Home > Gaming, Opinions (Gaming) > Gaming: Project Pile of Shame – Day Two

Gaming: Project Pile of Shame – Day Two

The project: To spend two hours playing every console game from this generation that I own but have never touched (the ‘pile of shame’), to see if any of them are worth spending more time with. On the second day I played:

Beowulf

Beowful leads a song.

There's something disappointing about having Brendan Gleeson's video game debut being to tell Ray Winstone to rouse his men with a button-matching rhythm game.

System: Xbox 360 (also on PS3 and PC, with another version on PSP)

Reason I’ve never played it: Bought by my brother, who was more forgiving of movie tie-ins than I am (especially ones that come with achievements).

Achievements earned: Eight (240 gamerscore)

Thoughts: In its opening hours Beowulf is very much a movie tie-in game, following the plot of the film fairly rigidly as Beowful battles sea monsters during a race before heading overseas to kill Grendel and going to confront his mother. The game pads all this out by letting you experience what happens on the way to each of these events, when the mighty hero beat up some giant crabs or fought off wave after dull wave of barbarians. It’s pretty much cheap filler to stretch out events, an easy way to make a full length game in the tight time limits that movie schedules enforce and exactly why movie tie-in games have such a bad reputation.

By the time my two hours was almost up the game was starting to mix things up a little, filling in the period between Beowful visiting Grendel’s mother and fighting the dragon of the movie’s climax with a series of quests. King Beowulf, Wiglaf and a group of thanes travel around his kingdom solving various problems. There’s a moral choice in these missions, with you able to purchase ‘good’ upgrades from Wiglaf or ‘bad’ ones from Unferth, points for which are earned by doing different things in combat. The combat itself plays like God of War, down to the boss fights with quick time events and object interaction that requires mashing a button repeatedly, though unsurprisingly it’s not as good as God of War. The presence of the thane allies adds some minor party controls, including a basic rhythm game for boosting their abilities (most of the good upgrades focus on improving the thanes and the boost power) and using them to turn wheels or roll aside route-blocking boulders.

Nothing about Beowulf is inherently bad, it’s just not a particularly impressive game, with what personality it has mostly coming from the film. I suppose it’s a step up from movie tie-ins being outright poor games that feel rushed and are basically a way to extract more money out of fans (or more often from relatives of fans who don’t know any better) but there’s still nothing about it to make it worth playing. What’s more, Beowulf: The Game marks the only time Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins and Brendan Gleeson have leant their voices to a video game and they’re each of them far too talented for this be the entirety of their video game efforts.

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  1. January 3, 2011 at 19:02

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