TOKYO--Around this time last year, we got to play a quick and very early demo of Berserk, a new action game from Sammy based on the popular anime of the same name. The action was fast and the blood gratuitous, but there wasn't much more than simple combat included. This year, Berserk is looking much more like a complete game, and we went hands-on to see how it's shaped up over the last 12 months.
In the demo, we saw the series' hero Guts engaged in some sort of argument with a wispy feminine character (of admittedly indeterminate gender) who seemed to be egging the sword-swinging warrior on. Just before the argument came to blows, an ogrelike man named Zodd intervened, and we found ourselves right in the middle of a big boss fight. Guts came carrying his trademark massive sword, but unluckily for us, Zodd had an equally big blade to fight back with. The combat here was similar to what we played last year, but it felt more refined and featured some fighting game-style elements to boot. Several times, Zodd countered our attacks and damaged Guts instead, and we became locked in a sort of grapple a couple of times, requiring us to hit the square button furiously to win.
When we'd finally depleted Zodd's life bar, the fun was only beginning, because the bastard proceeded to turn into a 30-foot-tall hairy creature with unpleasantly large claws. Obviously, the fight seemed a little stacked at this point, and despite invoking a special rage effect that enhanced our combat abilities, we weren't able to win out against Zodd's second form. But we had some fun trying, at least.
Berserk is looking a little more refined than last year, though the demo we played was set in a snowy area very similar to the one we saw the last time we played the game. In any event, it seems like fans of the anime may have something special to look forward to when the game finally ships (and judging by the length of the line to play the game at Sammy's TGS booth, there are a lot of fans). Berserk is slated for an October release, so look for more information on it soon.
For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of the Tokyo Game Show 2004.