|System: X360, PS3, PC, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
August 14, 2007 - It's no secret that the epic poem of Beowulf has had its share of cinematic adaptations. At least once a year there's some type of direct-to-video release involving the story of the legend. But finally, this story is getting the true Hollywood treatment with an animated feature produced and directed by Robert Zemicks (of Back to the Future and Forrest Gump fame) featuring an-all star cast including Anthony Hopkins and Angelina Jolie!
And, as is the case with many hyper-anticipated movies these days, the movie is also getting the video game treatment. The game focuses on the central character and will be a third-person action platformer. And although it is based off the all-digital feature, this game will have a digital style all its own. Early screens seem to give off a rough and rugged approach to the source material.
One problem the gaming community always had with games based on movies is they have no depth and are way too easy.. But the good thing is that it looks like Beowulf is going to break with that tradition. Certain intricacies and nuances of this game look to make it very complex and engaging. For instance, you will constantly be looking for new weapons and shields because the ones you'll use will break after you use them.
A promising feature of this game is the user defined experience focusing on the building of Beowulf's empire. In fact, the game takes place over many different time periods, and you'll find yourself time-skipping to "hit the highlights" of Beowulf's rule. You will be able to decide the fate of your empire, whether it be light or dark. And every action you make affects the nature of your lands, so choose your destiny wisely!
After completing stages and battles, you'll be able to head off to the Mead Hall. The Mead Hall is basically the focal point from which you'll launch your campaigns and view what you've accomplished so far (sort of like in the Phantasy Star series). You can also use this space to upgrade abilities and analyze the good (or evil) tendencies you have garnered through your various battles. And if you're more of a decorative type, well there's good news here for you too, because you can decide what your Mead Hall looks like!
Since you are playing as heroic tough guy Beowulf, you'd have to have some special powers on your side. And this game definitely brings out the inner demonic or heroic powers in your Beowulf. If you decide to be evil, you'll play host to a series of "carnal" moves that are bloody and gory. But if you tap in to your heroic side, you'll have moves that are more focused and calculated. Either way, you know you'll have some people-ripping fun no matter which side you choose. And there will also be an additional berzerker mode (which will be available whether you are light or dark natured) where you can really lay into the competition. Of course, it'll be one of those moves you can only use in a dire emergency because it will leave you stunned and completely vulnerable for a small amount of time.
And as supreme leader of your land you will have control not only over yourself but over your vast armies as well. You can act as their commanding officers, and they will also have their own set of heroic or carnal moves. And if your armies begin to die off? No fear! You can bring fallen men back by playing a short "warsong" that snaps them back into action!
Unfortunately, licensed games get written off almost immediately as being bad games. But hopefully Beowulf will represent a break in the almost eternal slew of underwhelming licensed games that we've seen so far. And hopefully, for once, ole Beowulf will be represented well!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer