Gangs of Sherwood

Gangs of Sherwood

It Locksley-ke there's some fun to be had.

Gangs of Sherwood

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Riding through the glen, Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Destroying airships and Steampunks with his band of men… it’s maybe not how your remember the tales of the legendary outlaw of Sherwood Forest, but it’s a fun new spin that Belgian developers Appeal Studios have put on this myth of yore.  Their new title Gangs of Sherwood – a solo or co-op adventure – where you and three mates play as one of the Merry Men, fighting the armies of the Sheriff of Nottingham and lead the rebellion, all the time combining your attacks and freeing the people in this futuristic dystopian spin on the legend of Robin Hood.  Here you fill the boots of Robin along with Little John, Friar Tuck and Maid Marian – each with their own powers and skills to help you level the playing field, as well as hunt out a few bits of treasure along the way.

The tale in Gangs of Sherwood is a bit by the numbers and you’re out to stop the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, who is forever doing more dastardly things to the locals.  Although it’s the Steampunk element that adds a bit of life to things, as it casts a new lens to see this legend through, as you battle armoured foes; complete with shock sticks and even mini-guns.  It’s an interesting idea on paper, but in reality very jarring in ways as one second you are faced with a group of locals that have just been hung and this sets a grim, dark and oppressed world; and the next Robin and co. are shouting cheesy one liners in the middle of a neon-soaked battle, right in front of poor hanging Jim and Bob.  This is also more head scratching when it hits you that 98% of the bosses you’ll fight are Maid Marian’s extended family, who she is more than happy to slay with her magic glowing neon blades.

Combat is fast and fluid with a very arcade feel to it and with a vibe of the likes of Devil May Cry, as you aim to pull off an ever-growing combo, all while bagging as much gold you can to be able to upgrade your character, to make them ever stronger and lethal.  Across Gangs of Sherwood’s 3 main act campaign it takes 10-to-11-hours, with replayability coming from the level up system, though it does take a bit of time to really get going, so expect to replay more than a few levels till you get to the more fun and powerful upgrades.  But beware… you’ll get to a bit where you’ll be truly OP and one-tap most enemies other than the bosses, which takes the feeling of challenge totally out of the game.  Though to get the most from the game you really want to run it as a team, as there are areas only certain characters can get into: like Robin and Marian can squeeze through tight spaces and jump over obstacles blocking the path, whereas Little John and Friar Tuck can smash things out of the way.

Visually the game looks great with its mashing of ye olde world and steel, creating some really striking designs… a golden lion headed mech for example.  Characters also move well given the fluid nature of combat and enemies all strike a formidable look.  Music and sound on the other hand is a mix bag, as it’s as tone deaf as the tale in ways – from the upbeat tunes that play as you walk through a burnt-out villages, to the aforementioned cheesy one-liners, which are well… voiced well, but also badly times and written dare I say.  Gangs of Sherwood is an odd title.  If you are looking for a gripping adventure that puts a new spin on a classic fable then you are going to be disappointed.  However, if you and your mates just want to dick about in a fun world with lots of combos, bad guys and cool effects on a Saturday night it ticks all those boxes and then some.  Big dumb fun is how I would be summing up this one, as it’s very much less of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and very much more of a Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

An Xbox review copy of Gangs of Sherwood was provided by Appeal Studios’ PR team, and the game is available now on PC, PlayStation and Xbox for around £40.

The Verdict


The Good: Enjoyable combat | Great fun with mates | Visually interesting

The Bad: Story is tone deaf | Gets repetitive quickly | Cheesy one-liners

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Stuart Cullen

Scotland’s very own thorn in the side of the London gaming scene bringing all the hottest action straight from The Sun… well… The Scottish Sun at least, every week!

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