Review: Berserk and the Band of the Hawk (Computer)

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk: Official GBAtemp Review

Computer 3,907 views 3 likes 8 comments
Reviewed by Prans Dunn, posted Feb 21, 2017
Feb 21, 2017
  • Release Date (NA): February 21, 2017
  • Release Date (EU): February 21, 2017
  • Release Date (JP): October 27, 2016
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Omega Force
  • Genres: Hack and Slash
  • ESRB Rating: Mature
  • Also For: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
How does Game on Thrones on steroids fare as a 'Warriors' skin?
Prans Dunn

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The Band of the Hawk

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is a video game adaptation of Kentaro Miura's epic Berserk manga series with the gameplay of the Dynasty Warriors series.


For those new to the series, Berserk follows the adventures (and misadventures) of the over-sized-sword-wielding mercenary named Guts, in a dark fantasy medieval Europe-inspired setting. The series explores various themes like isolation, camaraderie, and the fundamentals of human nature, and is noted for its bloody, gory and sexual content. The manga is currently ongoing as is the new anime, which has a "season 2" scheduled for spring 2017.
 

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"A Good Old Massacre"

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk follows the story of the manga series, almost to the letter, starting in the Golden Age Arc and ending in the Hawk of the Millennium Empire Arc.


Yes, the game does have great fanservice with new, HD anime-style cutscenes (and some CGI ones) with English subs and Japanese dubs by the same voice actors as the anime! Fans of the series will be delighted to see and relieve the Golden Age Arc in new animation and experience first-hand the iconic battles. Nevertheless this does not imply that newcomers or those who need a refresher will be left out, as the "Events and Talks" tab fills up as you progress, and effectively develops the story.

 

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The signature ‘one versus thousands’ gameplay of the Warriors franchise is a no-brainer for a Berserk video game adaptation. As you engage in the numerous battles in Story Mode, the game limits your character choice depending on the the scenario, but you're free to choose your favourite character and hack and slash your way through the hordes of enemies in any unlocked scenario in Free Mode (yes, we can finally pit Zodd against Zodd!).
Before setting off into battle, you can equip your character with items (purchased or obtained from treasure chests) that will enhance his/her stats, buy/sell/upgrade weapons and you can even bring along a trusty battle horse! The latter, other than being a sweet addition, will help you travel through the map quicker while stomping your way through the enemies blocking your way.

 

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The game's simple and intuitive controls give you full command of Guts and co. and the combat isn't only mindless button mashing either, as stronger opponents will require you to cunningly execute combos to take them out. If you feel the need for more challenge, the game has got you covered with its 4 difficulty settings (Easy, Normal, Hard, Berserk), which you can apply before any mission. The dynamic gameplay makes for an enjoyable experience too as your objectives update in real-time during battles, and indispensable for you to keep track of it all are your map and locking-on to your targets. In addition to their primary weapon, each character also wields a sub-weapon offering unique abilities and effects that can come in handy in tight situations; Guts wields a crossbow and an artificial arm cannon allowing for quick-fire or explosive long-range attacks, Zodd can perform brutal rush attacks, Schierke can cast her magical spells and summon companions. However these sub-weapons become temporarily unavailable after use.

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The game also features the Endless Eclipse Mode, where players can prove their worth as they go face to face with countless foes in the Eclipse dimension. This mode has players fighting for their life as they rush to complete various missions to overcome the deadly Eclipse. Slashing their way through the layers of this realm as they struggle for survival, players will face opponents and missions which are gradually tougher, but success will reward you with better equipment to tackle the main game mode.
 

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Go Berserk or Go Home

So how does Berserk and the Band of the Hawk fare as a Warriors skin? It's really more than a mere skin, for the game breathes a life for itself by imparting the basic Warriors gameplay and the distinct touch of Berserk features, with faithful anime-grade cutscenes. It is a game primarily aimed at fans of the manga/anime, but definitely enjoyable by those who are not thanks to the gripping story that Berserk entails and a dynamic gameplay that captures the tense, action-packed style of Berserk.

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Verdict
Pros
+ Great fanservice
+ New HD anime cutscenes
+ Enjoyable by fans and newcomers alike
+ Lots and lots to play
Cons
- Lack of enemy variety
- UI looks a bit rough around the edges
7 Presentation
Although the UI looks a bit rough around the edges, the new anime cutscenes makes the game feel like an interactive anime at times.
8 Gameplay
The 'Warriors' style of gameplay works perfectly in the setting of Berserk.
9 Lasting Appeal
The bulky story mode itself will keep you busy before you can undertake the other two modes and you can spice it all up with its 4 difficulty levels.
8.5
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
'Berserk and the Band of the Hawk' manages to adapt the popular manga series in all of its glorious badassery in video game format for fans and newcomers alike.
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