Review: Berserk and the Band of the Hawk – A Band of Berserking Madmen

Pros:
-Throws non-fans of Berserk right into the guts and glory of the 27 year old franchise
-Animation, sound, and design fit the world of Berserk perfectly
-Decently lengthy for the average Warriors and Beserk fan to enjoy

Cons:
-Repetitious hack’n’slashing that offers little-to-no depth for story elements
-Non-campaign modes are incredibly short
-Character customizations are too incredibly close to the Warriors titles


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Berserk is one of the longest running franchises out there. Having spanned more than 27 years of multifaceted formats ranging from OVA’s, anime series, and even mangas – it’s a series well worth a chance in the modern era of gaming. It’s also a difficult task to think of an anime that is best suited for Omega Force’s well vetted Warriors meta-series than this very one. Much like any character from say Samurai Warriors, Guts is a man that lives and breathes this genre quite well. With his large sword, hunger for blood filled battle, and his unique back story, many would take the fact Berserk and the Band of the Hawk would fit quite well into this meta.

Sadly, its a game that seems to  miss the point of what Berserk is all about. It’s a game that decided to take a one-dimensional approach to this rather large universe that animes, manga’s, and fanfics have helped bring to life. Instead, it’s a game that lead me to skipping through countless cutscenes since they were yanked straight from the anime, and placed right within the game. Granted I ended up having to go back and watch them for the sake of the review, needless to say, I regretted doing so as the core of the game is all about Guts, Griffith, Casca, and the rest of their band of mercenaries.

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Much of this is due to the fact I was spoiled quite well with Omega Forces adaptions to the Warriors meta with Hyrule Warriors and Dragon Quest Heroes, which lead me whirling through well renowned worlds, and parading around as some of the best characters in the history of those franchises. The downside here is that these two games used the hallmark mechanics of the Dynasty Warriors franchise and did it even better. Berserk, however, is extremely limited on mission goals. All of these goals range from destroy, rescuing someone, and killing someone. Sounds simple, right? Well it is, and it’s irritating that one of the best anime franchises out there got this treatment.

Want to hunt down hidden objectives? That won’t happen. Want to find secret rooms like Hyrule Warriors? That’s not happening. Want to find different elements for your weapons like Dragon Quest Heroes? Let me laugh for you. It’s simply not happening, which is disappointing due to the games walking potential with such a deep, rich, and lush background that the Berserk franchise has. Even more-so because the game could have adapted quite well to the franchise over the span of 46 story chapters. Sadly, by 25, I wanted to quickly close the game and go back to enjoying the well-rounded Attack on Titan game that succeeded in bringing the anime to life via gaming.

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The game is as one would expect. It’s surrounded in Guts’ need for revenge as well as his intense desire to kill anyone that gets in his way of what he’s searching for. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t even reward players for carrying through with this task, and doesn’t even offer the capability for players to change out Guts’ sword with upgraded ones. This is done via buffs that players can pick up by cutting enemies down. One of the best moments the game has to offer is one of the biggest downers. It revolves around sending Guts into a frenzy where amassing a bloody mess of over 1,000 bodies during each objective. This sense of completion is the most satisfying part in these rather lifeless missions that seem to serve almost little-to-no-purpose. sadly, the cutscenes become the most appealing part of the game over the course of the campaign.

While most missions will carry multiple objectives out of the one above, there are a few queues from other Warriors meta-driven games. Players will find mid-mission plot twists where the objectives will rapidly change so that a sub-objective comes to life. It’s here that players will find themselves flying through most of the games chapters in 10 minutes at most. Mission results don’t help to alleviate the pain of this games shortcomings. Missions as you would expect are rated using an alphabetic ranking system. Sadly, getting a “S” is mostly a long-forbidden dream that players will find themselves clamoring about to receive. Luckily the games intermissions are pulled from Berserk’s Golden Age where Berserk was coming up into a rise to fame.

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If you are wondering how Guts’ repertoire is expressed? The game does it quite well through rather simple combos. You’ll find yourself constantly mashing square or triangle to use Guts’, Griffiths’, or even Casca’s combats in order to cut enemies down. While the occasional switch after so many presses of one button offers a sense of accomplishment, Guts or any of the others, show off their brutality by using his musuo-like mode. This mode allows Guts to build up his “ultimate” meter where he unleashes his rather devastating attacks in order to disperse enemies rather quickly. This also shows-off the fact the game follows the Warriors meta for mechanics quite closely.

While the novelty of playing famed characters exist, Free Mode is where players would probably want to go in order to enjoy the game at it fullest. Here is where you’ll be most disappointed since it only features previously cleared missions. Bummer, huh? At least you can try out the games supporting cast int his mode in order to see what they are made of. They all control rather similarly to Guts.

Beserk and the Band of the Hawk – PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC
Developer:
Omega Force
Publisher:
Koei Tecmo
Cost: $59.99
Release Date:
Available Now

Each brings in their own blood-filled combat tactics in order to cut enemies down. Griffith serves as one of the more lustrous characters in the title. His ability to kill with his lethal grace is a prestige no-one-other has. He moves through the combat beautifully in his zigs, zags, and ultimately gracious movement. Casca on other hand is not as brutal as her colleagues. Her attacks are more like that of a ninja. She’s fast, she’s dangerous, and she implores the player to take advantage of this in order to take out dozens of troops at once.

While the games sound, art quality, and appeal to the manga’s are almost on par, the game seems to miss the depth that Berserk is known for. While playing as the bloodlusted and battle experience Guts is a blast, it seems that the Warriors style meta misses its mark with Omega Force’s latest iteration. Luckily, there’s still room for improvement for the game on the sense of combat and adding depth via DLC. However, Omega Force’s more imaginative and more-accurate efforts seem to have been missed in this latest title. While story is what most of us will come here for, it seems this game won’t have that to offer and it will be one of those games that would have gratified itself better using a Ninja Gaiden style approach to the game in order to keep us entertained like the game should have at this point.


Our review is based upon a retail version of the game given to us by the games publisher. For our review, we used a PlayStation 4 Pro with a 7200RPM HDD.  For information about our ethics policy please click here.


 Final Score: 6 out of 10


About the Writer:

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

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