Golden Axe: Beast Rider is meant to be a re-examination of the world of Golden Axe, the game's developers told the press at Sega's Gamers Day earlier this week.
Unfortunately, it looks like it's going to be a look into the world minus the trio of characters that made the game so great. Instead, gamers will be forced to play as amazon warrior Tyris Flare. Neither the barbarian nor the dwarf will be playable in the single-player only game, though both will appear as non-playable characters as the story unfolds.
It looks like the development team went to great pains to try and turn the once side-scrolling, button-masher into a 3D action title without losing the feel of the original title. A lot of the same creatures, bad guys and feel of the game seems to be present. The art style is a bit generic, but no more so than the original Golden Axe was.
The game's combat system is, like the original, all about magic and melee, with the ability to ride creatures to deliver attacks. This time around, though, the beasts are much more plentiful in the game and of course, it's much more satisfying to use them in a non-side-scrolling environment.
What we were shown of the game, included quite a bit of cinematic kills triggered by attacks. Almost every time Flare attacked someone she removed a body part. In one case, a flourish of sword-play left the enemy missing both arms and his head, while his body stumbled about the screen for a few seconds, spouting blood.
When Flare mounted her first creature in the demo, a large, fleshy-looking gorilla, the ground-pounding smacks it delivered also tended to tear people into bits. The creatures in the game are also used to solve some simple puzzles and get past certain bottlenecks of combat.
The game also uses a parry system and an evade system, allowing you to dodge or block attacks based on timed button pushes and enemies, we were told, will feature full armor sets that have to be broken off before they start to take damage.
The team declined to say how much of the game was going to be about riding these beasts, but did say they can be advantageous.
Beast Rider will have a half-dozen or so mini-bosses and will even include those gnomes from the original title, though in 3D they look disturbingly creepy.
After showing off some of the mountable creatures, the developers showed us a second level set in the snow, pointing out that Flare's skimpy costume changes automatically to match the environment she is in.
The game will have unlockable costumes, including Flare's original swimsuit-like costume, which you can earn by gaining tribute through high kill counts and speedy level completion.
A few other little tidbits of game play were shown off in the short demo including a beast spawner which you can use to grab mounts in the game, and gates that need to be opened by impaling bad guys on them.
While this game doesn't feature co-op, the team said that the next one in the franchise will be all co-op.