Age of Conan - hands-on

Conan. The name stirs images of ludicrously-huge muscles, furry pants, giant swords and the Governor ofCalifornia gurning like a champ. It's a world, and a character, with an instantly familiar atmosphere. It's perfect for an MMO - a genre that lives or dies on the appeal and magnetism of its world. Let's face it, you can't go far wrong with a land populated by bloodthirsty warriors, evil sorcerers and vampy,buxomladies clad in little more than a lick of paint.

Another natural thing to imagine when you think of Conan is the clash of steel on steel. It's your typical, David Gemmell-esque fantasy world, where men are real men and women are, as we've already mentioned, aggressively sexual. But in a genre rammed with orcs, trolls, elves and other non-human oddities, Conan's traditional fantasy approach becomes an unlikely breath of fresh air. For our money, felling another human character is noticeably more satisfying than slaying yet another ruddy Murloc.

Importantly, though, Conan's combat also takes a step away from the MMO standard. If you've never delved into the world of the massively-multiplayer phenomenon, then here's a quick lowdown on how the genre simulates combat - you click on your target once, and wait until it dies. That's a purposefully basic summary, of course. There are usually attack options to choose, magic to perform or ranged assaults to launch. But, effectively, your job is to choose a target and keep selecting an attack until it expires.

Ben Richardson is a former Staff Writer for Official PlayStation 2 magazine and a former Content Editor of GamesRadar+. In the years since Ben left GR, he has worked as a columnist, communications officer, charity coach, and podcast host – but we still look back to his news stories from time to time, they are a window into a different era of video games.