Golden Axe: Beast Rider (360)

Any publisher considering revisiting a classic gaming franchise in hopes of cashing in on the current wave of retro-nostalgia should take the new Golden Axe game as a lesson in what not to do. Unlike recent resurrections like Pac-Man Championship Edition and Mega Man 9, Beast Rider is a terrible game that feels like a slap in the face to fans of the original franchise.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Fans hoping for a worthwhile update to one of gaming's most revered hack-and-slash franchises will be sorely disappointed by this poorly designed and utterly mediocre title.

Belly of the Beast

At this point, it'd be easier to tell you what the game does right rather than what it does wrong. The graphics are decent enough, although the visual style and character design feels like it was ripped straight out of the Heavenly Sword playbook, and the game is unabashedly gory, with gratuitous decapitations and flayed flesh galore.

But that's about it. The rest of the game is littered with problems such as a frustrating control scheme. Your offense will degenerate into an exercise in button mashing while defense is handled by a complicated parry-and-dodge system where enemies unleash color-coded attacks. If an enemy's weapon glows orange, for example, you have to tap L1 to dodge; if it's blue, you tap R1. It sounds simple but it requires fairly precise timing and you're often surrounded by multiple enemies, so it's hard to see what color attack is coming when.

Golden Axe: Beast Rider (360)

Beast Mode

It's also doesn't help that the main character, Tyris, feels so stiff and robotic, moving without any sense of grace or flow in or out of battle. The same goes for the game's titular beasts: They're so cumbersome and poorly designed that it's almost not worth bothering with them. Really, the only reason to ride one is to solve the lame environmental puzzles in order to progress, as they're just about useless in battle.

Oh, and get this: each beast has a special ability that you can activate, like flame breath and stealth mode but doing so consumes their health bar which completely ruins the fun of riding around on a powerful beast. It's bad enough that enemies are hacking away at your mount without having to worry about special attacks draining their health!

Golden Axe: Beast Rider (360)

Beast of Burden

Add in tired and repetitive level designs, a lackluster story and the general absence of fun and you have a title that isn't worth playing. There are nice little touches that fans of the original will appreciate but it's just not enough to save this directionless game. Why they didn't just combine the beat-em-up gameplay of the original with some updated graphics and slap the whole thing onto the PSN or Xbox Live is beyond me but this is definitely one retro-tastic title you should avoid.

PROS: The graphics are decent and the game doesn't shy away from the gore.
CONS: The controls, level design, the story, the combat, the beasts, etc.

Golden Axe: Beast Rider (360)

Comments [24]

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FreeJack

Im 34 years of age. I been playing RPGs all my gameing life. I love this game the harder it is the more fun the game. The bad comments here are bull just becouse if you need a little more skill to play well it's no good. You tell me who wants a RPG that you can win over night?

Sac077

God I Hate Mixed Opinions. Crappy Reviews By The Critics, But Really Good User Reviews. Im Gonna Go With The Users And Pick This Game Up

spiralyguy

Just want to add, I don't think you'd be very successful in this game just button mashing. Compare for example the lord of the rings hack n slash games, in which you could easily button mash until the very end or just repeat one of your more powerful combos. If you button mash in this instead of using the counter system, you get owned.

spiralyguy

This review is garbage. This game is one of the better hack and slash games I've played it sounds like he both sucked at the game and didn't really give it a fair go. The counter system is quite easy even when there are multiple enemies on screen, you don't have to face them, hell, you can be in the middle of a swing and it doesn't matter, your defensive action will override. Very rarely will you have more then one enemy swinging at you at the exact same time. Using beast powers takes off TINY amounts of their health, it's hardly even noticeable and it's a lot better just to use the beasts up then get knocked off and have your opponents mount them. Seriously, when you're doing fire breath or that big stomp move you're basically invulnerable for the duration of the ability, not to mention your character doesn't take damage while your on the beast, only the beast does.

If you liked golden axe, streets of rage, double dragon and the like, this is a pretty decent title.

Terrible review.

sonofnone

why not make it a real time rpg instead of a suck ass title like this one

AndyBurt

Sorry, I had to edit your comment.

solarflarex wrote:

The reviewer knows what he is talking about. Just about everything he says in this article is completely true, especially the fact that he can't handle the awful combat system in this game that makes you resort to button mashing.

The controls are shitty. The beasts are cumbersome. The graphics aren't on par with any current next gen title....

Screw it, your comment was too long.

ethermoon2008

Reviewer.

Granted sega isnt what it used to be. That much is true. I wont go into a long review, this title deserves an 8.

Your review deserves a 1, for correct spelling. It simply shows you did not complete or play the game at all. You might have not even finished the tutorial/first stage.

You need to be fired, and then sued.

solarflarex

The reviewer has no clue what he is talking about. Just about everything he says in this article is completely false, except the fact that he can't handle the awesome combat system in this game and resorts to button mashing.

The controls are fluid. The beasts are awesome. The graphics are on par with any current next gen title and have their own You need the beasts to help you with some of the bigger mobs in this game so you should certainly "bother" with them. Hell they are a big part of the game like the original. In fact there is plenty of tribute to the original as one could notice if they knew what to look for.

I was addicted like crazy to the original. In fact when it came out in the arcade in the states and I moved to japan I was dissapointed it wasn't in the arcades there... Then I found out it had been on home systems for over a year on the sega genesis and was the reason I purchased that system.

This game has a complex combat system that must be learned and mastered. It can be frustrating if you mash buttons and score lower than a C grade, but thats what makes the replayability of this classic game great. I played 4 levels last night and the story btw is awesome. Too many rpg's have similar/lame stories and this one changes that...

This sets the new benchmark for rpg's in fact it could be said that golden axe may have inspired many rpg's that we see today. I love it when a game is innovative and the color coded combat system makes things interesting instead of a bunch of button mashing. or mashing the same "uber" attack over and over to kill mobs. Please note developers we are sick of your cookie cutter B.S.

I can't wait to get home to play it tonight and its been a long time since a game has done that for me. In fact i've played so many games for so many years most of them jade me.

The only thing missing in this game would be multiplayer coop online. (hard to do local/split screen sucks anyway.)

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