|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: Dec. 4, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
On the other side of the coin are the visuals, which I have to admit, look fairly decent for a handheld title. Well, at least when looking at the environment. The variety of different stages the title presents you with is quite solid and really helps give the game an atmospheric position. Unfortunately, the character and enemy sprites look quite plain, with this claim made ever more apparent when you take a look at some of the bosses. For instance, I thought that the giant sea serpent from the first few hours in would be intimidating, but due to its low polygon count, I could barely make out what it was. The U.I., however, is very easy to discern and makes for a quick learning curve. The map is simple, but offers enough utility to show your location, key positions in the area, and your current objective. It would have been nice to see a little more lighting and shadowing detail, but I suppose you can't expect much from a movie-to-game crossover.
Sadly, the audio department barely fares any better. It is quite disappointing that most of the time I couldn't even tell if there was any music playing at all. This was quite frustrating to me as the movie had an excellent soundtrack that really invoked the essence of the action and scenery. What little music that pops up in Beowulf is immediately drowned out by annoyingly repetitive groans, grunts, and weapon slashes. And while these all sound like they should, they could have balanced the music and sound effects a little more effectively. This usually results in just turning off the game's sound and replacing it with some music of your own. I will give the game this though: the occasional cutscenes are well put together. Voice acting is on par with the movie and helps attempt to move the story along. The problem with this is that the epic nature of the breaks in the gameplay really don't feel appropriate compared to the rest of the game, which feels boring, tedious, and depressing.
To be honest, there really is nothing more to say about Beowulf on the PSP. The battle system is old and redundant, the visuals are lackluster, the music is non-existent, and there isn't even a multiplayer option. What you are left with is a poor cash-in on a great movie that people will still unfortunately buy because it bears the name of "Beowulf." The new storyline the title presents you with is interesting and deep, but the sheer mediocrity of every other aspect of the game will detract you from wanting to know what happens next. Overall, if you are looking for a quality action experience on the PSP, there is more than enough available on the PSP. Most notably, God of War: Chains of Olympus, which is set to debut in March. So yeah, just wait for that. You'll thank me later.
CCC Freelance Writer