It was said that 2007's Beowulf was a great leap forward for CGI in movies, but as far as the game Beowulf goes, it did nothing to improve upon already established standards. Let's delve right into the combat of Beowulf; if you're really looking for story here, look to the movie that this game originally released with or read the free text online.
Beowulf can fight with both his fists and any weapons that he picks up off of the ground or steals from his opponents. When fighting barehanded, his attacks can all be blocked by shields that your opponents wield, and when he's fighting with an actual weapon, the weapon degrades and breaks fairly quickly. Once the weapon is broken, Beowulf goes back to using his inferior melee skills. After fighting Grendel and receiving the legendary sword, Hrunting, it will surprise you as it no doubt did me that the sword breaks as easy as any other weapon; so much for its epic status.
In addition to mainly fighting your enemies with your dukes, you'll also be graced with the presence of your fellow thanes and your best dwarven-like friend, Wiglaf. All of your fellow warriors are disposable, but if Wiglaf dies, your game will end, only to return at an ill-conceived checkpoint. When it comes to button-mashing, combo-riddled hack-and-slash games, keeping yourself alive through the hordes of enemies should be your primary focus, but when you are given allies in this type of game, it implies that you cannot hold your own. In fact, the game isn't hard so much as it doesn't give you enough tools to deal with every situation that you will find.
The game uses a "legacy" system; save yourself the trouble and interpret this as being a "good" or "bad" Beowulf. To be good, you must use your battle-strengthening aura; being bad involves going berserk and killing everyone in sight. However, since every boss, sub-boss, and slightly harder enemy can only be killed, or "pushed" into the next stage of combat, by going berserk, this legacy system loses quite a bit of its importance.
Going berserk also poses another issue. If you strike at your ally, the game will not register you as assaulting your fellow warrior. If you go berserk, the game will then allow you to not only hit your ally, but also kill him. In the heat of battle, when going berserk was the only way to survive, I could not distinguish Wiglaf from an enemy, as the game screen reddens and muddles a bit in berserk status, and I ended up reaching a game over because I killed the plot-central character. The game specifically warns that going berserk has consequences, but among these should not be a thirty minute setback.
At the time of this review, I grabbed a pre-owned Beowulf copy for $5, but nothing in the game has led me to feel great about this bargain purchase. I think that the saddest thing of all is that for all of the testosterone, machismo, and over-inflated egos of Beowulf and his thanes, none of these things aided in the delivery of adequate thrusts of the sword in combat.
No: I don’t recommend this product