Golden Axe: Beast Rider

There is a loot system in place, allowing for upgrades to costumes, weapons, and armor. Even beasts will be able to wear armor. It probably won’t be complex enough to qualify for action-RPG status, but should bring some added variety to the proceedings. To round things out, we saw some traps that spring out of the ground, sized both for you and for certain beasts, so sometimes your beast can get caught in a trap and you’ll have to abandon it and go on foot.

The golden axe itself is an actual “weapon” in the game. We use the quotes because it’s only used to solve puzzles (by throwing it like a boomerang at breakable objects) and to kill demons. It was specifically referred to as “tool” rather than a weapon, which is a bit disappointing, considering it’s in the game’s name and sounds like an awesome uber-weapon for late game bad guy dicing. Oh well.

Overall there were plenty of cool blood-letting animations and creative monsters to fight or ride, but we wonder if the package as a whole will be able to sustain interest. As we said before, it gives that initial wow-factor when you first ride a beast or dissect an enemy in a new way, but will those things be fun on the fourth and fifth times? The game presented us with a decent foundation for hack-and-slasher, but it’s going to need to keep throwing new things at the player to maintain a level of freshness through to the end.

May 16, 2008

Matthew Keast
My new approach to play all games on Hard mode straight off the bat has proven satisfying. Sure there is some frustration, but I've decided it's the lesser of two evils when weighed against the boredom of easiness that Normal difficulty has become in the era of casual gaming.