In the dark medieval fantasy genre of anime and manga, there is one series that has always stayed as a favorite of many. “Berserk,” created by Kentaro Miura, is an incredibly epic and hellishly gore-filled story of the ventures of the protagonist, Guts, a lone, cursed mercenary. The series has spawned countless volumes of manga, a popular late 90’s anime series, a film trilogy, a recent continuation of the 90’s anime, and a few mediocre video games. A new addition to the Berserk games has become available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and PC. “Berserk: Band of the Hawk,” developed by Omega Force and produced by Koei Tecmo, gives fans of the series a proper game that puts the player into the body of Guts and his incredible power.
The story in the game coincides with the story of the manga going from the beginning “Golden Age Arc” all the way up to the “Hawk of the Millennium Empire Arc.” The story tells of how the young Guts became part of the Band of the Hawk and how he soon became marked with the cursed power to see and hear demons that have been sent to hunt him in the night. Carrying the giant and impenetrable sword, Dragonslayer, and having a few other weaponry tricks up his sleeve, Guts sets out to find the one who cursed him and get his revenge.
The gameplay functions behind this game are almost an exact duplicate of the “Dynasty Warrior” games, which is understandable seeing as the company that made those games also produced “Berserk: Band of the Hawk.” The game is mostly an abundance of enemies thrown at the player; however, the character is powerful enough to slay many of them in a single blow, or at least knock them back. This function feels as the game itself is a hack and slash, meaning the player wields a sword and is pretty much swinging it all over to defeat large amounts of enemies. There are a few times in which players will go up against bosses that are found in the story of the series as well, giving the player even more of a challenge as well as progressing the plot along.
Animated segments for the single player story campaign are fully animated in both a 2D hand drawn and 3D highlighted style. Since both the movie trilogy and recent continuation of the anime series did not do so well being almost all 3D animated, it’s good to see some of the 2D hand drawn anime come back to the characters, just like in the 90’s.
“Berserk: Band of the Hawk” also has some customization thrown into it. With some bands and other items being received from defeating massive amounts of enemies, certain powers and buffs can be unlocked as well. These buffs are customizable to the many types of customizable trinkets, and the trinkets themselves level up, making the buffs even better in helping destroy enemies faster and obtaining more experience.
There are a few flaws in the game, such as the repetitiveness that increases the more the game is played. While it is fun to hack and slash through loads of bad guys, it gets boring after the thousandth army the player has slaughtered. Another issue is the lack of challenge. The game is very forgiving as it rewards the player with too much experience, has enemies with bosses that way they can easily defeat them by just repeatedly special attacking them, and having enemies that take forever to cause damage. The last problem isn’t technically an issue to some individuals. The game has no English dubbed audio, most of the audio is in Japanese; however, English subtitles are optional.
“Berserk: Band of the Hawk,” is a fun hack and slash game that can be a great stress reliever and has one of the most exciting and intense stories. While this game definitely isn’t for teens or children, its gore and slaughtering rampages bring mature gamers back for more. Hack and slash fans, dynasty warrior fans, players that want to feel like an overpowered knight, then this game is recommended. “Berserk: Band of the Hawk” gets the rating of 3.8/5.