While on foot, combat is split between ranged attacks and melee attacks. You can use the bow to pick off enemies from a distance; however the damage isnít much unless you wait for a short controller shake. This takes time though, so your target may not be as far off as it once was when you are ready to shoot.
On the surface, the number of melee combo attacks looks impressive, but in practice, you only end up using one or two moves a majority of the time. Enemies take a few hits before then come down; although once you take care of one, two are already there waiting for you. Combat is repetitive and not all that interesting. It also doesnít help that the hit detection will render some of your swing worthless. Once you begin unlocking magic, however, the combos become useless since a few well-cast spells (like the Fire spell) mean instant death whereas combos usually take a few more hits.
I was actually disappointed that magic wasnít better integrated with the combat. With the exception of combining fire and ranged attacks, producing flame arrows, the two systems donít work well together. Once you build up a rhythm with your melee attacks, it is hard to stop and cast a spell. Also, spell targeting is rough, so even if you are beating down on some helpless soul, thereís no guarantee the spell will hit the same target.
Magic makes for some enjoyable moments, but also introduces a few balance issues. Telekinesis is the most used spell, and allows you to push or pull enemies. Usually you can quickly dispatch enemies by knocking them off high places. Once you learn the fire spell, things really spin out of control. Fire engulfs enemies in a blaze, causing them to run around like fools Ė most of the time over the edge of a platform. With this spell in your arsenal, thereís little reason to waste your time with others.
As you (and your partner) defeat enemies, two bars at the bottom of the screen move towards each other. Once the two touch, you can enter a powered-up mode, making your melee attacks deadly. In concept, and with a friend, this is a great idea and adds a big of friendly competition. When with the A.I., it is a chore since youíll likely have to work the bar all the way across the screen.
As movie licensed games go, Eragon is about as bad as they get. The concept is there, but nothing works. It is a simple matter of the concept not being a great match for the license.