Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is the latest spin off of the Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors series. Unlike many other adaptations of Berserk, this release follows Guts’ story past the infamous Golden Age arc and covers the entire current story of Berserk. On paper this seems like a perfect match, but a rushed story mode and lack luster boss encounters bog down what is otherwise a satisfying Berserk experience.
Despite its gritty aesthetic and anime presentation, this is ultimately a Dynasty Warriors hack-and-slash title; its gameplay does not attempt to reinvent the series’ formula. As such, you can expect to be repeating the same combos over and over again to decimate thousands of enemies. However, unlike a typical musou game, Berserk and the Band of the Hawk offers satisfying combat thanks to simple character customization and progression, leading to varied movesets and the ability to tear enemies to shreds while in frenzy mode. Unfortunately, the boss fights are plagued by a constant need to dash out of the way of attacks and often have the player struggling to see the action, with the camera often being obscured during these encounters.
Like other adaptations of the manga the golden age arc is given a lot of attention. There are plenty of cutscenes, including shots taken directly from the Berserk Golden Age trilogy films. Sadly, this attention to detail is lacking in other arcs covered in the story mode. Luckily, the Endless Eclipse mode makes up for this with thrilling encounters and few breaks between each battles. Players are also able to use whichever character they want in this mode.
Regardless, this title is a good entry point to first experience Berserk for any newcomers to the series. Longtime fans may be annoyed by the reuse of scenes from the Golden Age movies and wish other arcs past that point received more attention - I know I did. But the game's addictive and satisfying combat ensures Berserk and the Band of the Hawk will remain installed on my PS4 throughout 2017.
Versions tested: Playstation 4
Disclaimer: A copy of this game was provided to RPG Site by the publisher.