Beowulf Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Beowulf box art
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. 13, 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

As with the move list, the command list for your personal army is rather small. This is no RTS game. You can order them to move to a certain area, flank you, and put them to work in a few tasks such as moving huge rocks, rowing a boat, and turning a crank. Any interruption from an enemy will typically stop these guys in their tracks. They can also get in the way of your attacks when you enter in the more powerful Carnal Mode, which is the equivalent of an energy boost, but with some repercussions. The Carnal Mode actually attempts to address deeper issues discussed in the original poem. This mode makes Beowulf more powerful, but it also turns him into a beast which his army resents. Beowulf must choose to use this mode wisely as it will give him what he wants, but at the expense of his trusted allies.

Beowulf screenshot

Entering into a chant with the Thanes is a way of goading the enemy into a fight. These chants are in the form of a mini-game in which you must press the buttons in a rhythmical sequence. Here's where you'll experience the reason for the Mature rating as some of these chants are liberally sprinkled with blue language. It's quite funny actually, and adds some much-needed charm to the game. Another component of the Mature rating is the graphic depiction of violence. There is plenty of blood, guts, and severed limbs throughout. You do get used to it, as it becomes overkill after a while. There are only a handful of stock finishing moves which are repeated.

Weapons are consistent with the era. There are no guns or lasers. You'll use a variety of spears, hammers, and swords. Most of the slashing will be done with the swords, but like all weapons, they have a short shelf life. The more you use any particular weapon, the faster it will wear out and eventually become useless. This can be particularly disconcerting later in the game when you're up against enemies with armor. Weapons can fail in the middle of a battle. There are some magical weapons that are supposed to stand the test of time, but that time is also limited. You'll have to continually scavenge weapons from the enemy in order to carry on.

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Graphically the game is inconsistent. There are some really nice scenes, but some of the darker areas don't display enough contrast between characters and background, making things difficult to see. The voiceacting is forced and there is plenty of repetitious dialogue. The soundtrack is really good, managing to convey a sense of another world in another time. Some camera angles make things difficult, but overall the game is mechanically sound as controls are responsive and easy to access.

Beowulf is recommended for a rental. You can blast through the game on the lower difficulty in less than day. You will notice the title says: Beowulf: The Game. That's to distinguish it from the ancient manuscript. I tend to think of it as a disclaimer, or quite possibly a warning.

By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Writer

Features

  • Delve even deeper into the adventure as gamers will play through 30 years of the Beowulf story not seen in the movie to experience more of Beowulf's life and mold their own legacy.
  • The mystical world of Beowulf comes to life in stunning fashion. Powered by the next evolution of the award-winning YETI technology used to create the critically acclaimed Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, Beowulf delivers an unrivalled graphical experience.
  • Army of up to 12 thanes to unlock as players increase their heroic experience (by saving thanes, killing giant monsters, etc.).
  • Players use the thane army to their advantage by giving orders, assigning positions, tailoring weapons to the situation or enemy, and by triggering in-game mechanisms.
  • The thane army evolves with upgradeable weapons (swords, mace, and spears), skills, and abilities.
  • Use legacy experience points to gain thanes, replace weapons and upgrade Carnal abilities. Carnal Power allows the use of stronger attacks and special weapons.
  • Carnal upgrades include less daze after use and prolonged use of Carnal Fury. But if used too much, there will be grave consequences.
  • Dynamic combat system including combos, parries and increasing skills as the player progresses.
  • Grab ability allows Beowulf to hold on to walls or climb, as well as fight up close with visceral hand-to-hand combat against enemies and giant monsters.


    RATING OUT OF 5
    RATING DESCRIPTION
    3.8
    Graphics
    Not a bad looking game, but it's too dark in certain sections. There is also a lot of repetitive stock animation.
    4.0
    Control
    Control is solid and responsive, but there's not a lot of moves.
    3.3
    Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    Average voiceacting. Sound track is good, but the sound effects are repetitive.
    1.1
    Play Value
    You may want to try replaying the game on a higher difficulty setting, but that's the only reason to try it all again.
    2.8
    Overall Rating - Average
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
  • Screenshots / Images
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