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> Reviews > Videogame > Berserk
Review written by staff.

Not since the Dreamcast cult hit, Sword of the Berserk: Gutts' Revenge, has Gutts heaved his mighty sword into polygon demons. Now years later, Sammy Studios has brought him back, at least for import gamers. Any fan of the manga, which Berserk is based on, would expect massive amounts of blood and violence. This game definitely delivers plenty of that. However, there's not much else to this action adventure import.

As the main character, Gutts, your arm has been bitten off by a demon servant to a higher being that was once your ally. The Band of the Hawks, the mercenary army that you are a part of, have nearly all been massacred in the same attack. If this wasn't bad enough, your love interest has been raped by your ally-turned demon lord and has developed some serious mental issues. This would be enough to make an ordinary man cower in fear for the rest of his life, but Gutts is a man of superhuman strength, durability, and pure rage. His goal is simple: take revenge on the demon lords, including your old comrade.

As Gutts you wield a massive broadsword that can tear demons to pieces in a single slash. You can block (you'll use this sparingly), do a regular attack and perform a strong, but slow attack. There is also a dashing maneuver which can get you out of a tight spot or be utilized in conjunction with an attack. Gutts also has a mechanized arm which has been turned into a weapon capable of firing arrows as well as other projectiles. In addition, you can summon a fairy sidekick, Puck, to restore some of your life and give you a boost. There are also reversals, counters, and other gameplay elements as well that give the game a much deeper fighting system than its previous incarnation.

Even with this arsenal of tools, it's not necessary to use anything other than your regular attack through most of the game. You will basically be running through each chapter, killing respawning villains, going through the many cut scenes in the game, and finally facing off with a boss at the end of every chapter. Berserk is your average hack and slash game with its manga storyline its only unique feature. The storyline looks to be excellent, although unless you have read the manga or are fluent in Japanese, you will have no clue what is going on through most of the cut scenes.

For every demon you kill, Gutts will gain experience points that can be used to upgrade your character. This feature is nice but nothing new to the action adventure genre thanks to Devil May Cry and many other similar titles. There is also a World of the Berserk feature that unlocks information about the manga as you play through the game. Again, unless you can read Japanese, it's not really going to be a factor.

If games were made great by just graphics, Berserk would be among them. The cut scenes are well done, and during the gameplay the graphics continue to look crisp and clean. When you slice a demon apart, the body parts will proportionately fly off. When you look this good swinging your sword around, you can't help but feel like you are a complete badass. You can't manually change the camera angle, but since it rarely feels awkward, there really is no reason to have such a feature. There's no targeting either, but when you can just swing your sword around you, almost anything that was in that vicinity will be cut to pieces.

If you are a fan of games that are all about beating enemy after enemy, or a hardcore Berserk manga reader, this game may be right up your alley. However, Berserk will not offer up anything more than this. For those of you who are looking for a game with depth, Berserk is not worth the money to import.

-- Anjana Paul

The One Minute Review
The last time a Berserk game was released was back in the days of the Dreamcast. Now however, fans of the popular manga, which has also been made into an anime, can rejoice. Sammy Studios and Yukes (the developer behind the original DC title) have created a new action adventure game starring the main character, Gutts. Berserk is currently available as an import title and there are no plans yet to bring it over to the States. Like all other imports, those of us who can't speak or read Japanese will have trouble figuring out what is going on, but other qualities could have made up for this barrier. Berserk is a solid action adventure title, but offers little else to import gamers.


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