Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Played: Kaan - Barbarian's Blade (Playstation 2)

Format: Playstation 2     Also On: PC (Windows)
Developer: Eko System     Publisher: Dreamcatcher     Release: 2004 (PS2 version)
Progress Type: Abandoned (very early on!)

I'm a huge fan of Conan the Barbarian (the movies and especially the original Robert E Howard tales) so one of my little gear grinders is the fact that there hasn't been a decent game for the character. The Playstation 2 Conan game was both dull, clunky and laughably poor in many places. The unrelated PS3 title was a tiny bit of an improvement but still nothing more than a tedious God of War wannabe. I didn't play the PC Conan MMO but I would hazard a guess that it too is no classic given how little I see it mentioned. I've pretty much given up any hope at this point but I'm always up for a Conan imitation if it does what the 'official' games can't which is how I ended up purchasing this copy of Kaan: Barbarian's Blade for the PS2. It popped up on ebay whilst I was looking at other stuff and the fact that it was a PS2 game I hadn't heard of before was enough to get me intrigued. The P+P inclusive price of £3 was likely also a major selling point so I bought it with zero expectations (based on the cheap-looking CG cover art).

Does it fill the Conan-shaped hole in my gaming diet though? Does it b******s (that's a firm "no" if you are reading from outside the UK and aren't familiar with some of our colourful phrases). On a technical level, it's fine. The graphics are simplistic and nothing to shout from the rooftops about but the frame-rate is decent, the camera is easy to control and there didn't seem to be any glitchiness that you might associate with small budget software like this. That's half the battle won then. Unfortunately, I was less impressed with running about in uninteresting locations and dispatching enemies with the same two-hit combos, pausing regularly to smash crates and barrels for the collectables inside.

Don't worry: you will soon have some crates to beat up for a change.

The plot and characters are - amusingly - so similar to something you'd find in a Conan book that it's almost like playing one of the classic Sensible Soccer games where player names are slightly altered but fool nobody. A magical orb has been stolen by the evil sorcerer Tothum Siptet and so Kaan must embark on a quest to retrieve it for the queen of Asaquan. That's the brief synopsis but there's little reason to care about such a by-the-numbers scenario.

Maybe I'm not qualified to commentate on this game when I gave up after a few levels but find me somebody else who wants to play a Conan-inspired game with dull combat and bajillions of crates to break and perhaps I'll bother to put together a defence. The back of the box advertises 17 levels but I genuinely have better things to do than force my attention span to digest this excruciatingly yawnsome affair. You know a game is boring when you find yourself looking around the room at the wallpaper or light fittings rather than focusing on...smashing barrels.

Kaan is far from being "the worst game ever" but really, there's nothing here for me to see and I can't actually think of anything else to type about it. So, er, don't go out of your way to acquire a copy is what I'm trying to say. I think.

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