Agon: Lost Sword of Toledo Review

An adventure game we wish had agon.

Review by Lewis Denby
Published 20th October 2008

Agon: Lost Sword of Toledo

  • Developer: Private Moon Studios
  • Publisher: Kalypso Media
  • Release Date: 22nd February 2008

I've read some thoroughly depressing words around the internet suggesting that the new Agon is quite a good adventure game. God knows what would happen if these people got their hands on ICO.

Agon: Lost Sword of Toledo is not good. It is, in fact, stupendously bad; a perfect example, if nothing else, of how to create a mind-crushingly dull computer game that resembles a low-res screensaver with occasional things to click on. Remember when Myst came out in 1993 and all the mums were impressed, even though it was a bit rubbish? I doubt even the mums will be impressed by this. It's practically the same as that fifteen-year-old tosh, either way.

At least things like Myst were a bit different at the time. Nowadays, we're faced with so many of these astonishing videogame-excuses that I want to curl up in a ball and sob uncontrollably for weeks on end – or at least punch those responsible squarely in the jaw. It's the fourth in a series of games that's been spectacularly decreasing in quality since conception, and it's about some smug, plum-faced British Museum w[orker – Ed.] who's incapable of speaking like an ordinary human being. He's off to investigate a recently deceased painter for a reason that's never properly explained, and it inexplicably becomes his quest, alongside uncovering some obligatory dark secrets, to save the painter's rubbish, whiny daughter from an arranged marriage she's threatening to kill herself over.

Guess what? I don't care.

Even the most morbidly dull plots in videogames usually spark up some sort of interest, but there's so little to like about any of the characters and so little to do other than talk to them that I found myself continually wishing I were somewhere else. Perhaps in a car crash, for example. I'd have enjoyed that a lot more.

Puzzles are either stupid, broken, or a combination of the two. The game's first task involves taking a biscuit to a guitarist so he'll play you some songs, and perhaps give you the name of a melody that plays on a mysterious music box that doubles up as a safe, so you can figure out the password to get inside it. Guitarist fed, he plays. And it's none of those songs. Because you haven't done it three times, which is how many repetitions this puzzle requires before it prompts anything to happen. That trick solved, it's time to head on to the game's next lifeless location, which could be an extraordinarily difficult thing to achieve, because unless you've clicked on absolutely everything, the location won't be marked on your map, even though that hell-child of a daughter told you it was two minutes ago.

Spectacular so far, eh?

Those expecting some eye-candy to contrast the horrific gameplay can give up hope as well. The visual display doesn't have the courtesy to stretch beyond pre-rendered backgrounds stuck at a horrific 800x600, with poorly textured polygons that look pre-millennium stuck over the top. The interface is awful and smacks of GCSE-level art design, and the graphic novel approach to the loading screens is ludicrously out of place.

Things don't pick up in the sound department, either. Abysmal actors deliver an awful script, and not a single piece of the horrendous dialogue is skippable, which is made even more irritating by the fact that it's almost always necessary to sit through every single conversation option before the next area becomes available. Music cuts in and out almost at random, and while the background ambience has a nice, Spanish authenticity to it, it's hardly enough to provide this diabolical game with any merit.

Agon: Lost Sword of Toledo will appeal to some, though. Those who enjoy watching paint dry, for example. Or fans of waiting for relatives to arrive at the station when their train is running a few hours late. That said, if either of these pastimes appeal to you, you'd be better off doing those instead of spending twenty quid on this crap.

Review Score: 2.6/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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