Gangs of Sherwood was provided by Nacon for review. Thank you!
The tale of Robin Hood and his merry men is a tale I grew up with, thanks to Disney and his mission to steal from the rich and give to the poor. Even so, there is something quite intriguing about seeing the classic story I grew up with re-imagined. And with Gangs of Sherwood, I can say that it is an enjoyable experience when playing with friends, but it definitely has some issues that do make it hard to choose this game over similar ones.
The core gameplay will have you choose one of four unique characters, the core Robin Hood team, and go through different stages to play through the story. As you progress, you will fight enemies using two different types of attacks with special abilities, get the money that will level up your team at checkpoints in stages, and explore stages. Each combat scenario has a letter grade that increases, similar to Devil May Cry's combat grading, and you can get more currency the better you do. The money can be used afterward to rank up, which will unlock new abilities and buy new skills and attacks to use in-game.
The core gameplay of Gangs of Sherwood itself is quite enjoyable, and each character is interesting, with different strategies involved in using them. For example, Robin Hood can create floating arrows you can shoot at an enemy all at once, which does massive damage, and Friar Tuck can charge all of his attacks to send projectile waves or shockwaves through the ground with flames erupting. The game itself looks phenomenal, too. The world and visuals are outstanding, and I love the new designs of the protagonists.
Ultimately, the game feels short, with only three acts and three missions in each of them for a total of 9 story missions. It can also feel very repetitive due to the enemies being re-used and the missions all having a similar structure. It is also quite boring to play alone, but I did enjoy playing alone when I did. And then we have a performance on the Steam Deck, which isn't the best.
Unfortunately, while Gangs of Sherwood can be fun, it won't be as enjoyable on the Steam Deck. It is a very heavy game to run, and it shows. On the lowest possible settings, the game runs between 26 - 30 FPS without any TDP limit. I did try setting a limit to see if maybe the game just drained more than it should, but unfortunately, any limit saw some decrease in performance.
I also noticed that some videos that show how certain skills are used don't play with the stable Proton version from Valve. Oddly enough, both Proton Experimental and Proton GE do fix the videos, but TDP caps at around 14W, not allowing the game to utilize the power it needs. And since the game needs as much power as it can get, we will need to stick with the stable proton branch.
There's also a lack of accessibility features in Gangs of Sherwood. You can change language and audio settings, but that's about it. I would have loved to see UI scaling or text/subtitle enlargement, but it is still readable.
The game does support 16:10 resolutions when in-game, so there aren't any black bars, and it does have full controller support and cloud saves.
Gangs of Sherwood is a decent co-op action game that features some enjoyable combat and gorgeous visuals. Playing alone is possible and can be enjoyable, but it does have some issues with repetitive enemies and a short campaign, making me wish there was a bit more to enjoy. It is playable on the Steam Deck, but it will need the lowest settings and no TDP limit. It does dip to 26-28 FPS here and there, but I didn't notice the drops as much in the heat of the moment and still found myself enjoying the adventure.
Our review is based on the PC version of this game.
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Gangs of Sherwood is an interesting game with great visuals, but feels a bit too repetitive and hard to play on Steam Deck.