Monsters, blades, magic, heroes, gods, and utterly memorable stories. These are the ingredients for many ancient Greek myths - which often translate well into exciting videogames. In this case, the legendary story of Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece has been given the spotlight, turned into an action role-playing game that loosely follows the Greek tale. So pick up your sword, noble warrior king - and venture into lands not often seen by mortal eyes...
A tribe called quest
Rather than strictly follow the original mythological story, Rise of the Argonauts starts with an action packed opening that sees the quick and unexpected assassination of Jason's fiancé, Alceme, by a brutal assault by invaders.
With barely any time to grieve, you take the king on a mission of vengeance against those who have killed his betrothed on their wedding day, leading to a mission for the Golden Fleece in an attempt to restore her life.
Joining you on this quest are several well known companions, each with their own abilities, such as the gigantic Hercules and the near invincible hero Achilles. Each of these Argonauts are automatically controlled and will happily battle without your aid, although fighting with them often reveals their special techniques which become beneficial to success.
Are you... a god?
As it's Jason you're controlling for the duration, the warrior king easy to use in the many skirmishes you'll engage in, with a nice variation of moves and skills to take advantage of. You can switch between a mace, sword and spear, making use of their strengths and swapping them immediately in the midst of combat to avoid their weaknesses (which is effectively a rock, paper, scissors balance, where swords are good against spearmen yet poor against macemen, and so on).
These weapons are complimented by a range of basic strikes, dodging and blocking manoeuvres and lethal attacks which can permanently put down your foes - all of which makes for tactical and satisfying combat. There are also powers granted by the gods of Ares, Apollo, Hermes and Athena, each representing a different set of abilities to select and upgrade. Intriguingly, these powers are purchased by making decisions which shape Jason's personality.
Being a king isn't just about conquering enemies, so your judgment is constantly called upon to make dialogue based decisions for your people, taking part in public petitions, moral quandaries and other duties which sometimes have to be made within a sharp time limit. This adds variety to proceedings, while every choice made earns favour with the relevant god - a bold approach may please Ares, for example, while Hermes appreciates more cunning responses. The tone of your responses can be used to increase your relationship with a chosen deity and earn relevant powers.
The Argo awaits
The overall experience from Rise of the Argonauts is a novel one, as you mix fantasy action with role-playing style design and interesting dialogue choices which flow nicely in the characters' conversations. There is a lot of atmosphere in many of the scenes as well, offering a lovely mixture of visuals and ably composed music by Tyler Bates (composer of hit movie 300) bringing everything together.
Rise of the Argonauts takes you on an enjoyable voyage which will appeal to fans who like a mixture of role-playing elements, action, magic and mythology - so instead of stepping into the shoes of a hero, why not step into his sandals instead?