berserk 5.jpg

Berserk is a superb manga series from Japanese artist Kentaro Miura. It's dark fantasy with a capital D, and it's more than deserving of a video game adaptation that does the original work justice. Fortunately, prolific publisher Koei Tecmo is on the case, and it's got Dynasty Warriors developer Omega Force doing the heavy lifting.

Berserk is, at the time of writing, due to launch this year on PlayStation 4 and Vita - but what does the upcoming hack and slasher have to get right in order to satisfy fans of the popular property? Being followers of both the source material and Omega Force's numerous Warriors titles, we've come up with a list of 5 things that the game's going to have to nail if it wants to stay true to Berserk's impressive legacy.

berserk 2.jpg

It's got to have weight

Let's start with the reasonably obvious: Berserk's gameplay needs to have a weighty feel to it. Main character Guts wields a blade that's just about as big as he is, and although he's capable of cleaving through multiple enemies like they're made of cardboard, there's a definite, visible weight to his attacks. In the original work, this weightiness is shown though Gut's movement, which is often based on raw momentum.

Of course, not all of Berserk's characters have swords that seem to stretch into eternity. Confirmed playable characters such as Casca and Griffith are known to wield smaller, more realistic blades, but even these attacks need to feel crunchy and brutal to some degree. If the manga has taught us anything, it's that fights to the death are rarely pretty, and are often ended in bloody fashion by destructive, deliberate blows.

berserk 11.jpg

Demons need to be intimidating

Key to their nightmarish existence, demons usually take on horrifying true forms in Berserk. They range from the truly grotesque to the breathtakingly bestial, and all of them pose a serious threat. When you're not powering your way through human foes in Omega Force's creation, you'll probably be fighting these monsters, and their natural prowess in battle needs to be on show.

We're not asking for Dark Souls-esque difficulty, but we'll be disappointed if we're able to just slash our way through someone or something like Nosferatu Zodd as if he's nothing more than a standard enemy with a bigger health bar. Even Guts - a hugely experienced fighter who's just about seen it all - knows full well that demons shouldn't be taken lightly, and that same intimidating presence needs to play a part in the game's hopefully tense boss fights.

berserk 8.jpg

The story has to take it slow

We already know that Berserk's story mode will cover both the Golden Age arc and the Falcon of the Millennium Empire arc - and although that's a lot of plot to get through, we're hoping that the game doesn't rush things from a narrative perspective. Obviously, it's not really feasible for the release to go over every single detail from the original manga, but it'll be a shame if many of the more subtle plot points are glossed over.

When looking at other Omega Force adaptations, Arslan: The Warriors of Legend immediately springs to mind as a fine example of taking a rather lengthy story and cramming it into one mode of play. While Arslan's story mode did come to a somewhat abrupt end, it was well paced, and the narrative exposition was thoughtful enough that even those unfamiliar with the source material could understand what was going on. If the developer can do something similar with Berserk, then we'll be on the right track.

berserk 9.jpg

Make every playable character worth our time

If there's one near constant complaint that we have about Warriors titles, it's that there's always a handful of playable characters that make everyone else obsolete. With Berserk, we can expect some diverse fighting styles, but we don't want specific characters to simply outclass others.

Sure, some members of the cast are supposed to be on a whole different level when it comes to strength, but we'd like to see things kept relatively balanced for the sake of better gameplay.

berserk 1.jpg

Keep combat straight to the point

When you stop and think about it, there isn't much pause for thought in Berserk. Fights tend to be brutal and to the point, and we'd like to see this hectic pace reflected in the game. Going by what we've seen so far, Berserk's going to follow the typical Warriors formula of pitting you against dozens of opponents at once, and we've got no issue with that as long as generic enemies can be taken out with just a couple of blows - but if we're forced to juggle generic trolls just to score a few kills, then Guts' sword may end up seeming more like the Dragontickler than the Dragonslayer.

At the end of the day, we just want combat to be fast and deadly - much like it is in the original work. As Guts himself once said, there's no room for pleasantries on the battlefield.

Are you looking forward to Berserk? Do you think that the game will do the source material justice? Experience the thrill of battle in the comments section below.