The other irksome issue comes from the fact that it's not always that clear what you can and can't jump on or jump up to. With much ledge shimmying and old-school jumping required to negotiate some of the more multi-levelled locations (but artificial rails that stop you falling off anything), it's often complete trial and error that gets you through. If the game wasn't so short and easy, such issues could quickly prove bothersome - but as it is they're merely a reflection of a really badly designed game that should have been drowned at the conception stage.
But wait! We haven't even mentioned the role of Saphira the dragon yet. Given that Eragon is actually a dragon rider, it's inevitable that Stormfront had to shoehorn some flying combat sections in there somewhere. But much like the main meat of the game, they're horribly undercooked. The chief issue is the lurching camera system which conspires to give the player no real control over where they're flying, and precious little ability to avoid crashing into an unending procession of obstacles. One really tedious level tasks you with protecting a set of towers while attempting to dispatch the encroaching forces by breathing fire on them, whipping them with your tail or firing magic arrows. The premise is fine, and the spectacle's not bad at all, it's just that you'll lose most of your energy in no time at all unless you're prepared to keep diving into caves to munch on a dove. Designed around a very short loop, you repeatedly take out the same set of forces over and over again until an arbitrary health bar is diminished (despite the fact that the same forces you burned to a crisp reappear a minute after you've flown past them). All told, the process takes far too long and proves unwieldy, and is a classic example of a team struggling to make any portion of the game fun to play.
It's interesting to watch the unlockable 'making-of' clips at the end of the game, because you'd imagine that Stormfront had made some sort of life-changing epic. This, of course, couldn't be further from the truth. The art director, for example, gushes with undisguised pride about how they looked at paintings for inspiration, and tried to translate that awe-struck sense of grandeur into the game. That, on its own, was a fine starting point, but the game suffers immensely on 360 by being such an obvious port of a game that, arguably, was mainly tailored for the limitations of the PS2. Even at the very early stages it's painfully obvious that the game has no right to be released on a next-gen system looking like this. The backdrops aren't too bad (in fact, one level near the end where you're wading through the river is downright gorgeous, though could well be one of two exclusive levels on the 360), with nice lush scenes throughout. Where the game really falls apart is the awful character representations, along with their rudimentary last-gen animations. Just like Japanese hackandslashers like Genji, characters carry on running when they come across a wall, and tumble around with no real sense of connection. Maybe on the PS2 or Xbox you can just about get away with it, but then you remember games like God of War and realise that, no, this is still a bad looking game in every sense. Even the menu system, front end and options are poverty stricken. It just doesn't look or feel like a game that ever got any love.
Error in 2
Like Stormfront's Lord of the Rings effort, you can also play the game in offline drop-in/drop-out co-op, but it's highly unlikely you'll want to torment any of your friends by making them join in the antics. That, on its own, represented the last shred of possible replayabilty, which again calls into question the sanity of SlipClubDJ, a man who allegedly had the spare time and the iron will to endure a second play through straight after his first. Some things in life are just too improbable.
It's unfortunate that Sierra has fallen on its sword so heavily with this ill-conceived film tie-in. Eragon drags up torrid memories of the bad old days when movie licensed games were not only terrible games, but had sod-all to do with the subject matter. Judged on its own merits, it's clearly below par game in every single area imaginable. Technically bereft, poorly designed and coma-inducing to play, it's about as far away from being an example of where gaming is today as you can imagine. Even the most fanatical followers of the novels and the forthcoming movie will be well-advised to steer well clear - unless you actually want to find out what constitutes a dreadful action adventure.
2 / 10