After the unstoppable surge of cross-platform releases at the tail end of 2007, the frantic pace of game releases has thankfully died down as the New Year games lull kicks in. It's a good time pick up a few of the games we've overlooked as we gorged on the brilliance of the Q4 '07 line-up, or perhaps return to the titles we never quite had time to finish, eking out the final ounces of gaming excellence.
For me? A chance to take a look at a range of recent cross-platform titles that somehow failed to make their way into the Christmas period features, and combine them with an in-depth look at what is easily the best game released so far in 2008.
You all know the score by now: impartial criticism of each cross-format release is duly delivered, serving to supplement the original reviews with console-specific commentary. Gameplay matters take precedence, but technical matters are also discussed. Think of it as a running commentary on the state of multiformat games development, if you like. Or the opportunity for a big ruck in the comments section, I really don't mind.
I studied English Literature at university, you might be interested to know. Structuralism, death of the author, post modernism. All that. I wasn't very good at it, though, so sorry, I had to scrap the Anglo-Saxon poem concept review. Besides, I never got the opportunity to study Beowulf, and putting in the effort to read it for my own personal enjoyment seemed like a bit too much. Why so? Call me an unsophisticated lout, but it's old news, a little tedious, and there are countless other, better things around right now that improve on it in so many ways. Plus, I was waiting for the movie.
Maybe I shouldn't have. Angering elbow-patched professors up and down the country, the movie isn't afraid to take liberties with the source material, reinterpreting the story to suit an over-saturated Hollywood's focus-tested needs, and its hunger for twists, set pieces and love interests. That there was no author around to complain about it and take a cut of the cheque was probably a bonus, too.
Of course, it also helps that the CGI movie has the look of a high quality videogame cutscene to it already. It lends the predictable game adaptation an air of authenticity it wouldn't normally get with live action. Looking beyond the epic poem and the movie, the game takes the basic framework, fleshing out the film's main plot with a couple of other adventures in between Beowulf's classic fight with the monster Grendel, his mother and his final battle with a dragon.
As you'll know if you've read our handsome preview, Ubisoft has announced details of the Beowulf game it spoke about at UbiDays in May. It's due out on Xbox 360, PS3, PC and PSP this November to coincide with the release of the film, which is being directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Ray Winstone.
This is the distant past. Things are different here. In the days of July, you may find it difficult to imagine how people lived in such a primitive time. For example, while you write "July" in your calendar, the people of this dark age write "August". They looked forward to a possible summer, while you know that summer's already over. And while in these modern days, Eurogamer writers spend their time typing desperately through midnight fatigue, then they were in Paris seeing the first public showing of Beowulf, the game of the forthcoming film, and then had to sign an non-disclosure agreement to promise they won't write any more until the film's properly revealed to the world in late July at the glorious NerdProm of San Diego ComicCon.
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