The opening cinematic and scenery are great. That's it. It looks like they spent all of their time on the backgrounds, player models, ect. but forgot about the games play, story line, and fight engines. It's a shame that this game had no follow through. It HAD the potential to be great.
So the phrase goes. If you poo in a box, and then put a nice bow around the box, well, you still have a piece of poo. Like many of the old gamers who loved the golden axe games, there is a certain sadness that comes along with playing this version of "Golden Axe". I'm all for making something new out of a classic title, but this game certainly falls short. The play seems like it is based off Heavenly Sword, but with less control, and a camera system that has more problems than a math teacher. Although there is gore galore, it doesn't make up for the late sound effects, terrible acting, lack of moves, and the list goes on. 2 things I enjoyed about the game are as follows: 1) Our short axe wielding friend says some funny stuff, like "By my balls girl..." 2) Death Adder is by far the coolest version of him that I have ever seen. All in all, if you are a Golden Axe fan, I'd rent it just to see Death Adder at the end. The beasts are OK, but just because you can hurry through the crummy levels faster while riding them.
I have very fond memories of the original Golden Axe and its console cousins. When I heard a new Golden Axe game being done for the next gen systems, I was excited. This is a franchise that needed to be resurrected badly. However, my excitement diminished to a level of sadness soon after playing through the first few chapters of Golden Axe. I will review this game in segments to give you a better idea of my my thoughts on it. First, the level design and graphics are very mundane and poorly constructed. The characters look good and move realistically. Endless dessert terrain and the occasional fortress is it. The game world seems very expansive, but movement is restricted to certain areas due to the 'invisible walls' found left and right. For the first few levels it gets very confusing what direction you need to head in, but soon you get the idea. After which, the game just feels to linear to be anymore exciting. Second, the soundtrack is good and what is heard is appropriate to the situation. Third, the controls definitely need some work. Attacking, blocking, parrying, and generally moving about are very simply mapped out on the controller. The camera, however, is a real pain to deal with. Many times you find yourself being attacked from behind or stuck in corners. The lack of a targeting function makes fighting hordes of foes somewhat confusing as sometimes you attack the enemy you did not intend to. Constantly having to adjust the camera is not fun when your dealing with an onslaught of enemies. The beasts you ride in the game handle like robots and move very clumsily. When attacking with a beast, you pretty much have to mash the buttons as again you cannot directly target your foe unless you face him. The block and parry system could have been done differently without the nonsense of the blue/orange attack patterns. You shouldn't have to block when a parry is perfectly acceptable and vice versa. And what is with the no co-op feature? Overall, a disappointment.