Gangs of Sherwood – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Adventure, Hack and slash
Developer: Appeal Studios
Publisher: Nacon
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox Series X/S
Tested on: PC

Gangs of Sherwood – Review

Site Score
4.0
Good: Theme, Concept
Bad: Extremely bland and unbalanced gameplay, No goal, Feels like an alpha at best
User Score
1.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 1.0/10 (1 vote cast)

With many different versions of the Robin Hood story out there, it’s not surprising that games are also trying their hand at creating an original version of the well-known tale. The story of Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men is ideal for a cooperative multiplayer experience, and developer Appeal Studios clearly had quite a few good ideas to modernize the Robin Hood mythos. Early footage showed us an action-packed adventure title with a lot of steampunk-esque influences. While we were initially quite hyped for this title, we ended up extremely disappointed by the mess that is Gangs of Sherwood.

Story

Even though this story that revolves around Robin Hood diverges from the original tale, the essence remains somewhat the same. King Richard blessed the realm with the Lionheart stone he obtained during his crusade, and with it, he advanced the current technology so much that it brought wealth and prosperity to those already in power. Even so, it seemed like things were good enough for most people until the evil sheriff of Nottingham stole the Lionheart gem for his evil plans. Now, the general populace lives in fear under the iron fist of the evil sheriff. Nonetheless, there’s a new gang in town that fights back to fight back Nottingham’s forces, as well as steal from the rich to give to the poor.

All in all, the story isn’t too bad, but there is hardly any real depth to it either. You get a small snippet of story content before each mission, and this is often just a small blurb of what the mission is going to be about. There are a few dialogues during the actual gameplay, but these are once again very superficial. We did like the overall theme of the game and how it was presented, but it simply didn’t have any substance to it.

Graphics

Graphically, Gangs of Sherwood isn’t a bad-looking game. Sure, the game’s somewhat cartoonish outlines and character proportions allow it to get away with more rough edges, but all in all, the stages look alright, and the attack animations aren’t too shabby either. Sadly, the levels do feel a bit empty and a lot of assets are recycled throughout the game. On top of that, the game suffers from a ridiculous amount of invisible walls and clipping. What initially looked like a fairly appealing game quickly showed its many cracks.

Sound

The sound design is mediocre at best. The soundtrack is okayish, and the voice acting is also decent enough for the few dialogues in the game. Sadly, even the sound department suffers from heavy bugs where the music just randomly stops, for you to suffer through the gameplay portion in silence, or at other times, the sound effects just stop completely. It feels as if this game was slapped together at the last minute, without actually testing if it worked. The latter also translates to the gameplay portion of this title.

Gameplay

Gangs of Sherwood is an action-adventure title with hack-and-slash combat mechanics and even a few roguelite mechanics thrown in the mix. The game puts a heavy focus on a cooperative multiplayer experience, making the game more enjoyable. Sadly, while Gangs of Sherwood seems like a fun game on paper, the execution is ridiculously bad. The game lacks any focus, goals, or balance for that matter. The latter is made painstakingly obvious by the clear difference in balance between the different characters and how they perform in combat.

In Gangs of Sherwood, you’ll be able to choose out of four characters, and if you want, you can swap characters every single mission. You’ll have the ranged skills of Robin Hood, the nimble lady Marian, the supposed healer Friar Tuck, and last but not least, Little John the brawler. While there are distinct differences between these characters, with Robin and Marian being ranged options and Friar Tuck and Little John being more melee-focused, there is no balance. At the end of each battle, you’ll get a grade awarded to you, which will give you a better performance score at the end of a mission. With Robin, it’s extremely easy to get an A or even S rank for nearly all battles, while characters like Friar Tuck struggle to get higher grades. For example, when getting hit, your score plummets, and thus you are often being punished for being a bulkier melee character as the ranged characters can keep their distance more easily. This was already a clear disadvantage for those in the party playing the melee characters.

Combat in general feels very stiff and unsatisfying. The game doesn’t have any simple skills you can cast, and most skills involve charging your light or heavy attacks, to then perform an attack with additional effects. In the case of Friar Tuck, everything works with his charged attacks, and it completely removes the flow from combat. The camera also doesn’t help with the overall smoothness of the battles. You can lock onto a target, but you still won’t perform your attacks in the general direction of said target, and even then the camera doesn’t properly fixate on the target. As a result, combat becomes a rather frustrating and boring ordeal. On top of that, your attacks often don’t seem to carry any weight, and even Friar Tuck can smash a simple grunt in the face with his massive mace-like weapon without the enemy even moving an inch.

As you progress, you collect a bit more gold, and when you also rank up, you can purchase new attacks for your combos, new shards, or a few new outfits. The latter is only a cosmetic upgrade. The shards are equipable variations for the aforementioned charged attacks. This is almost all unlockable content in the game. To make matters worse, a lot of this content is locked until you practically finish the game.

There are other noticeable differences as well. The Rebel Gauge that fills when battling enemies fills significantly slower for the melee characters, as their attack output is a lot lower. Robin, once again, fills his meter in mere moments thanks to his lightning-fast ranged attacks. This creates an even bigger gap between the characters. The map designs, even though it’s a game with a multiplayer focus, create an even bigger divide. You’d assume that everyone can help each other, but for some reason, Friar Tuck and Little John often have to take different routes than their more nimble counterparts. There is no reason for this, as it’s often just to get to the entrance of the next battle area.

We mentioned this earlier, but Gangs of Sherwood is a short game. If you manage to play online with a few friends, as the normal matchmaking seems to be busted most of the time, you will probably breeze through the game in four to six hours. While there is some replay value to be found in tackling missions again to simply gather the necessary funds to purchase the skills for your other characters, there is no actual reason to do so. The game doesn’t have any collectible loot that helps you in any way, shape, or form, and even the artifacts you find during missions are extremely underwhelming. Somewhere after the halfway mark of the game, we didn’t even bother exploring the levels to find artifacts.┬áThe artifacts you find during a mission only provide you with a boost during that mission, which is also a shame. This game would have been a lot better with actual skills with cooldowns, a gear system, and just generally something to look forward to.

Conclusion

Gangs of Sherwood is one of those games that sounded like a lot of fun on paper, and even the early footage of the game didn’t look too shabby. Sadly, when we got our hands on it ourselves, we were utterly disappointed. The game offers no depth and suffers from a lack of balance, while also having absolutely no goal to work towards. Things even get worse when you throw a hefty amount of bugs in the mix and a story that is simply forgettable. We’re not sure if a complete overhaul would be able to save this game, but as it currently stands, it’s best if you didn’t liberate your supply of gold coins to buy this dull disaster.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 1.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Gangs of Sherwood - Review, 1.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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