First look at ‘Eragon’

I didn’t manage to get into much more detail on All Games Interactive about Eragon, pretty much because I sounded like a rambling fool. Well, here’s another shot at it — this time in written form.

If you don’t know the story of “Eragon,” it’s a fantasy novel by Christopher Paolini. It’s a little of “Star Wars” mixed with “Lord of the Rings,” where a farmboy named Eragon finds a dragon egg, befrends the dragon inside (named Saphira), and eventually finds out that it’s his destiny to be a Dragon Rider, which is sort of like the fantasy equivalent of the Jedi Order — but with dragons instead of light sabers.

I got a look at the basic combat structure, where I got to swing a sword with Eragon while he was getting backup from a couple of other non-player characters. The combat system seeks to link combos in a way where one combo can open the door to another one — and if Stormfront manages to pull this off, it won’t be a simple matter of mashing buttons. One combat element I should point out is that there are some instances where Eragon can summon the dragon Saphira for some help. A little blue dragon-wing icon appeared over a bridge filled with flaming-arrow shooting enemies — one press of the button, and Saphira comes along and eradicates the bridge. Problem solved.

I also checked out the dragon flight combat, which reminded me a lot of Panzer Dragoon, where you control the dragon like you’d control a plane. This is essentially Saphira’s time to shine. She can breathe fire or use her tail to destroy ground targets. A second player can hop in and play Eragon, who can deflect attacks as well as fire off magic arrows that can blast away groups of enemies.

The scenery in the Xbox 360 version I saw looked very good, though it would probably take a fan to tell me how accurate it is to the Eragon world. I’ll post art once I get the chance — perhaps in the column Thursday?