E3 came and went with an okay showing. There was nothing groundbreaking for me but a few smaller things caught my eye. The thing that drew most of my attention though was something that I never imagined that I would want. The announcement of a Musou style game set in the Berserk universe came out of the left field with enough force to stand out among the titans of Zelda, The Last Guardian and Horizon Zero Dawn among others.
I only recently got into Berserk, having known of its existence for years but never having watched the anime until the start of this year. It was Dark Souls that finally twisted my arm and made me interested to give it a try as Dark Souls draws heavily upon Berserk’s themes and aesthetics. I enjoyed it well enough despite its age and slow pace and was left craving more after its abrupt, cliffhanger ending. When I have the money I intend to start on the manga which seems no small commitment. All this said though, I had no big connection to the series so why am I so looking forward to this game in-particular?
The Warriors games were always some of my favourites as a child because they were simple and fun. I started on Dynasty Warriors 4 and have played around ten in total. They were games that I could relax to and play along side my younger sister without having to worry about difficulty or suitability. But I haven’t played any for a while now as the formula had simply grown stale to me. The changes game to game were not enough and the rehashing of the same tired stories took away from my engagement.
From the early glimpses that we have seen so far, Berserk looks to offer a fresh take on the genre. Berserk is a mature property. There is no side stepping this. It is filled with gore and has dark themes of murder, betrayal and even rape. This in itself is so far removed from most Musou games that rely on KO counters rather than kills and has no blood when characters are hit. The idea of a mature Warriors game is in itself a very appealing thought. Hacking down thousands of men should be gritty. And judging by the NSFW nature of the teaser and the amount of blood that we see in the trailer it certainly looks like they are staying true to the source material.
What we also see from the trailer, (besides pretty terrible writing) is some VERY nice visuals. The graphical quality is far beyond anything that I have seen from Musou games in the past. They fit with Berserk’s aesthetics and look suitable smooth and ‘next gen’. Everything manages to look shiny and grim at the same time and the models are spot on. Granted, what we have seen is limited and pre-release but I can’t see things getting to drastic a change.
Something else that we can see even from these early screenshots is a combination of human and demon enemies. Considering that demons are scarce until the Anime’s final episode, it is safe to assume that the game will take place during the Golden Age arc and beyond. This allows people like me who have not had the chance to read the manga to finally find out what happens next and also allows a far greater roster of characters for the player to chose between.
So all in all the game is looking pretty great if you are wanting to play as an OP powerhouse wading through rivers of blood as you hack apart hundreds of enemies with every swing of your unfeasably large sword. We don’t have a Western release date yet but the “Coming Soon” offers hope of sometime in 2017 at the latest. Fingers crossed that it lives up to my expectations.
(All screenshots taken from Duelshockers.)
By Matthew Roys