TGS 2003Berserk Impressions

Sammy's anime-inspired action game could be one of the bloodiest ever.

We tried a quick demo version of Berserk at Sammy's TGS booth today. The game is based on the anime of the same name and stars Guts, a one-eyed warrior with a sword so massive it would humble Cloud Strife. Though there wasn't a lot to the demo, we got a good feel for the basic action mechanics of the game, which definitely have a unique and satisfying feel.

The short level featured in the Berserk demo was set in a snowy field area surrounded by pine trees. It simply stuck Guts in the middle of a huge pack of ape-like creatures that he had to hack and slice by the dozen. Guts has a fairly standard repertoire of sword moves--you can dash at enemies, you can create a number of combos by hitting different attack buttons, and by pressing triangle you can also swing your sword in a wide circle, hitting enemies all around you (after a brief pause). What sets the fighting in Berserk apart from most games involving sword combat is that Guts' huge sword has a real feeling of weight to it. When you execute a dash or attack combo or the spin move, he'll actually stumble around a bit and try to recover his strength before he can attack again. The fluid way that Guts moves, as though he's fighting to control the balance of his weapon, is uncannily realistic and needs to be seen to be fully appreciated.

One more thing about Berserk bears noting: It's enormously bloody. The one enemy type we saw in the demo could be sliced apart in a lot of different ways, depending on how your sword hit each one. You can decapitate, dismember, or simply cleave in two these enemies, which is in itself pretty satisfying. Also, the ground and Guts himself were covered with blood by the time we'd finished our slaughter. Very cool.

See more of GameSpot's coverage of the 2003 Tokyo Game Show.

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Very cool indeed