If you’re planning on playing alone, I wouldn’t recommend Gangs of Sherwood. But if you’ve got a group of players to join you? Well… it’s still not perfect, but it’s the best way to experience this enjoyable and stylish multiplayer take on the world of Robin Hood.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Putting its own spin on the legend of Robin Hood, Gangs of Sherwood sees players leading the quartet of Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, and Little John on a journey to bring down the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham. The twist here? The game embraces a steampunk-like approach to go along with its more traditional ye olde British setting, with all sorts of futuristic technology used by the baddies as you look to bring a stop to their evil plans.
It’s an interesting setup that I was quite fond of, though the narrative itself does leave a lot to be desired. I just felt like I was going through the motions, with the cliché plot beats following an obvious path as you lead your way to the final confrontation. It’s not that it’s boring and I was definitely interested in seeing more of the world (especially the Sheriff’s flying castle), but I wouldn’t say I particularly cared about the rebellion itself.
When it comes to the gameplay, Gangs of Sherwood is all about fast-paced action, with players stringing attacks together and utilising each character’s special abilities to dish out some damage to their foes. It’s a bit like Devil May Cry in a way thanks to the way you can juggle enemies in the air with attacks and blast between foes to build up your combos, though it doesn’t flow quite so freely. It still feels good and looks extravagant thanks to the myriad of special effects that burst across the screen with each attack though, whilst the varying skillsets of each character ensure that there’s plenty of variety to be found with their playstyle.
“It does most things competently though, and with the co-op play and combat standing out as a highlight, it’s worth keeping on your radar if you’re a multiplayer fan.”
Fancy playing at range and using your trusty bow to blast out magic arrows? Robin Hood is your man. Or do you prefer to use quick-paced attacks with a bit of stealth? Maid Marian’s assassin-styled combat will be for you (plus, she has a retractable chain-sword, which is super cool). Want to support your troupe? Friar Tuck can heal and boost your team’s abilities with some buffs, but he also has a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to dishing out some charged attacks. Or do you just want to be a powerhouse? There’s no one better than Little John with his brute strength and destructive attacks which build up heat and make him even more powerful. Each character brings something different to the fray, and whilst I personally liked using Robin Hood and Maid Marian the most, there’s something here for everyone.
I really liked the combat of the game, and whilst it doesn’t feel quite as slick as the likes of the aforementioned Devil May Cry, it offered more than enough to keep me entertained when playing. You’re also able to unlock new skills as you progress, whilst equipping the special artefacts you find help apply special buffs to your character. It’s especially fun when playing with others – I played with a full four-man party, and it was great to be able to use our character’s strengths to our advantage to dominate foes. Admittedly, it would have been nice if there was more strategy involved in how you play co-operatively (it’s rare that you ever feel like you link up your skills naturally), but simply running rampant together was wildly satisfying.
Playing alone, though? You’ll start to see a lot of the game’s rougher edges. Whilst the enemy AI isn’t the smartest, it’s easy for them to overwhelm you when playing alone. Enemies can do a LOT of damage quite quickly whilst taking a lot of hits themselves, whilst having to pay out gold to recover when downed can be very punishing. It makes the game exponentially tougher, but not in a satisfying way… instead, it just makes it feel like a chore to play. The action feels less exciting when playing solo too, with less of a reliance on syncing with your allies to use your strengths to your advantage and more of a focus placed on spamming the same attacks over and over to simply survive. It feels like a completely different experience, and if I was forced to play solo, I don’t think I would have made it through to the end.
Check out some screenshots down below:
There are some other flaws players might pick up on when playing too, such as some combat scenarios getting a little repetitive, the camera not fully tracking the action or your target, the disparity in the combat effectiveness between characters, or the shoddy interactions with NPCs. They’re not game-breaking issues by any means, but they are the difference between Gangs of Sherwood being an enjoyable experience and it being an unmissable one. It does most things competently though, and with the co-op play and combat standing out as a highlight, it’s worth keeping on your radar if you’re a multiplayer fan.
Gangs of Sherwood Review
Gangs of Sherwood is a pleasant surprise, with the stylish combat and rewarding co-op play ensuring it stands out as a multiplayer treat. Don’t get me wrong, it’s rough around the edges and is a chore to play solo, but if you get a few friends together to join you, it can be a really fun experience.
There are certainly better third-person action games out there, but if you’re looking for something fresh to scratch that multiplayer itch, Gangs of Sherwood is worth checking out.
Developer: Appeal Studios
Platform(s): Xbox Series X|S (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PC