traditional sword-and-sorcery paintings. The level of environmental detail never quite reaches critical next-generation mass, but turning everything from dusty arenas and dank caverns into blood-drenched abattoirs gives the game a powerful sense of warped grandeur.
Dancing with the devil
In truth, it's the simple joy of watching Conan slip in and out of slo-mo as he dispatches evil in dozens of imaginative ways that keeps the whole game from feeling as repetitive as it really is. The simple-minded enemies seldom provide enough of a challenge to warrant such an extensive playbook, though. From witch doctors to monstrous simians, each is locked into a repetitive dance of canned moves, and besting each is a simple matter of memorising their patterns. Far too often success hinges on provoking an attack, rolling away, and then spinning up a powerful combo.
The long and satisfying boss battles against huge fiends like the Elephant Demon and Sand Dragon fare better, even if their timed button-pressing cues owe a great deal to God of War. Waiting more than half a minute for the last checkpoint to load each time you die doesn't do wonders for immersion, but slowly whittling each deity down to size provides some of Conan's most fulfilling moments.
Fans of the Conan books will likely be disappointed by the disjointed narrative and surprisingly dispassionate vocal performances, and most gamers will see the button-tapping mini-games and bare-breasted maidens as the hollow window-dressing they are, but Conan is still an agreeable diversion despite its obvious faults. If only the rest of the game were as inventive as the seemingly bottomless library of animated brutality, Conan might've been elevated to the Mount Olympus-like heights that a certain other warrior has achieved.
Join the newsletter!
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Ballistix Sport AT
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Apple iMac Pro
Toys for Boys
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Tivoli PAL BT
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
ESET Internet Security
ESET Smart Security Premium
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Office 365 Business Premium isn’t one-size fits all but if you’re the right sized business for it to make sense, there’s a good amount of value to be found in the package’s comprehensive software offering.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Nokia 7.1 review: A modest and modern mid-tier option
- 3 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 4 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
- 5 Apple iPhone XS review: Astonishment at a price
Latest News Articles
- Fortnite and PUBG could be banned in China
- Epic Games cuts the once-loved 'Infinity Blade' series from the App Store
- Resident Evil 2 Hands On Preview
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards Nominees Announced
- Support for AUD finally comes to Steam (with a catch)
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?