Gangs of Sherwood will be releasing on November 30th for Steam and costs £34.99. The team behind this is Appeal Studios, with Nacon publishing the game. A demo is also out now for anyone who’s interested in trying this new four-player co-op action version of Robin Hood.
There are only two things certain… Rebellion and Taxes
Play as Robin of Locksley or one of his merry men. as they head to bring down the Sheriff. Who has found a magical stone called The Lion Heart and plans to bring Nottingham to its knees. You will fight the Sheriff’s armies and defend the innocent, all while Alan-a-Dale spins his tale of your adventures in Gangs of Sherwood.
There are four playable characters in Gangs of Sherwood: Friar Tuck, Little John, Maid Marian and the one and only Robin of Locksley. Each character plays very differently from the others, while Robin himself uses his bow, which summons magical arrows. Maid Marian uses a set of magnetic daggers that she can use to deal massive amounts of damage to foes.
Little John serves as the brawler of the group. When John punches, he will charge a heat attack that builds up overcharge, which can let out a large explosion. Lastly, and the one I used the most during my time with Gangs of Sherwood, is Friar Tuck. Most of Tuck’s moves come from buffs he gains from charging up his attacks. For example, He can let out waves of light while charging up a light attack or a pillar of fire during a heavy.
Levels & Combat
There are three acts in Gang of Sherwood. Each act consists of three missions. The player can adjust the difficulty from easy to heroic. When playing on heroic compared to normal difficulty, it didn’t make missions more challenging. During the missions, you can find several collectables, such as hats, dolls, wanted posters and prisoners. The combat gives you a rank during each encounter. At the end of the mission, a score screen will display various stats based on how well you did throughout the entire level.
Apart from the main story, there are three additional modes the player will unlock. The first is called Assault on The Ram, which has you go up against a boss previously mentioned during the game. The other two are survival modes, where you’ll face off against waves of enemies to see how long you last.
Obstacles & objectives
Missions will have the player going from fight to fight with the occasional objective sprinkled in for good measure. Some of these objectives will have you pushing a payload while fighting off waves of enemies or just plain out surviving for a set amount of time. Along the way, you will face off against the Sheriff’s men who act as mini-bosses and how the game introduces new enemy types.
The enemy variety in Gangs of Sherwood isn’t the best and doesn’t do much to change up how you play. The most notorious enemy type is the butcher-like troop, which dual-wields two large blades and does nothing but wide-swinging attacks. Banner Bearers who will either buff enemy attacks or heal them, but these can easily be taken care of.
Improving heroes at Major Oak
After each mission, you will return to Major Oak, which serves as the home base for your gang. Here, the player can purchase new techniques to help perform more combos. There aren’t really levels in Gangs of Sherwood; instead, players can buy different shards that will change how their characters fight. Friar Tuck can switch out his waves of light for copper dust that you can detonate with a follow-up heavy attack.
Later in the game, outfits will become available to you. There aren’t many outfits in Gangs of Sherwood, and the best ones are DLC from preordering. You can earn money by repeatedly completing missions.
Rebel moves and tricks
Rebel abilities get given to you as you progress through the Gang of Sherwoods story. These abilities provide small buffs, such as healing and attack buffs, but later can get additional moves. For example, Friar Tuck can taunt foes to attack him while also healing other players. Another move that becomes available later on is called Rebel Takedown. When performed, you can spam the attack button to build up how much coin you will gain. The takedown also shows a fun little cinematic.
To earn the Rebel skills, you attack and defend against enemies. There aren’t many ways to heal in the game, but I found the best way is to destroy the crates and barrels in the environment. They have a chance to drop green orbs and sometimes coins.
Graphics & Audio
While Gangs of Sherwood has good points, it has a few things to improve. The textures are good, and the lighting looks great, alongside superb colouring and shadowing. The hub, Major Oak, I love the look of and feel it’s well designed, and the music feeds into the fantasy vibe with its fluty elements.
However, I feel that the janky animations, poor facial animations and awkward dialogue can distract from the goodness of the game’s visuals and audio. The facial animations look like strange modded animations, which made it hard to take the characters seriously with their weird morphing faces. The dialogue feels a bit forced and cringe at times. I also had a lot of consistent frame drops, which became jarring during the heat of combat.
The main story in Gangs of Sherwood took me just over seven hours with one character. That isn’t to mention an hour spent grinding gold to buy more moves. I would suggest playing with friends; although you can play everything solo with nothing blocking you, I wouldn’t recommend it. The survival mode is way too slow, and in the end, I would just quit.
Gangs of Sherwood is okay, but it lacks any real reason to play after the story. You can play the entire game without buying new moves or changing your abilities. I didn’t need to play another character after for different dialogue since the game has them all speak anyway during cutscenes. The bosses are boring and lack any real challenge, and it was odd for them to give an extra mode dedicated to a single small boss. Right now, Gangs of Sherwood struggles to justify the £34.99 price point with how short and lack of content the game has. The game runs okay but struggles to handle a few enemies fighting all at once, and the final fight really shows this.
If they added more content, a better progression system and cosmetics, I would’ve given it gold. I’m giving Gangs of Sherwood the Thumb Culture Silver Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.