February 28, 2017

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk - Review

Dynasty Warrior + Anime = Berserk! Yup, you read that right....that's the formula for Omega Force's latest game, Berserk and the Band of the Hawk.

If you're a fan of the Berserk anime, then you'll definitely enjoy this. Why you ask? Because this follows the same narrative as the 2016 remake, only it lets players control Guts during it's fighting sequences. Berserk is known for its gore, action and violence, in which coupling this with Dynasty Warriors type game play is the perfect blend for a mindless button bashing fighting game. Sure there are certain combos you need to use depending on minions or bosses you are battling, however, there's nothing more satisfying that rampaging through a swarm of countless enemies.

Which leads to the next point. Trying to navigate through thousands of minions might be fun, especially when you activate Guts' super ability, which is really just one swift swing taking out enemies, the game isn't the best when it comes to controls due to the camera movement. Controlling the character itself is as standard as any other Dynasty Warriors game..players have the option to create combos between light and heavy attacks.

However, when rotating the camera view, there are times when you'd want to turn a complete 180 degrees in which you're not able to see what's in front of you. Usually this isn't a problem as most games have a quick snap/rotate with the R3 button...however, this is something that's lacking. Meaning you're having to rotate the camera around manually. This isn't so bad for low level minions, but when you're fighting multiple 'bosses', it would be extremely handy to know where they are. That being said, smashing through enemies still gives you the feeling of fulfilment.

In terms of graphics, majority of it's story mode cut scenes were taken from the 2016 anime itself. Only visuals that were created for the game are the game play fight levels, and surprisingly after the story surpasses the anime. Yup, that's right...the game starts through the Golden Age Arc, continues on to where the 2016 anime was left, and beyond (The Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc). Without spoiling it too much for you guys, it does move along closely to the manga. And yes, the graphics is as standard as what you'd expect from Dynasty Warriors, meeting the minimum standards to games these days.

For those who haven't watched the anime or follow the manga...Berserk follows a mercenary named Guts, who joins a group named The Band of the Hawks, in which he moves up their ranks. Through his time with this group, he befriends their leader, Griffiths, and is eventually accepted as part of the group. Due to some horrific event, things get nasty. Fast forward to years after, Guts has made a reputation to be known as the Black Swordsman, in which he travels to seek revenge for what had happened to him. That's the very simple version in which we won't say too much more to keep this spoiler free!

Besides the expected and satisfying gameplay, the fantastic story-line due to it following closely to the anime and manga, there are various modes that lets you try the various characters Guts meets in the narrative. So yes...though story mode forces you to only use Guts, which makes perfect sense, there is the addition of Free mode, where you're able to replay a level that you've completed, but with a selection of characters such as Griffiths, Casca, Zodd and more. And to top it off, there's also an Endless Eclipse mode. For you Berserk fans out there...the name says it all, and as per Free mode, you're able to use any of the wide selection of characters.

If you're a fan of the Dynasty Warriors series, and are a fan of Berserk, then this is definitely worth picking up. Omega Force has played it safe as they've used the exact same formula in Dynasty Warriors. Some people might even go as far as saying that it's the same game but pretty much is. However, if you haven't had time to watch the anime to read the manga, this is definitely a good way to catch up to it. Think of it as an interactive medium to the story.

Thanks to Koei Tecmo for supplying the game for review

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