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Gangs of Sherwood Review

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There haven’t been very many great Robin Hood games in the past. 

Granted, a few have released, but nothing has managed to grab the essence of this amazing myth (based maybe on some fact). The story of how Robin of Locksley came back from the Crusades wars to become the outlaw Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest is a fascinating one. Here, his band of merry men including Little John, Friar Tuck, and Will Scarlet went around robbing the rich and giving to the poor. It’s a tale that we are all aware of but in Gangs of Sherwood we play as these characters but in a different universe – one of magic, steampunk, and multiplayer mayhem. So don your tights and let’s see what it’s all about. 

gangs of sherwood review 2
Robin Hood, but different

In Gangs of Sherwood the main fun is found as you play with some friends for a knockabout. On your own it is playable, but it gets quite boring and very repetitive quite quickly. With a team, there’s a competition to be had, along with laughter and tactics to be found. But let’s start from the beginning with the main setup. 

So the story puts the Robin Hood mythos into a sci-fi setting and an intriguing premise. King Richard discovered some magical gem that has brought forward the Industrial Revolution to these times. From there Gangs of Sherwood mixes – quite nicely at times – industrial engines and machines with a mediaeval aesthetic. At times the game reminds of the original Fable games, especially when you consider the tone and colour palette. 

But of course, this is all about the characters and it’s here where the evil Sheriff of Nottingham is making a nuisance of himself. It’s up to you as Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Friar Tuck and Little John to topple him and bring back peace – etc, etc, etc. The world concept is a strong one but some of the writing does get a bit cheesy. It is also full of quips that don’t quite land. But Gangs of Sherwood has a nice energy to it, occasionally fun and that should be applauded. 

The gameplay basically puts you into a hub world at the start of each mission. Think of the outpost city in Destiny and you are getting close. Here, you can do some training, buy some special abilities and generally have a wander around. You then choose a mission from the different acts, decide if you want to play offline, online, or with your friends and then wait until everyone is ready to go. 

gangs of sherwood review 1
Get your fight on with the Gangs of Sherwood

Playing through the third person, the characters go out into the world and follow objectives. Each character plays differently and has special abilities too. Robin uses arrows from afar, Marian is a more quick DPS character, and the other two are more tanky in their attacks. Whoever though, combat consists of having a light attack and a heavy attack which then unlocks some special abilities. You move through each world fighting soldiers galore, meeting up with mini bosses before taking on a big boss at the end of the act. In single-player, this gets a bit dull quite quickly and, frankly, is quite tricky as you go taking on a boss on your own. In multiplayer it’s much more fun. 

Travelling around the world is strange, as you grapple with a hook thing, smash through areas or vault over barriers. But there are parts of each world which are limited to only certain characters, locked to others. Loot is to be gained and there are chests to collect with different abilities and buffs to be gained for combat. As you progress there are checkpoints which deliver back health, hitting you with a gang upgrade that gives you an extra boost. 

Visually, Gangs of Sherwood looks quite old school at times and the colours don’t feel as vivid as other games on this generation of consoles. The characters all look good though and some of the forest stuff looks fine. Just don’t expect Gangs of Sherwood to wow the eyes. And don’t expect it to be utterly smooth either – the game stutters a bit with its frame rate, something which is much more noticeable when playing cooperatively. 

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Gangs of Sherwood works best in cooperative play

Sound-wise and it’s fair to say that the score and effects all seem fine and work well with the gameplay. However it’s probably best that we steer away from talking too much about the voice performances – it feels like they come from an era of gaming that was left alone a long time ago.  

A game that works okay, is good fun with a group of friends and capable of providing an interesting take on the Robin Hood myth, Gangs of Sherwood fills a gap. But I think the tone feels misguided and at times it all seems like it has been ripped from a previous generation of consoles. It also gets very repetitive and that means you’ll probably grow a bit tired of it, fairly quickly; especially when playing alone.

Perhaps if it came to market with a lower price tag, we could be a bit more forgiving, but for now, we’re still left wanting for the Robin Hood game the lore deserves.  

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • A different take on the story
  • Multiplayer can be fun
  • Buffs
Cons:
  • Combat gets tiresome
  • Visuals feel very last gen
  • Some strange voice work
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Nacon
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, PC
  • Release date and price - 30 November 2023 | £44.99
Gareth Brierley
Gareth Brierleyhttp://www.garethbrierley.co.uk
I am an actor and a writer. I act quite a bit on stage, a little bit on tv and never on tuesdays. I have had some of my writing published and have written for TV and stage. I have been playing games since they begun and don't seem to be getting any better.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>A different take on the story</li> <li>Multiplayer can be fun</li> <li>Buffs</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Combat gets tiresome</li> <li>Visuals feel very last gen</li> <li>Some strange voice work</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Nacon</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, PC <li>Release date and price - 30 November 2023 | £44.99</li> </ul>Gangs of Sherwood Review
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