I’ve always been a fair guy when it comes to video games, and even if a game is bad, I’d certainly look for some good points to give it a pick-me-up so it didn’t appear as bad as it really was. Sure I can be highly critical if I need to be as well. If a game is genuinely that bad, I will be open about it. Step forward Beast Quest, hang you head in shame, and return from where you crawled out of. Here it is, one of the worst games I’ve played on Xbox One.
Based on a popular series of books, written by the collective pen name of Adam Blade and several ghost writers. I’ve never read them personally, but they do intrigue me to the point that I’d read them if I had the time, as it does sound like something I’d enjoy. However, Beast Quest as a video game title is a whole different entity. One that you’d happily avoid like the Black Plague, or any kind of airborne viral infection.
As I watched the trailer for the game upon release, I saw what looked like a game that was heavily inspired by the iconic Fable series. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by this comparison. I’ve played the Fable series and even though they’re not lengthy as some other adventure titles, they are immensely playable and have some fantastic voice acting parts to help bring each character to life. Beast Quest didn’t show much apart from the epic looking boss fights, but maybe that was because they were hiding some juicy bits from us. Alas, that was not to be.
Beast Quest put very bluntly, looks god awful. An unfinished looking mess of a tech demo at best, with dull, lifeless washed out textures that help make up the game world, and looks like it was put together late on a Saturday night after a few beers with the lads. Character models of human NPC’s don’t fare much better either, as they stand motionless for the majority of their time on screen, and occasionally repositioning themselves a few feet away. They have homes, surely a job to do in the world in which they live? Nope. They just stand there like crudely dressed mannequins and do nothing apart from handing you pointless fetch quests that were included for no other reason than to pad out the game with “content” that you’d rather not waste your time on. Collect some flowers, collect some swords which get turned into cookies for the townspeople, you get the idea. But that last side quest, yes you read it correctly.
Now we will move onto combat. Oh how that is a diabolical mess, and does it suck the tiny bit of fun that could have been right out of the game. Imagine that real time combat has been combined with turn based combat. That’s the best way I can describe this unholy inclusion of a game mechanic. You are stood still, facing whatever enemy you couldn’t care less about. Be it a wolf, crows, bandits, you know, generic fodder. You cannot move unless you press a button to run to the side in an on-rails manner from a preset point to another. You can’t gently adjust your position, and have no choice other than this. You can dodge left or right as an attack comes in, but this rarely works properly, so blocking with your shield is the best bet for your young hero. A sword attack lands a hit on your targets, despite being too far away for an actual attack to realistically hit them. Mash the button, block a few times and move on to the next fight. Oh how fun this was. I felt dead inside after an hour of this, but still I forged on ahead, hoping that this would improve somehow.
The mini-map was actually useful, given that treasure chests and the colour coded keys appeared allowing you to loot some coins. There’s a plus point for the game. The main world map was reasonably detailed, but only displayed camp fires in the wilderness that not only save your progress, but also allows fast travel if you need to turn in another mundane fetch quest. Guess that’s a point that works well.
The game is incredibly linear, providing little to no reason for you to go out of your way from the main path towards your next location. Sure there’s a chest or two, but they felt redundant after w while as they only provide coins to purchase the very little content on offer. Enemies litter the landscape, and will not actively hunt you down. Instead, they wait for you to get close enough to initiate a fight scene. Thankfully, I was able to bypass a few fights and avoid the dreary combat mechanics. Hurrah.
The first boss is a large blue dragon, and once I defeated it, I felt a sense of achievement having dealt the winning blow. Then he/she flew off, only to turn up another two times. Does this thing not sod off? Meaningless, and annoying. I felt no connection to the young boy, his wizard tutor who sounds like he was voiced by someone so bored that they’d fall asleep at any moment. The NPC’s were in no way important to me either, as was there plight to have fetch quests completed for them. Grown adults asking me to fight bandits and wolves? Ridiculous. Perhaps the books are better. I don’t know, but what I do know is that Beast Quest is something I now want to avoid in all formats.
Controls. Yeah, they are not very responsive. At some point in the mountains, I had to jump across a few platforms to the other side. The jump button was far from interested in performing its function. My only guess here, is that it lost all hope a long time ago. The dodge doesn’t work properly in case your wondering. Block does though, so that’s something. As does your special move that unlocks once you’ve found an ally to call into battle. These specials are pretty good to utilise when they’re charged, as they’ll decimate the enemy.
To say Beast Quest is an unfinished mess is an understatement. It’s as if the developers didn’t bother putting in to much effort, which is a shame, and I genuinely mean it. If time and effort had been invested into turning the game into a fleshed our adventure. I’d say it was released far too early, and could benefit from a massive overhaul. A living and breathing world with NPC’s you’d be interested to interact with, loot that felt worth it in terms of hunting down. But no, Beast Quest is a poor mans Fable, and it’s an insult to even compare these. There are also a pair of achievements that are reported to not unlock.
Overall Score 2/10
Developer: Torus Games
Publisher: Maximum Games
Release Date: 16th March 2018
File Size: 4.96GB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 & PC