The word of the day is 'generic', this due to the fact that Beast Quest is a very formulaic action-adventure about a young boy on a quest to save the kingdom, who along the way is going to fight some beasts. Hence the title. Based on the series of novels of the same name, written by several authors all using the same pen name - Adam Blade - the devs had a wealth of material to draw on for its story, what with there being over 110 novels written over 11 years (so far). With that in mind, we had pretty high hopes for this one, especially after MiniClip published a really well-received game of the same name, and so we wandered in ready for an epic adventure.
The opening saw us transported to the world of Avantia only to discover that an evil wizard called Malvel was creating mayhem by cursing four mythical and strangely-named beasts, who were in turn now causing havoc. Luckily a prophecy tells of a young knight who will save the world, and of course, you take control of that young boy, a lad called Tom.
We should probably point out that the game, much like the books, seems very much aimed at a younger audience. The story is set up from the start, and after an awkward attempt at humorous dialogue with a wizard who has a lot of friends that are robins - as in the bird - we were on our way. During your quest to fight beasts, you'll wander through towns, meet new people, pick up side-quests, open chests, fight monsters, and make allies who can help you in battle - all stuff we've very much seen before.
It was very clear from the get-go that something was off. The facial animations in the cutscenes were bizarre, looking almost like they were pulled from a badly dubbed animated movie. On top of that, the dialogue was really forced. While you could blame that on it being aimed at kids (a notoriously forgiving audience for stuff like that), it doesn't mean that the chat should make you laugh awkwardly - at least not this much. Then there was the animation for the jump which basically saw the character leap and then freeze as he came back down to the ground. Also, there was a slight delay between pressing the button and the character jumping, which meant that a lot of the sections that had a platforming aspect were quite frustrating with you often falling to your death or drowning. Then, when you dropped into the water, there was no animation, which seemed to be a running theme. For example, when you had to collect some crops from a field Tom just stood there when you pressed a button and the crops were then added to your bag.
The action is seen from a third-person perspective and honestly looked like something that had been made 10 years ago and forgotten about, because the graphics aren't at the quality we have come to expect from the current generation of consoles. There was also a fair amount of clipping and the frame-rate was a bit choppy, and sometimes when you jump, the character would just float up a hill until you made it to the top. The whole game felt much like a fleshed out version of the app, one that had still been a bit rushed.
The best part about the game was the combat system, which gives you both a quick attack and a strong strike, along with a host of other power-ups to make your hits stronger. It basically involves you having to tell when and which way the enemy is going to strike so that you can block. It wasn't free-roaming combat and you were stuck with the options of dodging right or left, and then hitting or blocking, but it was a simple and effective part of the game. There was also the option for your allies to bring in a super attack to help you defeat the monsters. The only disappointing issue with this was that the beasts you did fight were the usual collection of wolves, lizards, birds, and bandits (among others) that appear in every RPG. We also thought that there was way too much combat at certain points.
The music was a pretty standard adventure game soundtrack, but one thing that really stood out was the acting, but not in a good way. The dialogue sounded forced, unnatural, and sometimes just didn't fit with the situation at hand (one time we got hit by fire and the character commented on how windy it was). It became a bit annoying hearing things like "lots of loot" when Tom opened a chest (there were several irritating comments). Don't even get us started on the fact that every time Tom jumps he makes a sound like a tennis player hitting a volley at Wimbledon. Only the main characters were voiced too, with the others just producing lines of text for you to read. This gave us no real connection to the world around us and we didn't really feel interested in engaging with NPCs.
The map itself was also pretty linear, and we seemed to spend most of our time in canyons or trenches that were surrounded by walls, or paths that were next to sheer drops. When we did leave these corridors we occasionally made our way into a town or village, most of which looked vaguely the same. It was all a bit limited on the exploration side, and there wasn't much reason to venture off the beaten path other than to find a chest or two. The side quests that were on offer weren't exactly appealing either, and didn't really add anything or make us want to tackle them.
The story was set up from the start and didn't contain any twists or turns - it was always about going and freeing the four great beasts. In games of this sort, you'll often have a twist of some kind, or at the very least the story will surprise you once or twice, but there was none of that here. While you were on your quest, it never really explained much about the world we were playing in or gave much of a back story to who the characters were (maybe we need to read the books, but that doesn't make this an easy entry point, which it really should be), and the only other feature was a very simple puzzle element where you had to push a block towards a cliff to help you climb, which wasn't exactly taxing.
All in all, this is a limited action-adventure that really missed the beat, and even the most die-hard of Beast Quest readers will be quite disappointed. While the game does try to use a rather interesting combat system, it doesn't really make up for all the other areas where the game is lacking. The story isn't great and the side quests are uninviting, and so if you want a game that focuses on a decent quest to kill beasts, then maybe you should look at something like Monster Hunter World. The game might be quite kid-friendly, but we could imagine even an eight-year-old getting frustrated with things like the jump delay.
Loading next content