Ben-Hur – an hour of entertainment for free

As briefly mentioned during last week’s new release round-up, a free promotional Ben-Hur game – developed by Krome Studios – has appeared out of nowhere on the US Xbox One store. With the movie’s UK release date down as 7th September, it’s likely to appear on the UK store over the next fortnight or so.

Having played the US release, we suggest setting your excitement gauge to minimal. While a far cry from that atrocious Yaris game from years ago, it still has a throwaway feel to it. Not that we expected anything more, being a free promotional game and all.

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This brash and brutal chariot racer features a full season to play through, which would be impressive if it wasn’t for one thing: a season lasts just three races, all of which take place on the same course. The first race is a simple affair, allowing ample time to get used to the controls – the triggers are used to whip left and right, while bashing the A button spurs the horses. The second race then adds an extra lap and throws a few more hazards on the track, while the third and final race is a four-lap affair that turns up the AI difficulty level from competent to savage.

The opposition’s AI is easily the standout feature – they put up good fight, often trying to shove your chariot into the sidings to cause a crash. One chance is all you get, and it’s a case of 1st place or nothing. You can however win an event by wiping out all the opposition, which proves to be quite a challenge during the last two races. Only achievement hunters are forced to take this approach, mind. Speaking of achievements, it’s more than generous with a handful unlocking after winning the first race.

There’s an hours’ worth of entertainment here, give or take fifteen minutes or so either way. Not the most thrilling hour you’ll ever spend on the sofa, granted, but like the saying goes: don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

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