Gangs of Sherwood Review – A Massive Waste of Potential

An enjoyable gameplay experience marred by a detached narrative and repetitive missions.

Gangs of Sherwood Review
Overall
3.5
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

Gangs of Sherwood delivers an engaging gameplay experience that’s only held back by its incoherent story and lackluster characters.

Pros

  • Engaging Gameplay
  • Seamless Co-op
  • Great Optimization
  • Beautiful Environments
  • Acceptable Voice Acting

Cons

  • Nonexistent Story
  • Bland characters
  • Repetitive Missions
  • Weird Animations
  • Unchallenging Boss Fights

Step into the legendary world of Robin Hood and go up against the tyrannical forces of the Sheriff of Nottingham. And Sherwood is where you begin your journey throughout this fictional rendition of England to steal from the rich and give to the poor, solo or with your own gang.

Key Takeaways
  • Developer: Appeal Studios
  • Publisher: Nacon
  • Release Date: November 27, 2023
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5
  • Game Length: 8 Hours
  • Time Played: 8 Hours
Editors Note: Our team had a fair bit of fun playing the game together, but as a single-player experience it was severely lacking.

But how does the game hold up? Does it deliver an experience that can leave a player satisfied, and did the developers deliver on what they promised? Tag along as we dissect the offerings of this world in our Gangs of Sherwood Review.

Story And Setting

Story. (Credits: eXputer)
Story. (Credits: eXputer)

Gangs of Sherwood takes inspiration from the story of Robin Hood, a character that should be familiar to a lot of you already. Much of the tale’s plot however has been altered by the creative liberties Appeal Studios has taken to deliver a version of Robin that’s never been seen before.

Unfortunately, this seems to have had a rather adverse effect on its narrative.

Much of the tale’s plot however has been altered by the creative liberties Appeal Studios has taken to deliver a version of Robin that’s never been seen before

Its opening cutscene and mission effectively bait the player, building up a narrative compelling enough to make them stick around but ultimately failing to do so. I remember the split-second where feelings of extreme repulsion and disappointment took over me as the lackluster writing and delivery reared its head.

It became clear to me early on that the story was going to be the greatest detractor in Gangs of Sherwood. Games involving a barebones plot aren’t new but what matters is coherency and being consistent. The absence of those elements made it one of the worst narratives I have had the displeasure of experiencing.

A Mechanical Ram that's not as imposing as it looks. (Captured By: eXputer)
A Mechanical Ram. (Captured By eXputer)

I won’t be going into any spoilers here, but that’s mainly because there isn’t anything that can be spoiled.

You won’t play Gangs of Sherwood for the story, but it doesn’t hurt to have a coherent script, especially when it feels so detached from everything else. The existence of underdeveloped characters doesn’t do the game any favors either.

Gangs of Sherwood isn’t a story-focused, narrative-heavy title. It’s primarily a co-op, action game. Nevertheless, knowing the potential held by the lore of Robin Hood and the kind of games it can produce, I was fairly disappointed by the lack of a quality story.

Gameplay

Gameplay. (Image Credits: eXputer)
Gameplay. (Image Captured By eXputer)

My disappointment at the abysmal narrative of Gangs of Sherwood is juxtaposed by the astronomical degree of thrill and excitement I felt because of its gameplay. Granted it’s not the best action combat that the genre has to offer but it is far from shallow.

Before I get into the good of it, it’s best to state the only prominent negative—the combat starts slow. Aside from that, there’s nothing on offer in the gameplay that isn’t engaging, thrilling, and most importantly fun.

My disappointment at the abysmal narrative of Gangs of Sherwood is juxtaposed by the astronomical degree of thrill and excitement I felt because of its gameplay.

The core gameplay loop involves engaging with mobs of enemies as you progress through each section of a level. Gangs of Sherwood uses a linear, mission-based design which, while fitting its nature, becomes a double-edged sword.

With that said, you can choose between four characters: Robin of Locksley, Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, and Little John. Each option features its unique combat style and I fell in love with Robin in particular. While each character is easy to pick up, his speed, athletic maneuvers, and sense of power immediately drew me in.

His initial skillset felt a bit restricted, but after unlocking the aero-grappling move in addition to a few combos and the finishers, Gangs of Sherwood immediately became a game I just couldn’t stop playing.

The gameplay evolves as you progress further in Gangs of Sherwood. (Credits: eXputer)
Gameplay Evolves As You Progress. (Image By eXputer)

My only real issue with the gameplay is that I wish it had some good bosses that truly tested the player. Everything feels too easy to kill even on the hardest difficulty.

Factors contributing to this include the lack of multiple phases in boss encounters and the Rebel Instinct. That system somehow manages to turn you into an overpowered killing machine in an environment where enemies are already easy to dispatch.

Combat moves and artifact variety, outfit customization, and the amount of ability upgrades are all respectable. And while not on the level of some contemporary action games, Gangs of Sherwood delivers a fantastic experience that’s further enhanced when you team up with friends, adding a great degree of replayability.

Visuals And Performance

Visuals. (Captured By: eXputer)
Visuals. (Image Captured By eXputer)

I just can’t stress enough the importance of a game being functional at launch, without game-breaking bugs and annoying stutters that tarnish the core experience.

Nowadays, I keep my fingers crossed whenever a new title comes out and I have to play it because of the “release now, fix later” mentality. And to my surprise, Gangs of Sherwood is fairly free of such hindrances. 

While the Settings menu is rather lacking in options compared to what most modern games offer, there are enough selections available to play around with. The inclusion of DLSS further boosts frame rates and it’s always a welcome addition in games.

Furthermore, the online experience was relatively lag-free during the several hours I invested in it, and random internet shenanigans didn’t pose much of an issue.

From the burning cityscape of Locksley to the lush forests of Sherwood, each area appears to have received a great amount of care.

I tested the game on an RTX 3050 with everything cranked to high and DLSS set to Quality at 1080p and it resulted in zero issues or FPS drops. If you have a mid-range PC, tweaking the settings a little can easily give you a stable frame rate without sacrificing the visuals. Speaking of which, let’s talk about that now.

From the burning cityscape of Locksley to the lush forests of Sherwood, each area appears to have received a great amount of care. It may not be at the level of other games out there but it’s not a requirement, especially at the expense of gameplay. 

The pleasing aesthetic of these environments is contrasted by the lack of polish in character models. (Credits: eXputer)
Great Environments. (Image Credits: eXputer)

In contrast, the character models lack the fidelity and finesse you find in the environments. Combined with weird and janky facial animations, it takes you out of the immersion for a few seconds before the gameplay pulls you back in.

It’s something you just can’t miss as NPCs will be delivering a line yet their lips won’t move. That’s something I just can’t overlook under any circumstance, especially in this day and age. Until you come to terms with it, you’ll have to deal with tons of immersion breaks.

Character models lack the fidelity and finesse you find in the environments.

That said, the voiceovers are of an acceptable standard though it does leave a bit to be desired when it comes to conveying emotions. Unlike the quality found in the English VA of certain games, Gangs of Sherwood delivers a relatively compelling VA performance.

But when you look at the bigger picture, however, it falls short of meeting the mark.

Verdict

Verdict. (Image By: eXputer)
Verdict. (Captured By eXputer)

Gangs of Sherwood delivers an engaging co-op gameplay experience that’s held back by its incoherent story, lackluster characters, and repetitive missions. If you’re willing to ignore those elements and keep your expectations tempered, you’re in for a great time be it a solo adventure or with friends.

This has been our Gangs of Sherwood review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles. 

This is box title
Get This Game
You should get this game for its fun gameplay that’s easy to pick up but takes a while to master. Another reason is if you’re into co-op and party-based games.
Dont Get This Game
If you prefer quality stories and narratives and are not interested in co-op, repetitive missions, and action titles, you should not play this game.
Do I Need To Get This Game
Gangs of Sherwood is for players who enjoy action gameplay, beat ’em ups, and online co-op. If that’s you, then consider picking this up as well.
Alternative Games
  • Hood: Outlaws & Legends
  • Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
  • Warhammer: Vermintide 2
  • Mordheim: City of the Damned
  • Remnant II
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Saad is a News writer at eXputer. With vast journalistic experience working for a multitude of websites, Saad currently reports to eXputer with the latest news and dishes out his opinions on a frequent basis. He's currently studying Game and Interactive Media design, which has further increased his knowledge about the ins and outs of the industry. Experience: 1+ Year || Covers News Stories on eXputer

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