Cheap Ass Review – Viking: Battle For Asgard
The world is under threat; the vicious, never-ending battle between the almighty Gods has spread to the mortal realm of Midgard, turning a once peaceful realm into a realm of chaos and anarchy. You take on the role of Skarin, a Viking champion hellbent on revenge after the death of his father. Guided by the mysterious Freya, you must journey the lands of Midgard and clear the world of the evil forces of Goddess Hel.
Viking: Battle For Asgard provides a unique depth to the usually mundane hack and slash genre. Promising players just as much story as there is gore, blood and mindless violence. The game faced an uphill struggle at launch thanks to competition from the likes of Dynasty Warriors but how does this it fair today? Has it stood the test of time or is this a title that should be left to live out its days in Valhalla?
Viking: Battle For Asgard
Cheap Ass Review – Viking: Battle For Asgard
Usually I would avoid a hack and slash game like the plague, I don’t consider it a genre; actually I don’t consider it more than a way of quickly wearing out 3 buttons on your controller. Every game in the ‘genre’ offers a very similar combat system with unnecessarily large quantities of enemies and lackluster character progression. However, following our $10 promise with our Cheap Ass Reviews, I felt compelled to pick this one up and see if it could turn my opinion on hack and slash games.
You begin your journey in Midgard with nothing but your basic attacks to keep you alive. The game introduces you to combat at a steady pace, placing you against an increasing number of enemies while explaining the various combat related actions through on-screen prompts. As you would expect from a hack and slash game, it doesn’t take very long before you consider yourself as a master of the controls. There’s 2 forms of basic attack, heavy and light, a terribly animated jump ability, a dodge and block. When a game boasts large-scale battles and action orientated combat, it really needs to excel in the combat department to deliver.
Sadly however, Viking: Battle For Asgard does not deliver. The animations are so restricting that you can notice an enemy attack 2-3 seconds before it comes but you’re left defenseless as the ridiculously sluggish heavy attack animation takes an age to end. I found myself thoroughly enjoying combat against smaller groups of enemies, chaining together my attacks and launching some devastating finish moves; but as soon as you’re challenged by groups larger than 10, it becomes more of a lottery than a skill-based combat system. During the larger scale battles you can often be surrounded by 20-30 enemies but the FPS rate combined with terrible character collision leaves you guessing as to what the hell is going on.
Don’t get me wrong, some of the combat can be enjoyable but as large-scale battles are meant to be one of the games most defining points; they needed more attention and polish. The only real saving grace are the Quick Time Events. Occasionally you’ll come up against a stronger-than-average monster or boss fight; and following several minutes of mind numbing repetition, you’ll eventually launch a gore-filled finishing move that quite often results in separating your enemy from a number of their limbs.
Outside of the combat the game doesn’t really offer all that much. You’ll spend the majority of your time attacking a variety of enemy encampments, freeing trapped vikings to aid your cause. There’s a good variety of environments to battle in but for the most part, it’s the same goals and objectives with a different lash of paint. There are some side-quests along the way and there’s plenty of hidden chests and bags of loot, but the lack of any real items is obvious right from the go. Dragons are also involved but it can take a few hours before getting to that part of the game. It builds it up far too much for the lackluster finish, making dragons little more than yet another terribly controlled AI soldier that doesn’t really make a difference to anything.
Character progression is also very limited, relying entirely on in-game currency to improve the character. Whether you want to learn new moves or increase some of the available elemental abilities, you simply find gold and pay for it. There’s very little choice and push come to shove, you’ll have the same character at the end if you played through 3 times.
Even as a bargain bucket title, I wouldn’t recommend purchasing Viking: Battle For Asgard. Whether I was slashing up endless hordes of enemies or watching the AI trip out when not on an even ground, the entire experience was frustratingly repetitive.