Pre-E3 06: Eragon spreads its wings

Multi: Dragon riding and on-foot swordplay highlight movie-based-on-book game

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Haven't heard of Eragon yet? Don't worry. If some in-the-know teen hasn't recited the entire book - which supplanted Harry Potter's latest atop the bestseller list - to you by this summer, the commercials for the movie will surely clue you in. Or, you can just lock yourself in a closet and miss out on a swashbuckling fantasy adventure about a teenage boy (named Eragon) who fights a corrupt king with the aid of a strong sword and a pet dragon - it's your call, really.

At its heart, Eragon the game is very similar to any other hack-and-slasher. However, it does have a few things that set it apart. Namely, that dragon of yours. There are sections in which you actually ride the dragon, using its powerful fire breath and electric tail whip to charbroil enemies or destroy environmental elements like bridges.

Even when you're swinging a sword with your feet on the ground instead of riding lizard-back, the dragon figures into the action. In the level we demoed, Eragon and a human cohort - you're almost always accompanied by a cohort, who fights alongside you and whom a friend can control if you've got one - fought their way all over a mountainous area.

They shed blood across narrow passages, broad plateaus and various wooden bridges, towers and scaffolds. And regardless of whether Eragon was using swords, grapples and reversals up close or arrows or magic from a distance (you have shield, fire and "move stuff with mind power" abilities), the dragon was always around.

Sometimes, the dragon's attacks were triggered by the player, as when she'd swoop down and demolish a wooden guard tower. But other times, it would just randomly show up and grab a helpless foe in its talons, only to carry them off and out of the range of battle.

If the movie is this exciting, we are there.

May 12, 2006

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.
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