Berserk and the Band of the Hawk (PC) Review

By Sandy Wilson 24.03.2017

Review for Berserk and the Band of the Hawk on PC

Berserk is a long running and much loved franchise born from the original manga series by Kentaro Miura. The Warriors franchise is a huge set of ongoing games made by Omega Force which, in recent times, has started adapting popular franchises from across Japan. The meeting of both Berserk and Warriors is a match made in heaven. The token hack and slash gameplay mixed with the dark horror fantasy world and story can only ever be a good thing for fans of the gameplay style.

The Berserk story is a bizarre and sweeping tapestry, so wrapping it into any adaption is risky. So far, it's been attempted at least three times. Twice in animated series and once in a set of movies. These movies are the basis for this game and scenes from them are used throughout the golden age story arc as cutscenes. Berserk and the Band of the Hawk adapts this very well and contains a whole load of extra dialogue that fills in the gaps, including characters who didn't appear in anything other than the original manga. It's well presented and adapts the series in a new way that is very much enjoyable and faithful despite how it's been tweaked to make the story fit a video game.

The gameplay is the standard Warriors affair. There is a plethora of combos to learn which employ different numbers of presses of the X and Y buttons. It doesn't require much skill but it does require a lot of concentration to keep track of all of the enemies that are being waded through. The control is very fluid and employs a few nice little touches, such as holding the control stick to make characters burst into an approximation of a sprint after a short time period which can then be used to make sprinting attacks which are great for cutting through a group of strong enemies. It also employs horseback for covering large distances, but, as in the recent Attack on Titan Warriors-like title, the horses are a bit fiddly to control and the horseback combat lacks the weight of its on-foot counterpart.

Killing enemies nets the current character exp. As they level up they gain further combos and other bonuses which aren't carried over to the other characters. This is something that can increase replayability but it's a little annoying as it's more like padding than a reward. This can be subverted, however, using the in-game currency to buy level ups. There are a lot of playable characters from the series like Guts and Griffith to Nosferatu Zodd. Some characters have alternate costumes, as well, that are unlocked with story progression. The designs are fantastic in most cases, being based on the movie and the manga means that the designs are sharp and faithful.

Screenshot for Berserk and the Band of the Hawk on PC

Hacking and slashing may be the mainstay of the game but there are lots of other systems that break up the fighting to stop it from becoming monotonous. Between missions, there are extra dialogues from the likes of Gaston, a much unmentioned character whose wish is to open a tailor. These moments add depth to the characters and help explain some of the relationships, although are often just silly little quips. There is also time to go through items, skill lists and change characters. There is also, back to the hack and slashing, boss battles. These pit the player against a singular enemy with multiple stages. Having never encountered this in a Warriors title before it was strangely intriguing and difficult. The system works well for one on one combat which means the game could have been less hacking and more focussed on story and still worked well.

There's a lot of meat to Berserk and the Band of the Hawk. It has a lengthy story split into short missions with cutscenes spattered throughout covering Berserk's Golden Age arc and the follow up to it. It also has the "Endless Abyss" mode. This mode is, well, Endless. It involves a series of challenges that must be completed to progress. This progression is only kept so long as the mode isn't exited. It's similar to ascending a tower. These challenges get harder and harder with smaller limits and things. It's possible to play as any of the unlocked characters and it is pretty fun overall. Although its gameplay can get boring once a certain amount of time has passed. This can also be tiring on hands due to the button mashing element.

The visuals are fantastic. The game ran very smoothly, although low end PCs may struggle slightly in the more saturated areas. The visual style is super pretty and combines the style of both the movie and the manga resulting in a very nice compromise that out the 2016/17 anime to shame. Unfortunately, this is best played with a controller so keyboard enthusiasts may not have as good an experience. It's very much a gamepad game.

Screenshot for Berserk and the Band of the Hawk on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is great. The strong visuals and story are complemented well by the gameplay. It should be satisfying for both fans of the gameplay style and fans of the Berserk franchise, and still approachable enough for fans of neither to enjoy. The only downside is that Warriors games' signature gameplay can lead to fatigue in long play sessions. It's a solid and polished game that is definitely and easily recommended to all.

Developer

Omega Force

Publisher

Koei Tecmo

Genre

Brawler

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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