Overall - 50%
The only reason you should be picking this game up is if you are a huge hack-and-slash fan, a big fan of Musou games like Dynasty Warriors, or a Berserk fan. If you aren't any of those, then you should skip this game.
Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is a hack-and-slash title inspired by the anime series Berserk. Does the game manage to capture the essence of Berserk, or is it just a cheap cash in? Check out our Berserk and the Band of the Hawk review and find out.
Berserk And The Band Of The Hawk ReviewBerserk and the Band of the Hawk follows the events of the series from The Golden Age Arc to the Hawk of the Millennium Empire Arc. For those of you who don’t know the series, this is from the start to about where the series was when the game came out. While you can play as other characters from time to time, this is a story about Guts and his search for revenge. Guts is a mercenary who joins up with the Band of the Hawk, an elite mercenary group who fights for the Midland army. Midland and Chuder have been at war for over 100 years, and with the help of mercenaries, the war is drawing to a close. This sets up the game like some typical medieval military hack-and-slash, which it isn’t. The events of the Golden Age last about three hours in-game, and then everything changes. You go from fighting humans to facing off with demons and other worldly creatures. Unfortunately, the game spoils who the main bad guy is right in the tutorial.
While the story and characters are done well, the gameplay unfortunately does not have much staying power. Sure it is great to take out 1,000 enemies in a single battle as Guts, but this gets boring after the first few hours. You soon find that each mission is very similar, and will find yourself waiting patiently to get to the next bit of story. Another factor is the lack of the series’ enemies in most battles. You do face off with some well-known villains at times, but most enemies are just generic soldiers. The worst part is, they all look the same with a couple different weapons and some different armor. I get the series doesn’t have a ton of casual bad guys (just one really evil one), but it doesn’t help the game one bit.
If you have never played a Dynasty Warriors type game before, the game tasks you with joining a battlefield and killing the enemy general. Later on, you sometimes have to just survive until dawn against the demons hunting you. These missions are fairly simple, and are done by mashing together a few different square and triangle combos together. When you find the combo you like, you are going to stick to that just to get through enemies as quickly as possible. You do get a few other items to use, like a hand cannon and throwing knives, but they just don’t do as much damage as your huge sword. Like I said earlier, some missions let you be other characters, but these are few and far between.
There are also bosses you will face during the main missions after about the first third of the game. I’ll just be blunt: they don’t work. They are these huge demons that are just super tanks, meaning they have way to much HP for it to be even remotely enjoyable. They are also so big that is makes it hard to see things when you are fighting them, because they push you around so much. The camera is not designed with huge enemies in mind, as you can easily get pushed up against a wall and lose sight of Guts completely. Thankfully, you have items you can use to help you hit harder or gain your “rage” quicker to make these fights go a little bit quicker.
Outside of the main story, you can also play in Endless Eclipse mode. Here you will play quicker missions, and at the end of five levels, you will be rewarded. What you are rewarded with is up to you, as you get to pick from gold, equipment, and bonus materials every five levels. With gold, you can buy new equipment at the shop and materials to upgrade said equipment. It is a very basic system, but it works for the most part. This starts off quick and painless, but then it also starts to drag on. There are no limits to how many levels you can beat in this mode.
The game is in Japanese with no English dub. It does look a bit dated, but I surprisingly ran into no drops in framerate. I say surprisingly, because there are upwards of 40-50 people on-screen at once, which is pretty impressive. The story will run you for about 12-15 hours, depending on what difficulty level you play on. Even on normal it sits on the easy side, so if you want a challenge, play on hard.
The only reason you should be picking this game up is if you are a huge hack-and-slash fan, a big fan of Musou games like Dynasty Warriors, or a Berserk fan. If you aren’t any of those, then you should skip this game.