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Review – Berserk and The Band of The Hawk

Within the madness of games coming out this year, a few titles do go overlooked. One of those titles happens to be the newest addition to a Warriors game. Berserk and The Band of The Hawk follows the tales of Guts and company as do the exploits that made The Band of The Hawk famous and thensome. Does this Warriors game stand out in some way or does it fall as one of the countless enemies in a warriors game? Let’s take a look.

Berserk and The Band of The Hawk
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Series: Dynasty Warriors
Platforms: PlayStation 3 (JP only), PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, & Microsoft Windows
Release Dates: PlayStation 3 – JP: October 27, 2016; PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita – JP: October 27, 2016, NA: February 21, 2017, & EU: February 24, 2017; Microsoft Windows – WW: February 21, 2017
Genres: Hack and Slash; Action
Mode: Single-player

*This review covers the PlayStation 4 and PSVita versions of the game. Special thanks to Koei Tecmo for providing the review code for the Playstation 4 version.*

Intro/Story:

The story focuses on the daring and heroic life of Guts, cutting his way through the world of sword, magic and demonic creatures, and contains action, romance, drama and humor – all essential elements of first-class entertainment!
The game follows the story of the manga series, starting in the Golden Age Arc and ending in the Hawk of the Millennium Empire Arc.

The game basically follows the first few arcs of the manga and anime. From what it was, despite cutting out a few notable parts, it stays faithful to the anime and manga. Overall, It does tell a good retelling of the main points that occurred so far in the Berserk story. Being a newcomer to Berserk overall, it is what actually got me into the anime and manga in the first place. I am sure newcomers in general will feel the same. It is a Berserk abridged if you will. Simply put, it is a Berserk story for a Berserk game. It is made for existing fans and new fans. It pulled me in to see what was going to happen, and held me til the completion.

The problem is… it just ends too. Looking into it, that is how the anime and manga ended for a bit too. So it makes sense, but how can you have that build up in the game and it just suddenly ends? It makes me wonder if there will be story DLC or another entry in the game story. Whatever may happen, it just left a bad taste in my mouth, but forced me to go to the anime/manga afterward. So, for getting a new Berserk fan, it did the job. Existing fans would be a mixed bag.


Intro/story score: 3/5
; Being a new fan of Berserk I did enjoy this intro into that series. However, the story itself in the game missed some good parts in the anime/manga. In addition, the story itself (both game and otherwise) just takes an unusual turn which I am not sure how to take. Add suddenly ending the story at a key part (for obvious reasons), not having much more beyond it, and it just gets a bit dull. Once again being a newcomer I am only speaking from my point of view. Others may love it, others may hate it. I just enjoyed it for what it was and had my disappointments in presentation.

Gameplay:

Through and through this is a Warriors game, so you will get Warriors gameplay. It consists of killing a bunch of enemies, taking over key points on the map, doing the objective given (which is usually kill X person or a number of enemies), and getting to the end point on the map (when instructed). It is basically cut and dry. You also get the option of unlocking/using your berserker armor, which intensifies strength and nearly destroys everything. It just makes killing over 1000 people so easy.

There are two more modes outside the story mode. One is the free play where you can use any character on any map. Still the same basis, get some objectives, kill as many people as you can, rinse and repeat. The other mode is Endless Eclipse Mode. This mode consists of going through endless floors (hence the name of the mode) where the eclipse is upon the player. You need to do certain objectives (kill X amount of people or X person), find items, and get through five floors at a time. It varies in different locations, but overall the gameplay is the same as it always is.

Not much is done in this game to deviate from any warriors game in terms of gameplay. This is a shame considering when Koei Tecmo made Hyrule Warriors and/or One Piece Warriors 3 it varied it in some way. This is just core gameplay and that’s that. Nothing else beyond that. This is coming from a huge Warriors fan. I still had some issues and the lack of variety is upsetting.

Heads up, on the PsVita version, there is a ton of frame drops, especially with the amount of people on screen. The vita cannot handle it by much means. The load time on the PSVita is also pretty bad. The frame drops happens once in a while on the PS4 and load time is about 4-10 seconds. This is kind of baffling as One Piece Warriors 3 worked pretty much the same on both the Vita and PS4. One is to wonder why this issue is present here and not there. One major issue on both versions is the camera. If you are backed up into a wall, you will not see a thing. You will not know what happens. It becomes frustrating just mashing buttons to get out of that corner.

One thing to note, Guts is pretty OP. Just level him up and put some accesories on him and you can get through almost any level with a breeze. Swtich up the use of characters.

Gameplay Score (PS4): 3/5, (PsVita): 2.5/5; ; It is fun for what it is. However, Berserk and The Band of The Hawk does nothing to deviate itself from the usual formula of a Warriors game. It has the same gameplay, and with the same gameplay comes the same flaws. PsVita and PS4 has its loading and framerate issues (worse on PsVita), and some other issues are very present in the game. It feels as if they just rushed the game out of the door before the new installations made its debut.

Visual/Audio:

Visually, it is not the best looking Warriors game on the PS4. With some copy and paste backgrounds in any of the modes, and pretty mediocre environment. Only impressive thing about the PS4 visuals is the character models. They took their time to detail them.

Ps4 visuals^

Another impressive and welcomed visual element is the use of the anime cutscenes in the game to tell the story. They take actual visuals from the anime to tell the story. It is well done in that transition.

For the PsVita, it is more or less the same as the PS4 version. While the visuals aren’t on par completely with the PS4 version, the Vita does hold its own. There is obvious downgrades to nearly all visuals. However, the character details are still the best looking elements in the visual departnment. There is still obvious downgrade even to the character models, but still the best elements. Once again, how did this occur? With One Piece Warriors 3, the visuals for the Vita version were not this bad. It seems once again they just rushed this out on par with the newest Berserk content. Regardless the characters are the best visuals in the game, and the use of the anime scenes is still the same quality as the anime.

PsVita Visuals ^

Visual Score (PS4): 3/5; With proper use of the anime cutscenes, and character details the visuals are alright. those are the best two visual elements on the PS4 version.

Visual Score: (PsVita): 2/5; obvious downgrades in nearly all aspects, which is a first for a PsVita and Ps4 version of the same game for me. As the same of the PS4 vision, the visuals and anime usage is the best part of the visuals.

Audio wise:

PS4 – The Audio is fine. No real complaints besides the soundtrack. The same tracks are used constantly with no real variety. This has been the issue with Warriors games in general. It does fit the game, but still one can wish for more variety besides almost the nearly same track for every level, and same track for nearly ever boss.

When Wings Rest

However, a welcome bonus is that in Berserk and The Band of The Hawk, the original characters of the Japan anime reprised their roles for this game for the voice work. It is authentic, and it is well done. It is very much appreciated in this game and a very welcome bonus.

*this is where a vita track would be if I could record one without degrading the quality even further*

PsVita – The audio complains from the PS4 version are the same here. However, as an added bonus (or negative I suppose) is the audio sounds as if the quality is completely off. It sounds as if it is going through a telephone, or a bad quality microphone. Some Vita ports of Warriors games had this issue, while others did not. It just hurts the game when they do not take the time to fix this issue. This is also the same for the voice acting in the game. The quality is just not there and it suffers in this aspect. I understand in America this is a digital only title. It is also a large title for being a digital download. If there was more effort put into it, it may have been larger, but it would have been a much better experience.

Audio score (ps4): 4/5; One of better aspects in the game. Everything is on par, but little variety in the actual music. The use of actual anime cast is very much welcomed for voice work in Beserk and The Band of The Hawk.

Audio score (PsVita): 2/5; Honestly, one of the worst audio aspects I ever encoutnered in a Vita game. Very lazy, lack of quality in all aspects of the audio department. It is sloppy and feels rushed in all aspects.

Fun Factor:

Is the game fun? I can honestly say I love the Warriors games and their spinoff titles like this. It is a break away from the normal JRPGs, Adventure, Open World, and other game genres. When you just want to mindless get a break from the norm, you can pop a warriors game in and just lose yourself for a bit. The added bonus is if you are a Berserk fan, it adds that story which you can enjoy.

That being said, to keep this short and sweet, the game is fun on the PS4 with the minor issues. However, for the PsVita version, it is a mixed bag. It can be just as fun, but it has way too many issues to fully enjoy it. I personally preferred the PS4 version completely over the Vita version. If only one had to be picked, get the Ps4 version, and remote play it to vita. The issues the vita has are non existant in remote play as it is just streaming from the ps4.

Fun Factor score: 3.5/5; It is a Warriors game that somewhat fits the Berserk mold. It is fun for most, not fun for others. Chances are if you enjoy a warriors game, you will enjoy this game to a point. This is likewise if you are a newcomer to Berserk or a Berserk fan in general. If you do not like the warriors game, you most likely will not like this game.

Replay Value:

Most Warriors game have some degree of replay value outside of the story. This one is lacking much of that value. You have the story mode, the free play (which has no value outside just free play), and the endless eclispe mode. Once you are done with the story, you can go back and collect Behelits which is used to unlock in game wallpapers. Endless eclispe mode is, straight to the point, the unlock things mode. You progress with each character just to unlock stuff for them. Behelit collecting is present here as well.

In most Warriors game this is varied in some way and makes it seem interesting and invested. This is just cut and dry. Not much really besides “hey do this, get this”. It gets straight to that point, with no actual variety or interesting points. It can be for most people who want to get straight to that point, but overall it is just lacking in anything interesting. This could have been possibly improved like past Warriors games. The ones that come to mind are Hyrule Warriors and One Piece Warriors 3. You do get collecting modes, but you also get extra original story modes, and other modes that are interesting and engaging. This has nothing like that, but would have been wonderful if it did.

Replay Value score: 3/5; Berserk and The Band of The Hawk has some extra things to keep a player coming back. However, they are not as engaging or interesting as past Warrior games. If you want something straight to the point, this game has it. If not, and want something interesting like past Warrior games, you won’t enjoy endless grinding to get some small things.

Conclusion/Wrap-up:

Berserk and The Band of The Hawk is an unique take on a Warriors game. It just gets straight to the point and well… that is about it. There is not much to keep a player engaged beyond that. The story is welcomed to fans of the series, or newcomers. I never paid attention to Berserk in general, but this game motivated me to read the mangas and watch the anime episodes. I owe thanks to that much of the game. Outside of that, there is nothing more besides that story. The extra content is not worth the time grinding and little variety is keeping this game back. It feels like a cash in for the upcoming Berserk stuff. I hope new installments come for that new content (or DLC) that covers that new story content. Otherwise, it is just there for the cashgrab I feel. I recommend grabbing the PS4 version over the Vita version (and this is coming from a huge Vita supporter). That quality on the Vita port is simply not there and isn’t worth the time to play it in my opinion. Berserk and The Band of The Hawk goes Berserk, but gets mowed down like one of this nameless enemies in the Warriors game in the launch of huge titles this gaming year.

Wrap-Up:
Intro/story score: 3/5; Being a new fan of Berserk I did enjoy this intro into that series. However, the story itself in the game missed some good parts in the anime/manga. In addition, the story itself (both game and otherwise) just takes an unusual turn which I am not sure how to take. Add suddenly ending the story at a key part (for obvious reasons), not having much more beyond it, and it just gets a bit dull. Once again being a newcomer I am only speaking from my point of view. Others may love it, others may hate it. I just enjoyed it for what it was and had my disappointments in presentation.
Gameplay Score (PS4): 3/5, (PsVita): 2.5/5; ; It is fun for what it is. However, Berserk and The Band of The Hawk does nothing to deviate itself from the usual formula of a Warriors game. It has the same gameplay, and with the same gameplay comes the same flaws. PsVita and PS4 has its loading and framerate issues (worse on PsVita), and some other issues are very present in the game. It feels as if they just rushed the game out of the door before the new installations made its debut.
Visual Score (PS4): 3/5; With proper use of the anime cutscenes, and character details the visuals are alright. those are the best two visual elements on the PS4 version.
Visual Score: (PsVita): 2/5; obvious downgrades in nearly all aspects, which is a first for a PsVita and Ps4 version of the same game for me. As the same of the PS4 vision, the visuals and anime usage is the best part of the visuals.
Audio score (ps4): 4/5; One of better aspects in the game. Everything is on par, but little variety in the actual music. The use of actual anime cast is very much welcomed for voice work in Beserk and The Band of The Hawk.
Audio score (PsVita): 2/5; Honestly, one of the worst audio aspects I ever encoutnered in a Vita game. Very lazy, lack of quality in all aspects of the audio department. It is sloppy and feels rushed in all aspects.
Fun Factor score: 3.5/5; It is a Warriors game that somewhat fits the Berserk mold. It is fun for most, not fun for others. Chances are if you enjoy a warriors game, you will enjoy this game to a point. This is likewise if you are a newcomer to Berserk or a Berserk fan in general. If you do not like the warriors game, you most likely will not like this game.
Replay Value score: 3/5; Berserk and The Band of The Hawk has some extra things to keep a player coming back. However, they are not as engaging or interesting as past Warrior games. If you want something straight to the point, this game has it. If not, and want something interesting like past Warrior games, you won’t enjoy endless grinding to get some small things.

Score Breakdown:

PS4
Intro/story: 3
Gameplay: 3
Visual: 3
Audio: 4
Fun Factor: 3.5
Replay: 3

Final Score: 19.5/30

PsVita
Intro/story: 3
Gameplay: 2.5-3
Visual: 2
Audio: 2
Fun Factor: 3
Replay: 3

Final Score: 15.5/30

About Mgs2master2

Mgs2master2
A gamer and jack of all trades. I enjoy many things, but overall just enjoying life. Hopefully, I can add enjoyment to your life through my articles or interactions.

One comment

  1. Keith L Salmon II

    I wish they had the English cast for the US version of the anime because they were excellent. And it gets distracting trying to read subtitles and fight at the same time

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