Berserk and the Band of the Hawk
is the story of Guts and his companions. Guts is your main character and he carries a huge sword. At the beginning of the game, he wakes up in a very creepy place essentially made of skulls and patrolled by monsters. This is just a nightmare that will let you get the feel of the game and the hang of some of the controls. After you wake up, you will find out that Guts is a mercenary and has been a mercenary since his birth, trained solely to fight, but now he works for whoever pays. Guts is not a part of the Band of the Hawk at the beginning of the game because you will have to face them in battle first. After that, you will pledge to follow Griffin, leader of the Band of the Hawk. Griffin wants to have his own kingdom, and since Guts is now in his service, he has no choice but to follow him. With Griffin, that attitude never lasts long. He exudes a confidence that makes people like him and want to follow him. You will start unlocking more characters for play, some that can be used in the Story Mode and some (like Nosferatu Zodd) only in Free Play and Endless Eclipse Mode. Even after you unlock more characters, there are certain battles that can only be played as Guts, because thatís what the story dictates. Free Mode and Endless Eclipse Mode are available after you beat the first real battle.
The story is where I feel Berserk and the Band of the Hawk falls flat. I really loved the anime and there are a whole bunch of little things that make it excellent. Unfortunately, all those little details get left out, which leaves you with just the basic story - mercenary band fights everyone. There is more to the story in the game, but itís just missing so much that could have been told.
After you complete battles, you will unlock events. These events could have been a bit longer and gotten you into more of the story, but instead, they are 30 second or so conversations that donít really add anything to the story. This is not to say that the story is bad, but rather that it doesnít even compare or begin to give you the full sense of the show.
Story Mode consists of fighting battles. You can go back and repeat any of the previous battles, if you want. You will probably need to if you want to collect all the Behelit. In the Story Mode, you will be given Missions and completing them will get you Behelits. Collecting these will let you unlock picture panels that you can view. The battles in Story Mode will be over when you complete the final mission. You will fail the battle if you die or if you fail to complete the final mission.
Free Mode has the same battles as Story Mode; you can simply go back and replay them as whoever you like. The scenes that are locked to a certain character in Story Mode are open to all unlocked characters in Free Mode. Endless Eclipse Mode is different. Here your "characters' desires are revealed." You basically fight your way through to descend into deeper and deeper layers and you will earn rewards for getting to specific layers. You will want to play as a variety of characters as the rewards depend upon the characters. The Desires are also different for each character. You can collect Behelits here as well, when you defeat the Stray War Demons and you can only go back to camp after you make it through five layers. If you quit or die before that, you lose everything you have collected. You can choose the desire you are working towards in camp. If you played Warriors Orochi 3, this is similar to the Gauntlet Mode. The one drawback is that you cannot save. Once you enter this mode, you have to play through to the end or you go back to level 1 and you will not have all the levels unlocked at the beginning. You unlock more as you progress in the Story Mode.