First Impressions:

The intro kind of has a Conan feel to it. The atmosphere is pretty dark.  The music has a tribal beat to it. As I sat and watched the title screen for a bit, which I do a lot with most games, it brought back memories of one of my favorite movies of all time, Beastmaster.

Now on with the game.

Overview:

The game consists of these modes:

  • New Game - Launch a new session of Story Mode.
  • Continue Game - Continue Story Mode from last saved location.
  • Challenge Mode - Complete combat challenges for better rankings and greater tribute.
  • Trials of Tyris - Fight and survive through the gauntlets of battle arenas!
  • Game Settings - View and change your gameplay settings.
    • Sound Settings - Adjust Golden Axe: Beast Rider audio levels.
    • Video Setup - Calibrate the brightness of your display.
    • Camera Settings - Adjust your in-game camera configuration.
    • Game Options - Change controller profiles and adjust combat settings.
    • Select Storage Device - Change the storage location for Golden Axe: Beast Rider save game data.
  • Bonus Features - View additional Golden Axe: Beast Rider content.

Story:

The story is pretty good, if you actually pay attention to it. You are Tyris Flare. The game starts out with you heading to attend a ceremony for your tribe. Enemies appear and completely wipe out your tribe during the ceremony. Death Adder has the dragon, which your tribe worships, stolen. Gilius Thunderhead tries to prevent the dragon from being stolen. He is unsuccessful and hands over pieces of the broken Golden Axe to you. You put it together, but it's not complete. The game then lets you have control of the Golden Axe, which you can throw. It's pretty cool how you actually get use the golden axe in this game.

Graphics:

The graphics are standard. The game is filled with tints of brown and black. What do you expect? This is the time of barbarians and warriors. Dirt is dominant back in that time. The game is pretty bloody. It's not too over the top. I think it's a good level of bloodiness for this type of game.

The art of loading screens remind me of those Conan art books.

Gameplay:

Controlling your character is pretty easy. You have buttons for light attack, heavy attack, jump, magic, evade, parry. The triggers are used for sprint and mount/dismount beast. The left analog stick is used for moving. The right analog stick is used for the camera. The d-pad is used for selecting magic style.

There are 3 types of attacks: Light, Heavy, Knockback (Light + Heavy). There are combos that you can use also. The combo system isn't as deep as some other games, but you'll be too busy doing counterattacks to worry about that too much.

The whole evade and parry system works pretty good and I enjoy it. It doesn't make the game boring with you just holding down a block button. You need to time your evades and parrys. It's not hard to do and it feels good when you do it.

There are three types of attacks:

  • Green (weak) - You can evade and parry with successful counterattack afterward.
  • Blue (sideways) - You can only parry with a successful counterattack afterward. If you try to melee a blue attack, you will get hit.
  • Orange (overhead) - You can melee with a successful counterattack afterward. If you try to parry an orange attack, you can block it, but you will get stunned and take a little damage.

You can melee and parry even with your back to enemies. As soon as you see a color flash up, just respond to it.

List of counterattacks:

  • evade, light = sideways swing
  • evade, heavy = overhead swing or decapitation.
  • evade, light + heavy = arm break, kick
  • melee, light = sideways swing
  • melee, heavy = overhead swing or flips enemy into air and chops torso in half
  • melee, light + heavy = kick or sword throw.

This type of combat is like dancing with the enemies, until you can counterattack to finish them off.

There are certain enemies in this game that cast magic. Depending on the type of spell, you can reflect it with parry or evade it, maybe both. You just have to time it properly.

The beasts aren't as agile as your main character. What do you expect? They are beasts, since when was controlling a beast easy in real life? It takes a horse a few seconds to turn around right? Their attacks, you will need to manage properly, just like in the original Golden Axe. Attacking randomly isn't the way to fight on these. You can get knocked off. Enemies can also steal them from you. The beasts have a life gauge. certain attacks you do will lower that life gauge. Remember in Golden Axe, these beasts don't last forever. Management is the key.



Gnomes pop out, like they did in the original Golden Axe. Gnomes carry food, potions and loot. I find them to be more annoying in this game than anything. In the orginial Golden Axe, they were actually helpfull and you get a sense of urgancy to hit them as much as you can when they pop up. Not in this game. They seem to pop up in the most useless of places, when your life and mana are already full. They are pretty hard to hit too.

There are many ways to get health and mana. Health can be restored by healing relics, which are green rings of light. Mana relics are blue rings of light and fill up your potion count. Treasure chests, boxes, barrels and containers are hidden throughout the game. They store gold, food and potions. With all of these ways to get life and mana, the gnomes just became useless nuisances.

You can gain new outfits and weapons as you play through the game. They can be used when you play challenge mode.

This game is rated M, so there will be some boobage, for people that are afraid, be warned.

Sound:

The sounds in this game are very nice. If you hit a rock, grass, dirt, metal, it all sounds very good. I love the sound of the swords hitting each other. The soundtrack is pretty good. If you have a sound system, the bass really kicks. All of the sound levels can be adjusted in the options menu. You can adjust the music, sound effects and movies. I didn't have to adjust anything, everything sounded fine on defaults.

Conclusion:

If your into Conan or Viking, you might like this game. It involves a lot of repetitive combat. It's a mix of different combat types and using each way of fighting can confuse you when there is a whole lot going on. Fighting with a beast involves timing and management. Fighting in normal combat invovles evading, parrying and counterattacks. Of course you can just play this game as a normal hack and slash with combos and not even worry about the counterattacking system, but it'll just lead to frustration. Playing this game with a strategy is the only way to enjoy the most out of it. The game is pretty easy at first, as you learn the controls. It then gets crazy. Overall this game isn't that bad. It might get boring at times. It's still a good hack and slash though.

7/10






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