Beowulf – Xbox 360

Back in the glory gaming days of the late80’s/early-90s, games based on film licenses were almost literally ten a penny. It seemed that a quick browse of the shop shelves on any given format would see you confronted with a mass of swiftly produced titles based on the latest blockbuster. And we’ve all heard the story of the E.T. game almost single handedly bringing the game world to its knees.

Thankfully in these modern years much more thought is put into crafting these spectacular masterpieces we all love to play. But then Beowulf comes along, and we’re reminded of those disastrous early days once again.

Beowulf, the film – famed for its 3D sections (what, is this the 70s again?) – was given a widely "meh" reception by most critics, with its reliance on its spectacular visuals and computer based dazzling effects being criticised by the more discerning film goer.

So it is little surprise that the game of the film flows down the same old well trodden street of ripping-off its nearest video game equivalent, and hoping that it might somehow gain a few fans that’ll make the whole thing worth while.

The game in question this time around is the glorious God of War, which Beowulf desires to play similarly to. Well, I say similarly. I’d be more reasonable to point out that it simply takes almost every plus point from the much loved series, and tries to craft something that’s just about different enough to stop the lawyers calling.

Remember the Quick Time Events of God of War? You know, the ones that gave you a button to press in a few seconds to perform an outlandish move to slaughter a huge boss type monster? Well, they’re right here too, and working in blatantly the exact same manner as Sony’s masterpiece.

But imitation is indeed sometimes a very good thing. Particularly in the video game world when ideas can be plucked from various games to push the genre forward huge mighty steps. Unfortunately, although Beowulf does ultimately do everything that God of War did, its performance in each area is well below par.

For starters, this isn’t one game to last you an age. A smidge over 5 hours is all it took for me, beginning to end, before the game was confined back to my gaming shelf of unwanted goodies. And there’s no reason to jump back in for a second try, with only the strictly linear story available to play with absolutely zilch in the way of side-missions to beat in order to extract a little more fun from this dull title.

Although puzzles do indeed play a role in proceedings, they never become anything more than simply button presses when standing in the right position. And the vast majority of enemies you’ll encounter will be beaten by the same simple combo attack you learned right at the very start of the game. Your enemies being about as intelligent as an uneducated turnip.

It’s visually that sums Beowulf up perfectly for me. Though a screenshot of said title can look obviously high quality, to watch it move springs up all kind of blatant animation and motion errors that no game post Assassin’s Creed, well, any game released on the PS3 and Xbox 360 should suffer from. And to have your allegedly all powerful character stuck behind waist high scenery with no way over is simply ridiculous in this day and age.

Verdict

As film licensed titles go, this is far from the worst. Though that says more about the quality gamers are used to rather than any praise for Beowulf. It lasts a mere weekend, and you’ll barely manage to extract any fun out of it for the whole time.

Recommended only to obscenely patriotic fans of the film, who wouldn’t know a good game if it came and kicked them square in the soft bits.