Berserk: Band Of The Hawk Review for FTESWL

Written by: Afro of The Coli

MSRP $59.99Released for PC, PS4, PS3, PSVita

Single Player Only

And so, now you belong to me, Guts.

How far would you go for revenge? Would you wage war against demonkind on your own? Is it worth sacrificing yourself and those you care for in the process? This is a story about a man would will be forced to make such choices. Berserk: Band of the Hawk (or Berserk Musou in Japan) is an action/hack-and-slash game from the makers of Dynasty and Samurai Warriors. In Berserk: BOTH, you have three different modes to play in, Story Mode, Free Mode, and Endless Eclipse Mode.

Story mode will be where you spend most of the time, unlocking equipment, characters, and leveling up. Free Mode allows you to play any Story Mission with any character you’ve unlocked during gameplay. Endless Eclipse is a horde like mode where you go through 100 floors of increasing difficult enemies. If you’ve never played a Warriors game before, know that you will play an overpowered character carving through hundreds of enemies on screen in seconds. The Berserk license was used very well here, as you will feel every slash with the Dragon Slayer as you see blood and gore fly across the screen in every direction.

The main story follows our hero named Guts. His name is given to him from his foster parents as he was found underneath his mother’s corpse, as she hung from a tree in the middle of a battlefield. This is not a story for the faint of heart, and it does indeed become extreme dark (even in the game) so those who are easily squeamish, need not apply. Wandering the world as a mercenary during Midland’s “One-Hundred Year War” against the country of Chuder, Guts makes a name for himself during a siege on a castle.

Leaving with his pay, a band of mercenaries attempt to rob him of his newfound riches. He cuts through various members with ease, before being stopped by the leader of the group, a very charismatic leader named Griffith. This fateful encounter sets up one of the most emotional stories ever told through a medium. All audio is in Japanese with English subtitles, just a forewarning for those who hate reading as they run through a stage.

As you play through the game you are introduced to a host of characters from the Band of the Hawk. Casca, Judeau, and Griffith are playable characters during some story missions as well as Free Mode and Endless Eclipse. It follows the story of the Manga and Anime from the “Golden Age” arc to the “Falcon of the Millennium” arc. The developers weaved in footage from the 2016 movies, which is a nice touch and keeps you engaged as you fight from level to level (although they are heavily censored because it’s in a video game).

Taking control of Guts, you smash and cleave through various enemies (of varying shapes and sizes) through 46 Story Mode missions. Crocs, zombies, skeletons, demons, soldiers, dogs, and ghosts are on the menu to be cut in half during “Frenzy” mode. You end up dealing extra damage and enemies with cut in half with a satisfying sound as they leave their limbs on the battlefield. This allows you to fill up your Death Blow meter to unleash your special ability. It usually obliterates an entire room, so use it wisely.

Guts will level up as you kill enemies and after certain story missions his combos will change. He will also gain new sub-weapons to use such as knives to stun enemies and bombs to destroy an aggressively guarding enemy. I made sure to use them often because they can’t be consumed and have their own cooldowns. There damage can be raised and the cooldown lowered through raising the correct stat.

Accessories allow you to augment Guts (and other characters) stats with rings and necklaces. It can be a very deep system as you try to merge different abilities together. It’s fun to make a ring that allows you to swing a few times to max out your Frenzy gauge for maximum carnage. Grinding for the right stats can be annoying until you unlock more levels in the Endless Eclipse mode or have a big selection of levels to choose from in Free Mode.

Free mode is where you can use any character you’ve unlocked with any outfit and/or accessories you have, but the bread and butter is Endless Eclipse Mode. Endless Eclipse is 100 floors of increasing difficultly and relentless enemies. Each character unlocks different things and some of the best drops in the game come from this mode, so it is in your best interest to play this mode as much as possible. It slowly unlocks as you play the Story Mode and when I say it gets hard, sometimes I barely lived on the last unlocked floor. This is definitely the “endgame” of this spin-off title.

Last Thoughts:

Berserk: BOTH is extremely fun for me, I have over 40 hours in it. It’s true to the source material and controlling Guts feels like how the character should. It was nice to play through the Story events and see new events that weren’t shown in the Movies. Even if you have never heard of the series I urge you to check out the three part movie series if not the game. I urge you even further to check out the Manga (which is ongoing still with 38 volumes). It gets my seal of approval.



Author: FTESWL

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