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Review: Berserk and the Band of The Hawk

by on February 27, 2017
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In the World of video games; there are many exemplary games that have excelled in bringing forth an intriguing genre that made the critics and gamers alike sing its praises, and galvanized developers to follow the trail blazed by it, one of those trailblazers is without a shroud of doubt is Omega Force’s renowned Warriors series.

Throughout the years, we have seen many popular franchises taking a detour of the well-known pattern of their popular games, many games have donned the “Warriors” ID like Zelda and Dragon Quest in the recent memory, Berserk and The Band of The Hawk is a spin-off Warriors game designed by the forefathers of the Warriors genre: Omega Force, a genre of hacking and slashing endless swarm of enemies. The ID of the widely popular Berserk has donned well on the genre, as the gory dark fantasy feel and story of Berserk has wonderfully married with the murder spree gameplay of Warriors series.

Right off the bat; I would like to underline two facts: one; the scarcity of my info’s and knowledge of the source material: Berserk, and second: the lore and aura of the Warriors series piqued my interest just a little, I wasn’t really hooked up into the genre, not for a long shot; so will the appeal and the resounding success of the legendary 100 man slayer story of Berserk, combined with Warriors’ unique lore change my perspective of a series I have tad disinterest toward? I have been late in boarding the hype train of Berserk, will this title galvanize me to do so? Hopefully my review will answer those points.

Hack and slashing an almost endless array of enemies swarming the entire screen in a matter of seconds is the essence of the Warriors’ games and its multiple spin-offs. Basically, you will be mashing on the buttons cutting down waves of enemies filling a rage bar that triggers flashy super powerful moves that eradicate entire swarms of enemies and cleans the map from them in a satisfying blood pool festive. The mechanics are superficially easy to grasp and understand, there is nothing complicated here.

As a gamer with little interest in the genre, Berserk did a great job in yanking me into its lore of Dark Fantasy and more importantly to the lore of the Warriors the instant I plunged headfirst into my first battlefield, chalk it to the insane brute force of the protagonist Guts, the pool of blood, and the orchestral battlefield soundtrack that helps bump adrenaline into my blood, have all resulted in a satisfying experience… Well sort of.

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I point my finger to the game’s severe lack of a “deep playbook”, because of severe shortage in the repertoire my initial excitement has started drastically and gradually cooling off. Granted there is the special flashy moves in form of Frenzy deathblows that cleans the map from the enemies, the pure unadulterated feel the game so admirably induces with a powerhouse of a character bulldozing through walls of enemies will undoubtedly and utterly sate the appetite, but having only two buttons allocated to attacks, and simple combos make the battles excruciatingly repetitive, thankfully the charm of the game and the addictive and fun combat draw you back to the heat of the battle.

After spending minutes of hacking and slashing, boredom will slowly start to creep into you, not because of the nature of the genre but because of the repetitiveness which is the cancer that spreads and slowly kills the joy and the fun of the battles, despite the fact of having multiple playable characters and sub weapons, they sadly add so little of variety into the battles. There is only ONE strategy that works with all enemies of all sort and size, all the time you just keep mashing the buttons, fill up the frenzy meter, and clean the map from the hordes, and repeat the process again and again, the same strategy works with bosses too, save for few examples, where you adapt different strategy, each boss comes accompanied with its own entourage of a swarm of enemies, killing and cutting down the endless horde will fill up the frenzy meter that helps dealing massive damage to the boss, ultimately tipping the scale of victory in your favor most of the time, thus depriving the game from the element of challenge.

The campaign, despite having an interesting story revolving around Guts and The Band of the Hawk, a group of mercenaries that play a pivotal role in a 100 year war, is boring and is branded with an stigma of severe shortage of contents and lack of variety. The maps could have sprinkled with collectibles and extra objectives to add replayability. The story mode missions lack incentives to delve back into the heat of the battle, outside the story mode’s 46 missions; the game comes with it’s own endurance mode in form of: Endless Eclipse Mode, I have always smitten with these dungeon delving mode since the days of Onimusha’s Dark Realm, so when I first learned about this mode I was overwhelmed with excitement drawing pink paintings of nostalgia in my imagination, but sadly; this mode has turned out to be a total nothingness, downright deprived of character, and in a nutshell; a prolong of the boredom of the story missions; as it mimics the objective based structure of the main story missions.

Tightly wedged between the flaws is the game’s awesome and super impressive presentation. The presentation is the redeeming quality of the title; the eye catchy cell shaded graphics; the orchestral sound track that bumps your blood, the top notch Japanese voice over; likeable protagonist and cast of characters; and finally, the campaign’s expansive and deep narrative outshines all other aspects.

In the end; this is a shiny game that is littered with flaws, what it lacks in piquing interest in a Warriors meta game it made it up with serving as a gateway to the Berserk franchise, thanks to the super amazing presentation of the game, it’s abundance of Anime and CG have won my admiration as the developers have managed to translate the story very well, other than that is a meh game that I can’t recommend a day one purchase, it may worth your hard earned cash when you buy a discounted or later versions.

Berserk and the Band of The Hawk was reviewed using an PlayStation 4 digital copy of the game provided by Tecmo Koei. The game is also available in Japan on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita and worldwide on PC in both digital and retail stores. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.

What we liked

• Fun and addictive battle, but…
• Guts is an epitome of badass and a real treat for hack and slash fans
• Lovely cast of characters
• I can’t stop singing the praises of its presentation
• The dark fantasy intriguing story of Berserk is well translated into the game

What is not fun

• … they soon become repetitive and tedious
• Battles lack variety
• Severe shortage of contents

Editor Rating
 
Concept
8.0

 
Graphics
9.0

 
Sound
8.0

 
Playability
5.5

 
Entertainment
5.0

 
Replay Value
5.0

Final Score
6.8


Our final verdict
 

Berserk and The Band of the Hawk is a wasted opportunity, and a fine example of a “would have, should have and could have” kind of games. If your gaze can penetrate through the flaws littering its surface, you can see a truly well-polished game in terms of presentation, top-notch voice over, intriguing dark fantasy narrative, impressive soundtrack and graphics that you can’t help but swoon over. Don’t get me wrong, the battles is addictive and fun, intense dark and full of rage, but the limited repertoire, shortage of strategies, deprived of challenging battles makes it repetitive and tedious, whenever I blow hot praising the presentation and battles, minute later I find myself blowing cold nagging about the sense of excruciating repetitiveness that cools off the excitement of the battles, not to mention the shortage of content.

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