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Beowulf: The Game (Xbox 360) artwork

Beowulf: The Game (Xbox 360) review


"It doesn't help that the soldiers that follow you around are about as intelligent as the nicely bumpmapped rocks you'll constantly be wandering over. They constantly run out and bash the crap out of anything they start to see... even if they're as harmless as little blue crabs or as powerful as one of the huge ogres that take too damn long to take down. Oh, and don't think that you'd just let them die and keep going without them. If all of your worthless peons die, it's game over. It's every bit as annoying as it sounds. The peons are also used to open doors, which you assist by pressing the right button in time with the music that's playing in order to cheer them on. I guess even Beowulf, carnal warrior and Norse badass, likes a good game of Dance Dance Revolution."



If playing through Beowulf: The Epic: The Movie: The Game taught me one thing, it taught me this:

Beowulf is carnal.

Throughout the entire game, and even plastered all over the back of the box and inside the manual, you'll see that word strewn in nearly every paragraph. Carnal. It's even used in one of Beowulf's numerous abilities: The CARNAL FURY. With a scream, Beowulf gets enhanced strength as the screen turns blood red, indicating his carnal state, making him invincible despite the fact that his health steadily drops, so when your CARNAL FURY mode runs out and you're stunned for about a second or so, getting hit once will take you out. Furthermore, the ending you see is based on how much you use your CARNAL FURY, so it serves as more of a faux gameplay extender than an actual, helpful skill. It's a good idea that's executed poorly, and such a problem tends to constantly pop up throughout the game.

Taking a cue from God of War, Beowulf has many big boss fights with just as many of those "press the button when it pops up on the screen" moments. The only difference here is that sometimes you have to mash a button repeatedly, and then the button you need to press changes to a single-press, then back to more button mashing. It makes what would otherwise be a fun, albeit ripped-off version of God of War's boss battles into a tedious memorization exercise.

It doesn't help that the soldiers that follow you around are about as intelligent as the nicely bumpmapped rocks you'll constantly be wandering over. They constantly run out and bash the crap out of anything they start to see... even if they're as harmless as little blue crabs or as powerful as one of the huge ogres that take too damn long to take down. Oh, and don't think that you'd just let them die and keep going without them. If all of your worthless peons die, it's game over. It's every bit as annoying as it sounds. The peons are also used to open doors, a process you assist by pressing the right button in time with the music that's playing in order to cheer them on.

I guess even Beowulf, carnal warrior and Norse badass, likes a good game of Dance Dance Revolution.

It's not all bad, though. The DDR segments are actually rather fun, despite the fact that they're also quite short. The normal, button-mashing combat works well enough, and some of the kills are especially satisfying. One of my favourites is when Beowulf impales a man with a spear, slings the enemy around in a circle, and smashes him into the ground before pulling it out by stomping on his chest and yanking the shaft up. It's awesome, and it's done in slow-motion as the camera zooms in on Beowulf and it makes the kill feel that much more brutal.

The graphics are also pretty nice. While they may not be the best the 360 can offer, they have enough polish to feel next-gen. Bosses are large and have a sense of being epic, like a boss fight from God of War, only with slightly more predictable attack patterns.

There's a lot of good ideas used in Beowulf: The Epic: The Movie: The Game, but none of them are really used to their full potential. It's sad, because beneath all the grime there's actually a pretty good game. It just takes far too much searching to achieve it.

Rating: 6/10

espiga's avatar
Staff review by Kyle Stepp (December 10, 2007)

Espiga likes big butts, and cannot lie.

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