Stiff control, boring gameplay, obnoxious semi-static cameras, and terrible graphics make this game completely unenjoyable.
For the unacquainted, Rygar: The Battle of Argus is a port of the PlayStation 2 game, Rygar: The Legendary Adventure, which was originally released over six years ago. One would assume that the game would be improved in a port to a current generation console to justify its existence. Unfortunately, Rygar has seen no improvements whatsoever. As such, the game plays, feels, and looks exactly like what it is: a port of a dated, six-year-old game.
Rygar's story is as generic as they come. Evil (the Titans) invades the land, girl (Princess Harmonia) is captured by bad guys (Icarus), boy (Rygar) must save girl. Thankfully, the setting and characters, derived from Greco-Roman mythology, are interesting enough to keep the player's attention. Players trek through this ancient world as the story's protagonist Rygar from a third person perspective.
At this point it seems near impossible to discuss Rygar: The Battle of Argus without mentioning Sony's popular God of War series. Though Rygar predates the series, the two share strong similarities. Both are set in a mythological Greco-Roman world, both are platformer-adventure titles, and both employ similar battle tactics. Rygar uses the Diskarmor, while Kratos uses the Blades of Chaos; both are strong weapons hooked to chains, which give them range and a unique feel. Regardless of the two games' similarities, one major component separates the two: time. During the gap of time between the original release of Rygar and God of War, many games built on the third-person action formula, polishing it to a point of near perfection. Rygar: The Battle of Argus disregards all of the progress made by games like God of War, throwing players back into 2002.
My biggest grievances with Rygar stem from a few key points. The first and undoubtedly largest is its use of in-game cameras. Similar to other games of the time, such as Devil May Cry and Onimusha, Rygar uses a collection of semi-static cameras. As you walk around any given area, the camera follows along a strict track, never panning around you for a better view; this makes the game's fighting and platforming a constant challenge. It wouldn't be such a problem if it didn't show Rygar from the front most of the time.
The camera problems continue thanks to the game choppily switching to new cameras on a whim. Oftentimes when walking into a new area, the new camera angle causes the player's analog controls to flip-flop, making for a confusing and frustrating battle to reach the desired area. This also causes disorientation, sometimes making it hard to realize exactly where you've ended up.
The second major problem with Rygar involves the combat. Even after playing games from that era, such as the aforementioned Onimusha and Devil May Cry, it's obvious that Rygar's battle techniques—although the first of their kind—were both stiff and outdated. Starting a combo in a particular direction means finishing that combo in that same direction, whether you like it or not. When dealing with multiple enemies, you will needlessly take damage because you're unable to react mid-combo to dispense of enemies attacking from behind.
The final condemnation of Rygar lies in its presentation. Graphically, the game looks awful. It is easily one of the worst-looking Wii games, thanks mostly to the fact that Tecmo apparently didn't put an ounce of effort into updating the game's presentation in the slightest. Furthermore, it does not meaningfully use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, even though it forces players to use the unwieldy setup. Considering the Classic Controller closely resembles the PS2 controller, an obvious alternate setup would've allowed players to use either a Classic or GameCube Controller. Rather than using the awkward C and Z buttons found on the Nunchuk controller, players could've used the additional face buttons to perform Rygar's guarding and jumping actions.
Gladiator Mode stands as the lone addition to Rygar: The Battle of Argus. Players enter a small arena and are pitted against multiple waves of enemies (and eventually bosses) that they must dispense with. Three rudimentary motions were added in place of the usual button presses found in the main game; unfortunately, these controls are actually stiffer and less responsive than the original button-based combos.
Rygar: The Battle of Argus is a failure on all fronts. It is a port of what is, in my opinion, a poor PlayStation 2 game (even for its time) that shows no signs of improvement. Not even the obvious addition of motion control made it into to the main game, which could've made controlling the Diskarmor an interesting and unique task (though Gladiator mode speaks otherwise). Rygar: The Battle of Argus is a shameless cash-in and should be avoided. Players who feel they need to experience the game are better off rummaging through the clearance bin for a copy of the PlayStation 2 original; aside from the (poor) Gladiator Mode, it is the exact same game, after all.