Berserk Game Shows Off More Carnage

Koei Tecmo’s upcoming Berserk and the Band of the Hawk [official site] has me giddy like a schoolgirl. I never got around to picking up Sword of the Berserk: Guts’ Rage back on the Dreamcast and really regret not doing so when I found it at Half-Price Books, so this’ll be my first proper Berserk game.

I just know that once it’s released and it’s on my system proper my sacrificial brand tattoo will pulsate and/or bleed, just like Guts. Is that weird? Oh well, there are some new costumes and a trailer to check out if you’re into Berserk as much as I am. Yes, a musou-styled, Dynasty Warriors-esque release from the mind of Berserk creator Kentaro Miura. Yes, please.

The trailer spans four minutes and includes the kind of carnage you expect from a Berserk game, with four minutes showing off Guts cutting through loads of minions like a hot knife through butter. Lady Farnese is being a jerk like she always is, and hey — is that the horse from that one scene? Oh please, let it be true.

Griffith is as beautiful as always as he cuts down dozens of enemies at once with a devastating attack, and Casca (oh, sweet, Casca!) is back to normal for a few fleeting moments here as she goes to work. Oh, and the rest of the characters are here too, but do you really need to worry about the rest of them?

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is due out on February 21, 2017 via Steam.

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  1. Baines says:

    PC version isn’t going to look anywhere as good as that trailer. Koei is most likely going to continue using its PS3-based PC version of its Musou engine.

    The game does, like most of the spin-offs, introduce its own ideas, but it still looks like the combat is more Dynasty than Samurai. Jump has been replaced with a toned down Spirit Dash, looks like a mix between Hyrule’s dodge and Samurai’s Dash. Samurai’s recharging skills/items are present, seeming in the form of five or six character-specific abilities and items. Rage Musous seem to be a bit more like Samurai’s version than Dynasty in that they aren’t all absurdly long. The Apostles can transform into their true forms, and it isn’t a canned attack animation.

    But Samurai’s other mechanics appear absent, and Samurai actually has a lot of mechanics that attempt to give a bit more meat to Warriors-style combat. (Last second blocks that stagger, parries, guard breaks, a special attack against staggered opponents, an entire second combo chain built around dashing and killing generic troops, zones of control, etc.)

    And the Warriors system honestly isn’t necessarily a great fit for a Berserk game, anymore than One Piece was. While people think about Guts carving his way through fodder armies, the more dramatic moments are the fights with various Apostles. The Warriors engine has never really done a good job with big monster fights. Orochi made them larger punching bags. Hyrule got the scale and the impact right, and mostly avoided the punching bag feel, but did the latter by using an honestly rather annoying Zelda-style “wait for the enemy to perform a specific attack, so you can counter with a specific item to expose a weak spot” design. The videos of Berserk Musou already show that Omega Force has reduced the size of Apostles and monsters, and one gameplay video shows a fight with a monster just treats the monster like a very long life bar punching bag that doesn’t flinch or get knocked around.

    • Brittany Vincent says:

      Look, it’s going to give me Guts and Griffith and full reign to kill dudes as one of them. That’s all I need. :P

      But I appreciate your analysis, even though none of it matters to me personally. I’m gonna see only the fact that it’s Berserk, there’s a lot of characters, and I can mess around in it. I’m anime trash~

    • Crafter says:

      I am with you on the poor choice of mechanics.
      Something closer to Bloodborne/Dark Souls would have been a way better fit.
      With some emphasis on large groups of enemies you need to crowd control but are able to kill in one hit and some huge boss battles, we could have a great Berserk game.
      That would be a huge risk though (vs reusing the mechanics/engine of Musou).

      Still, if the gameplay is tight enough, it might be fun to navigate this world again.

      The “special costume” for Casca is not a great sight.. It goes pretty much contrary to everything that makes the character interesting and is just level 0 icky fan service.

      And who came up with such a weird name for this game ?

      • Baines says:

        Koei is pushing the female sexual exploitation aspect of the series more than Miura did. (Miura at least tied such things more into the story and the world, and did have things sometimes happen to men as well.)

        The initial teaser trailer was naked Casca being molested by tentacles, while the full trailer showed it was indeed referencing what happened at the Eclipse. The pre-order DLC was mindless Casca in a wet shirt. The third trailer has Casca being molested by spirits and has a brief shot of the possessed horse over Farnese.

      • SMGreer says:

        To be fair, Casca is victim to a lot of icky fan service in the manga itself. Having a “sexy” dlc costume is bottom of the barrel garbage sure but that something like it is in the game isn’t really surprising to me at all.

      • Baines says:

        As for weird name…

        In Japan, it is the obvious Berserk Musou. I guess Koei’s western branches decided that “Berserk Warriors” was a bit too vague, so they went with (the popular but apparently incorrectly translated) “Band of the Hawk” addition. (Miura has confirmed that it should have been Falcon, not Hawk. The US manga translation switched to using Falcon, though others continue to use Hawk.)

        “Berserk and the Band of the Hawk” sounds weird, but one could argue that it is technically correct, since the beginning of the manga did have Puck refer to Guts as “Berserk”…

        • Crafter says:

          Thanks for the explanation.

          It is still a weird choice of name since at no point in the story Gut’s nickname was Berserk.
          Black Swordman.
          Hundred Man Slayer
          are all names he has been given in the story (not sure about the translations though)

          But never Berserk.

          Not the worst thing in the world but it is still a seemingly random name. I just hope that the rest of the translations won’t be that hit and miss.

  2. AngoraFish says:

    So, I’ve not come across this series before, but if I’m reading the trailer correctly it involves invincible characters chaining ultimate power moves knocking down screenfulls of rag dolls, over and over and over and over and over and over and cutscene and over?

    • Baines says:

      To be fair, in the series Guts isn’t actually invincible when he’s mowing through armies. Pre-Eclipse Guts looks nearly dead after the 100 man battle. He loses an eye and cuts off his own hand at the Eclipse. He’s constantly shot and stabbed. When he gets the Berserker Armor, he looks nearly unstoppable, but the armor itself is killing him. (The armor removes his sense of pain and magically jams spikes into his body to hold his broken bones together, letting him fight past normal incapacitation.)

      But Guts himself is special by birth, by training, and by continued exposure to magical things. Most other human characters are more fragile. (Griffith is also special for story-spoiler reasons.)

      Zodd and the other Apostles are far beyond human standards. The Warriors system honestly *under-represents* their abilities. Pre-Eclipse, Zodd would fight armies in his human form without taking any damage at all. (He says as much to Guts, when Guts hurts him and later when Griffith takes his arm. Which Zodd then nearly instantly heals by sticking the severed limb to the stump.) The God Hand are another large leap above the Apostles. Black Swordsman Guts cannot even touch Femto, while Femto with just a glance sends Guts into a wall so hard that everyone just assumes Guts is dead at that point. Reborn Griffith is at an unknown level of power, though it is still far above human and is now being combined with a rather tactical mind (whereas Femto saw no point beyond relying on raw power).

      So, yeah… Half the characters shouldn’t be able to carve their way through an army at all while the other half should never be at risk while carving their way through an army. Schierke might be able to beat an army, but she would be completely vulnerable for several minutes during the spellcasting.

    • Ksempac says:

      OK, I’ve tried several times to write a comment that would explain the gameplay, make sense and yet do it justice but I’ve failed.
      That’s because while the Dynasty Warriors’s gameplay has always been very basic, it also feel great to play in a rather unique way.

      It’s the only kind of games that can throw hundreds of enemies at you for a very satisfying feeling of plowing through armies all by yourself. I know of no game where you can go all by yourself and ends up with a kill count in the thousands. It becomes repetitive after a while, the engine are usually crappy, but it’s a sort of silly fun that is so enjoyable that you won’t mind its quirks.

      So i would advise you to either try a Dynasty Warrior game yourself (preferably from the main game rather than the spin-off series), or try to check out Youtube but i doubt you will get it by only watching without actually playing it.

    • Ashabel says:

      To expand on the two comments above me: the reason why the comments in this article are so conflicted is because while Warriors games are often great, they are great for the reasons pretty much opposite to why Berserk is great.

      The emotional tone of Warriors games is best compared to the movie 300 and the like. It plants you in the middle of an enemy army, makes you feel vulnerable and outnumbered, then gives you enough tools to overcome basically everything placed in front of you. It’s that distinct flavor of power fantasy where you should technically lose, but your sheer skill and tactical thinking ensures that you come out on top in the end (the later games further push that angle by adding objectives to your huge battles, to ensure that it feels like you’re turning the tide on the field of battle).

      Berserk is the manga that inspired Dark Souls and most easily compared to the original Conan stories by Robert E. Howard, before the movie and everyone else completely missed the point. Much like in the original Conan, the major aspect of Berserk is vulnerability. Guts is huge and strong, but he is also a regular human being going up against monsters the size of small houses, with wings of steel, bladed tentacles and beartraps for teeth. His fights are won through dirty tactics, fear-powered desperation and raw tenacity, with one-on-one fights that often leave him wrecked and weakly hobbling to the nearest safe point. Like in Dark Souls, the feeling of victory is less blood-boiling triumph and more the satisfaction of knowing that Guts will live to fight another day.

      So the emotions are conflicted because Band of the Hawk is sure to be a great game, it will just be an awful Berserk game.

  3. stringerdell says:

    Cant wait! any Berserk game on PC is good news as far as Im concerned.

  4. Psychomorph says:


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    Syt says:

    I’m surprised to see them go very far in the manga story arc. And I see Wyald is featured rather prominently? Though I hope they leave out his underage girl raping and carrying their body parts as battle standards if he’s meant to be a sympathetic dude? Then again they titillate with childlike Casca’s wet t-shirt. I’m sure Konami would call it “Erotic Violence.”

    • Baines says:

      The 2004 PS2 game had already covered a chunk of the Millenium Empire arc, stopping after Guts received the Berserker armor, which is pretty much where Miura had gotten to at that point.

  6. int says:

    Pre-order for Casca in a wet t-shirt? What.

  7. racccoon says:

    Isn’t there any normality in this games advancements, surely you can’t just go around killing mass’s, this would get boring quickly, there has to be a point of the few over the mass. Maybe the story might work it out, but so far from the scenes its chaos that would get rather monotonous after a 10 – 20 minutes. It nicely done with background blur and bendy vertices but its still kind of overkill.

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