Title: Golden Axe: Beast Rider
Players: 1
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
Developer: Secret Level
Publisher: SEGA
Price: $59.99
Release Date: Oct. 14th, 2008

A scantily clad female warrior who rides powerful beasts is looking to get revenge. Sounds like it could be a Uwe Boll film, I know, but it’s a bit more engaging, a lot more entertaining and already looks to be more fun than a trip to one of his wretched movies. With key fighting elements embedded within the gameplay (i.e., dismembering the enemy) and a variety of beasts to ride and control, Sega has definitely sought to revolutionize this classic beat e’m up game.

Even though Golden Axe: Beast Rider looks like it could be a beat-e'm-up version of Dead or Alive with free-roaming and large beasts, it might surprise players to know that the game actually carries some depth to the bikinis and blade-wielding themes. After nearly being killed by an evil beast-sorcerer, the main character, Tyris Flare, seeks out revenge as she battles through hordes of baddies and yielding quad-pedal beasts at her control.

GA: Beast Rider is played like a standard third-person, hack-and-slash game. Players will run around from one destination to the next, hacking and slashing enemies. The upside to the otherwise arid fighting system is that enemies can be dismembered based on where player’s attack them. Different weapons also offer up various attributes to boost up the player’s effectiveness against various enemies, or for using certain attacks. There’s also special finishing moves that hold back very little blood and gore, but work as pretty good cinematics.

The real meat on the bones of this game resides in the ability to ride any of the five powerful beasts. Players can run around and gouge, gore, and claw the crap out of enemies. One beast is so large that he can not only kill, maim and eat enemies, but he can also devour other beasts. Each one of the vicious creatures also sport special abilities that players can utilize to their advantage; from brute strength to invisibility. One neat part about the whole beast element, is that if the player loses their beast they can hijack one of the enemy’s creatures. And while I would hate to constantly refer to a specific game for free-roaming and hijacking, I’m going to do it anyway. Golden Axe is a little like a medieval version of GTA, except you can fight back with the hijacked animal. Yep, there’s the GTA plug for the day.

Aside from the battling on beasts and fighting on foot, there’s also a magic system. Given that Tyris’ specialized in using fire magic in the original Golden Axe, you can pretty much bet that there’s going to be a lot of fire to hand out to the baddies. The magic system offers players area-of-effect attacks, projectiles and summoning. Each one of Tyris’ special moves can also be upgraded as players progress through the game.

Now iuf all of this isn’t enough there’s also gnomes. Yes, gnomes. They can be kicked, beat and killed. Sometimes the gnomes may even chase you down and explode, leaving behind a very deadly poison. I just thought gamers might want to know that. Anyway, Golden Axe: Beast Rider is due out on October 14th for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Be sure to stay tuned in with Blend Games for more news and info for all the latest games. You can also drop by the Blend Games Forum for discussions on hot gaming topics.

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