Gangs of Sherwood Review

Oo-de-lally action with a nostalgic feel.
Gangs of Sherwood review header

Gangs of Sherwood is a game that must have been made 20 years ago, but then somehow got released in 2023 using some kind of magic that transformed it with current graphical technology. It’s important to note that I mean this as a compliment, not a derision of the game. It just has me feeling nostalgic for the Xbox 360 era of co-op games when I had a wealth of friends who also had too much spare time to play with.

Taking control of Robin Hood, Maid Marion, Little John, or Friar Tuck, you have to pummel your way through countless enemies in each level to collect gold, find little bits of loot, and save civilians from the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. This is a reimagining of the popular folklore and mythical tales, where steampunk tech is all the rage and you’ll be fighting against enemies wielding energy shields.

You’ll also be fighting with your own advanced tech though. Mr Hood himself can create hovering arrows as he performs melee combos before loosing them at a single target with a charged shot. Maid Marion has an awesome dagger that has control over magnetism and can make blades hover around her enemies before making them all close in on the target in an instant. Friar Tuck has one of the largest maces you’ll see in gaming and can deal huge amounts of damage with it, while Little John is a steampunk pugilist with a mechanical arm and the ability to charge up attacks to unleash fiery strikes.

Gangs of Sherwood Robin Hood

Leaning on a Devil May Cry-style rating system, combat is nice and fluid, though does feel very same-y to begin with. The good news is that you unlock new techniques and mods to your abilities pretty quickly, so you can switch things up fast, and you can always just change your hero between missions if you fancy a change of pace. Each character also has special areas they can get to – the skinnier characters squeeze through tight passages, while the beefier pair get to smash things – so playing through missions with different characters often presents different looting opportunities and co-op possibilities.

It’s really all just an excuse to play through the missions more than once with either different team setups, or on a different difficulty, and it works well for that. Missions take around 20 minutes to get through, and that part of the gameplay loop feels very similar to something like Vermintide, where you’re meant to go back to old missions to just enjoy the feeling of the combat, rather than purely to advance the story.

Gangs of Sherwood Little John and Maid Marion

The story is enjoyable enough. I can’t say it’s world-changing, but it’s fun, and fairly tongue-in-cheek throughout, despite the fact that you’re basically fighting off a fascist dictatorship. It matches the steampunk flavour of the world well, and it’s fun to see how the Sheriff’s main henchmen have been adapted to suit.

Both the graphics and the sound design are also good, and help you stay in the world as you’re zipping between enemies and dishing out damage. The music is a standout though, which is always good in games where replayability is part of the intent.

Summary
Gangs of Sherwood is exactly what it needs to be: fun for everyone playing it. It's definitely a game you'll want to play with friends for the best possible experience though, so do keep that in mind if you're more of a single player kind of person. I've been having a blast with it though, and if I can convince some friends to join me, I'd imagine I'll be playing it for a fair bit of time to come.
Good
  • Enjoyable frenetic combat
  • Characters feel very varied
  • Unlocks come thick and fast
Bad
  • Story is merely okay
  • Can be repetitive in solo play
7
Written by
Jason can often be found writing guides or reviewing games that are meant to be hard. Other than that he occasionally roams around a gym and also spends a lot of time squidging his daughter's face.