It'd be hard not to know by now, but I'm an absolutely huge fan of the original Berserk Animé and Manga. In past posts I've created a guide to get new fans into the series, spoken about what's gone right and wrong in the latest 2016 Animé and have revealed a ton of info relating to Koei/Tecmo's upcoming title. So, what's new in this article?
To begin, it has now been confirmed that the new Berserk Musou title by Koei/Tecmo's Omega Force will be called "Berserk and the Band of the Hawk". The most up to date logo for the game is what you see above as the header image for this opinion piece.
The game itself covers the story from the very beginning of Guts' adventure (The Golden Age) and runs all the way up to the Millennium Falcon arc. It's still not been said as to whether or not the complete Black Swordsman and Lost Children arcs will be included, but I'd say at this point it is highly likely to be included, especially the Black Swordsman arc, already confirmed via screenshots of Guts versus both The Count and The Snake Baron.
Additionally, the game will include approximately 120 minutes of cinematic footage and although it's clear they're using footage ripped directly from the 2012/2013 movies, it's not completely clear as to whether or not we'll be seeing any new footage to cover the story that hasn't already been animated over the past nineteen years. It'd be nice, but Koei have a tendency to condense the story where possible, so I'm not holding my hopes out on that one.
Below, I've included the three new trailers I've sourced across the net (two of which have only been released in Japan at this point) and will be giving my views on each one, with the western release date being revealed at the end of this article. So, be sure to read on as there's a lot more to be seen!
On the trailer front, first up we have Zodd:
Okay, so now that you've seen Zodd in action, what do you think? I personally feel they've captured his essence perfectly in this gameplay segment. He's brutal enough in his humanoid form, with each hit feeling suitably powerful, but his Apostle form is even more badass as he quadruples in size, slapping soldiers aside as if they were nothing. The scene of this fight is where episode 6 of the original 1997 Animé takes place and is where Guts, Griffith and The Band of the Hawk come across the monstrous Zodd for the first time. Story wise, this was a hint of what's to come much later down the line. Needless to say, I'm actually pretty excited to play as Zodd and revel in the absurd amount of power he possesses.
Potentially even more exciting, is the fact that up next we have gameplay featuring Guts in his iconic Berserker Armour:
For me, seeing this is absolutely amazing. Initially I only wanted a company like Platinum Games to make this, because being ex-Capcom staff and the creators of the original Devil May Cry, I knew they could create incredibly haunting, dark and atmospheric environments, plus their combat mechanics are usually focused on timing, combo's and precision. A Berserk game with a great combat system is what I'd really love and although I don't think there will be many combo's in this game, just from watching the movement of Berserker Guts above, it's clear to me now that Koei/Tecmo know what they're doing and having Kentaro Miura on board to oversee the project and influence it in ways only he could, it seems only a good thing.
The gameplay is incredibly fast and satisfying to watch, so playing it will likely be an even greater experience, but what I find most interesting is how each form of each character seemingly handles so vastly different to one another. Standard Guts is relatively sluggish in movement, but incredibly strong with his hits. Yet, as soon as Berserker Guts activates his Berserker Armour, he practically goes insane (just like the Manga), becoming much faster, attacking with sheer ferocity and overwhelming power. It all looks so wonderfully stylish!
For the final video of this article, we have a brand new gameplay trailer just released today:
Okay, so apart from the fact everything looks so nice, who's excited to see Skull Knight, along with the sexy, yet undeniably grotesque materialisation of Slan? Oxymorons aside, I have high hopes for this game and with the bombardment of media lately, it's really got me in the mood for Koei's upcoming dark and brutal adventure. Seeing Zodd holding Griffith makes me especially happy, only Griffith isn't the only one who rode Zodd in the Manga. For more on that you'll have to wait and see if the scene makes it into the game, otherwise read the Manga. As for the detail, I feel it needs another mention - Everything just looks so, so perfect and accurate to the original content. Koei have certainly done a fine job visually here, as both the character models and environments look amazing.
Berserk and the Band of the Hawk will release in the west (UK, Europe and North America) on the 24th February 2017 for Playstation 4, Playstation Vita and Steam.
Although this means eager fans will have to wait a little longer, it gives Koei/Tecmo a lot more time to polish and refine this title, hopefully raising the bar and setting new standards for Animé titles within the gaming industry. Attack on Titan was really good (you can read my full review of that here), but I want this to be great!
What do you think of Berserk? Agree with this article? Looking forward to playing it? Whatever the case, let us know in the comments below or hit me up on twitter @CaptainCortez.
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