Sound, Graphics and the

 It truly is a disappointment that style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan
probably won’t become fully voiced, because the sound quality
of this particular title is astounding. While the voice acting may not
always make total sense, the quality of their tone rings as true and
lifelike as if they were standing beside you. Along with the voices in
the game, the music and general sound quality within the areas of AoC
is astounding.

Utilizing my THX-certified Logitech Z-5500 speakers combined with a
Creative Audigy sound card, the 5.1 and music that emerged from the
game was awe-inspiring. Using their Dolby Digital Pro Logic II
technology, the Logitech speakers picked up every nuance within the
sound environment, from the rushing rivers to creeping lava to
ululating Pictish warriors. The sound effects from my own warrior
thundered in a crescendo that often ended with the splatter of a
foe’s brain matter across the ground.

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The music and ambient sounds in Age of Conan immerse you in the game world.

Rarely have I experienced music that I truly enjoyed with an MMOG (even
the EverQuest
theme grew tiresome after awhile), yet the music within AoC was a
testament to my ears. Whenever I would enter a new zone, I’d
often turn up my speakers just to hear the crescendo of vocal lyrics
and instrumental majesty. I can’t say enough about the sounds
and music in AoC; the audio directors truly matched the auditory
scenery with the world that Funcom created.

Just as the music sets players up to be immersed in a fantasy world, so
too has the art direction for Age
of Conan
hit upon the perfect style to encapsulate Robert
E. Howard’s tales of thick jungles and hard-edged northern
wastelands. From the heads on pikes outside of the Connall’s
Valley settlement to the gruesome monsters lurking within the Sanctum
of the Burning Souls, each piece of style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan seems
to just add another chunk to the still forming puzzle.  

In general, the views in Age
of Conan
are simply spectacular. No other MMOG can really
compare to the level of fantastic realism that AoC displays, and few
MMOG development studios would really try to emulate their work. That
said, it would be safe to assume that style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan has
had a fairly large impact on the sales of graphics cards in the last
few weeks. While most computers with an Nvidia 8800GT run the game
perfectly, there are a few computing exceptions that have problems with
Age of Conan
far past what you would attribute to simple graphical slowdown.
However, as I said in my first impressions I’m running style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan on a
fairly modest computer (2.2 Ghz Dual Core, 8800GT 512 MB, 2 GB RAM, and
a decent sound card) without hiccups.

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The graphics in AoC are beautiful.

While the graphics in AoC may be fairly upscale to look at, there are a
number of graphical bugs that still exist within the game world. Many
NPCs often have miscellaneous body parts appearing through their
clothing (including some nipples), while other NPCs randomly have their
eyes closed when you talk to them or hands that appear to big for their
bodies. Of course, all of these things are small, but they only serve
to break the level of immersion in the game for many MMOG players.

On the miscellaneous notes side of the coin, I’d like to also
add a piece about the strange axis behaviors that seem to occur
consistently within Age
of Conan
. While I may be walking around town, my character
seems to “catch” on certain graphical tiles within
in the game, forcing me to either jump around the foreign object or
find some way around it. This may not seem like a big deal, unless
you’re journeying with your party on auto-follow and look up
to find yourself without a group and surrounded by vile creatures. Ouch.

Final Verdict

Despite all of the qualms that I laid against style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan, there
are few MMOGs in the post-World
of Warcraft
era that have filled me with this much
excitement and caused me to stay up into the wee hours of the morning
in order to hit that next level. Each new area opens up a fantastic new
adventure for me to journey through, and I get truly excited when I
open up new options for my chosen class. Though the game still needs
improvement, the developers at Funcom have created a true dedication to
Robert E. Howard’s works. As style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan's game
director Gaute Godager described in his many writings, this game was a
testament to Robert E. Howard’s writings. I expect that
Howard himself would be proud of this epic adventure.

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(4 / 5 Hammers)

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016