Eragon Review

Eragon the video game for the Nintendo GBA is based on the feature film and New York Times bestselling book of the same name. I have not read the book and at the moment I am writing this review the movie has yet to be released. I can say that I knew of the book about a boy and his dragon and it's youthful author Christopher Paolini. Much beyond that I was pretty much in the dark about it. What I do know is that more often than not games based on fantasy movies, or movies in general, lack the excitement of the source material. Is that the case here? Let's see...

If you own a modern gaming system then there is probably a Eragon game available for it. The portable versions are understandably different than their console and PC cousins, and the GBA version is quite different than its DS sibling. The GBA is more of a traditional turn based RPG while the DS leans toward an action RPG.

If you are not familiar with the book or have seen the movie then you will be a little lost when the game starts off, at least I was. There is no introduction to speak of, suddenly you're just wandering around with some other people fighting everyone who shows up. You are very powerful and none of the battles seem difficult. Turns out that this is more like a prelude to the real game as the lady that you are playing as at the beginning is holding one of the last, if not the last, dragon eggs in the world. Right before she is defeated by the evil guy the blue looking egg she has vanishes. This is where the story and game really start as you now become the innocent country boy named Eragon and you find the egg but you think it's a rare jewel or something. Imagine his surprise when a baby dragon comes popping out! Basically the story is that an evil person has decided to wipe out all of the dragons and dragon riders in the land figuring that the world would be much easier to control that way. Eragon and his new dragon, which he names Saphira after her eyes I believe, hit it off very well and become best buddies while trying to save the world. Along the way they have a great adventure, meet strange new people, see odd new lands, and discover the secret formula for Coca-Cola. Well, most of that they do anyway...

The story, despite not being explained very well at the beginning of the game, is the strongest part of Eragon. Probably not too surprising considering it's based on a bestselling book. But once the initial confusion of the start passes, you will want to keep playing just to see where else the adventure goes. It's presented here in a top-down view similar to many of the Zelda adventures on the GBA, just not as well done. Eragon follows a traditional RPG formula: wander around, find some bad guys, fight, open chest, rinse, and repeat. While the game claims that you can avoid the dreaded “random battle” by running, in practice it doesn't work out that well. Sure you can see a bad guy but once they see you they will turn on their afterburners and chase you for some time. It's usually just easier to stop and fight because while trying to run past these guys you will also end up running past things you'd like to check out. While walking around the land bad guys are shown as a single character; that means you don't know how many there really are until the battle actually starts. Heck, you aren't even sure what they are until the battle starts and by then you could find you're in over your head.

 

Also reviewed on:
  •  · DS 
  •  · PC 
  •  · PlayStation 2 
  •  · PSP 
  •  · Xbox 
  •  · Xbox 360