Beowulf is one of these movies licensed games that you will either love or hate. I personally love it, it caters to the casual gamer, has cinematic flavor to it in small bits, combat is very simple (kinda like Conan but bloodier) and the sound and graphics are superbly done. If you are looking for a game that is a remake of the poem than you will be disappointed, if you are looking to have fun then you will.
The aspects that hurt Beowulf as a game are the fact that combat is very repetitive and weapons break way too easily.
One of the neat aspects of the game is the pretty simplified squad tactics that are employed with your fellow Thanes. With the command menu opened you can direct the Thandes to do a few things.Command are basically Y for having your men all help with something, kind of like how in Overlord you used you minons to carry things, B activates your group powers which enables all your men with power, A tells you men to rally on you.
On the rare occasion that you need them to move a boulder or turn a crank, you simply need to direct them to it and then chant along with their efforts by holding the L1 button and pressing the X button to start the chanting sequence where you press the appropriate button and match the rhythm of your tune.
While chanting, you’ll be presented with a rhythm mini-game that focuses on single presses of the square button and longer, drawn-out presses of the triangle button. Even if you don’t engage the morale-boosting mini-game, your Thanes will still labor towards their goal very, very slowllllllllyyyyyyyy.
One instance of this is in order to goad Grendel into fighting, Beowulf and his Thanes must engage in a musical number that has some really great M rated lyrics. Granted, you have to hit every button-press just perfectly in order to hear all of the swear-packed lyrics, and this was our first introduction to the intensely graphic nature of the game, the next graphic depiction is when you are in Grendles mothers cave and she is pretty much almost nude and her minions try to seduce Beowulf.
The comparison of this title to God of War is surely there, the button matching sequences in boss battles are pretty much the same and cinematic, the blood and gore and stop action kills in battles is there too. But, it really works well for this title.
You have your basic light and heavy attacks, a grab move that enables you to beat or throw your opponent by mashing a button and a lock-on/defensive posture you can take by holding down the left trigger.The combos that are available are few but the developers did not focus on that mechanic as much as in the finishing moves and our favorite involves knocking an enemy to the ground, leaping into the air and planting your entire foot in his genitals.
The weapons of beowulf are probably one of the things that really do hurt the title. Firstly, there are only a few weapons that can be found while going through the levels. Secondly, when you do have a weapon in hand it will almost certainly break within a few strikes. Even the legendary weapons break after a little more abuse. The advantage to legendary weapons is that they will survive your Carnal Rage power.
Beowulf can enter Carnal Mode wherein he gains the strength of thirty men, but ignores any sense of propriety or morality. This causes his Thanes to become terrified of their king and repeated use of Carnal Mode will demoralize them. It’s an interesting balancing act.
At the end of each episode, the game tallies up the number of enemies you killed while in Carnal Mode and determines what kind of Beowulf you play as: the benevolent, virtuous king, or the vicious and cruel despot. If you use Carnal Mode too much, it will affect your entire kingdom and make all of your followers sad and dismal, In addition as you progress through the game you pick up good or evil tokens that can be used between Episodes to gain upgrades, these will grant you good or evil powers and also dictate how you rule. One thing about the whole good and evil thing is that while you may feel like you are in control of Beowulf’s destiny, you really are not as the game really has all of it fixed for you to act certain ways or you cannot really proceed.
*******Beware Spoilers Below****************
Defeating the sea serpent
The sequence looks just awesome and the serpent is huge. There are basically three types of attacks from the serpent. One is that it will try and bit you, you press B quickly and break the grasp on you. The second is that it will dive and it’s tail will smash flat on the ground, the third is allot like the first but it’s neck is at ground level so you can use your rage ( RT ) and hit the beast. After draining it’s health to a 1/3 you will have to do a sequence where you hit the neck, it gets knocked out momentarily, you then are prompted to press B rapidly, then A once, doing this will lift the serpents head, you will then jump onto the head above it’s eye and grab a horn, press B rapidly when prompted and then randomly you will have to press a button, do this and you will grab the serpents horn and ram it into it’s eye in a spray of blood! The second act of this is now two serpent heads appear, quickly stun the right head as it will come at you first, do the whole process of insert horn in eye, if you miss this step you will most likely die as two heads are allot better for the serpent than one. So anywho, defeat the second head then the third and out to a cutscene and you gain an achievement.
After defeating the sea serpent you are in a boat heading to find the monster Grendle, the graphics that are here are simply amazing, the rising and sinking of the waves, rain pummeling you with lightening in the distance. What you have to do in this episode is survive four reefs. When you come upon a reef you are prompted to press you LB and then hit X. What happens is you lead you men in what can best be described as the beat to music. Pressing and holding Y for long strokes and X for short strokes, timing is really everything and in each sequence you can only miss 2 notes. Missing the notes and your ship will run into the reef, damaging the ship and draining 1/3 of your health. 4 Reefs and you can only take 2 hits really. The neat thing about this mini game episode is that when you are hitting the X and Y in time the music tempo increases and you can really feel the rhythm of the music.
Episode 2 Kings Road
This episode is a training episode (feels that way) you learn about issuing commands via the LB. Command are basically Y for having your men all help with something, kind of like how in Overlord you used you minons to carry things, B activates your group powers which enables all your men with power, A tells you men to rally on you.
Defeating Grendle is a very easy boss battle really. Grendle jumps thru the door and kills all you men in one shot, all you do is press RT and go into a rage, grab a pillar from the wall with B and hit the Grendle a few times, when his health is depleted 1/3 he will goto the center of the room in a blue blaze around him, approach and it is time for timed button pressing again. Start with B, then follow the progression. Basically do this 3 times and you end the scene by ripping off the Grendles left arm and Beowulf screams alot like the guy in 300