Expeditions: Viking Review
Expeditions: Viking is a game about raiding, pillaging, and of course, Vikings. Is the journey across the sea on a longship worth the effort, or should you just stay home and drink some mead? Check out our Expeditions: Viking Review and find out what we thought.
Expeditions: Viking Review
Your adventure starts in your great Viking hall. Your father has just passed, and with it, you are now the rightful Thegn to your village. A Thegn is basically the lord of the land in a given area, except you are required to aid the king of the region during war. As Thegn, you are responsible for everyone in the village and the village itself. Your father was a great warrior but not much as far as a Thegn is concerned, and he left behind debts and enemies alike. You soon find out that another Thegn wants your land and is going to try and convince the King to tell him do it in a years time. To stop him, you need to make a ship and travel across the sea and form new alliances and create trade routes. Or just raid a pillage and make your fortune that way. The game has a lot of options and it will run you around 30 hours in all.
While this is going on, the village needs to be built up. This is pretty basic: pick a project and if you have the required materials it will get done in a set amount of time. All choices help with either Clan Power or Clan Prosperity. Power means you are strong and Prosperity means you are wealthy. Some of the choices are just cosmetic, while others will add new crafting options or even add new merchants. These can easily all be finished by the end of the game thanks to the Thrall system. As a Thegn, you have slaves to your name, and they can be sacrificed to speed up building time on construction options. In the end, I had way more Thralls then I needed and completed everything with plenty or time to spare.
Being as you are a Viking lord, you can’t always talk your way out of things. Sometimes you have to spill blood to get what you need. Before you start the game, you are allowed to distribute skills points into various weapons and skills. Swords, axes, shields, daggers, spears, bows, slings, Dane axes, and even fists can all be upgraded and selected as weapons of choice. There are other skills and buffs that will help in combat as well, but no magic, so it isn’t to far-fetched. Combat is broke up into two segments: movement and actions. Basically, you move on a grid and can only move so far, and if you move too far, you can’t attack. If you stay within range, you can attack or use skills before that character is stuck until next turn. There are also utility items that can be used such as healing tinctures or fire potions that don’t take actions. It is a turn based system, so one team does all their moves and then the other team goes. Ending your turn in a good position is almost required as the enemy AI will pick off anyone who isn’t in cover.
Like a true viking, sometimes you have to camp out on long journeys. In these spots, you can craft materials. After traveling so far, your allies and yourself will get hungry and tired. If you don’t rest and eat you will get a debuff in combat. When you rest, you have to set your allies to hunt, guard, craft, and sleep in shifts. You can craft weapons, armor, and more utility items as the night goes on. Your hunters will bring back fresh meat, and your scouts will find hidden items on the map that you can interact with for extra loot. If you don’t have someone guarding, you could be attacked while sleeping. These are all skills, so points have to be spent here as well as in combat trees, making for some tough choices early on. By the end, I had everyone where I wanted for camping and in combat, so don’t fret over it too much.
While traveling, you can also come across random events that will help or hurt you in some way. Sometimes you come across a battlefield and you can search the dead bodies for loot, but you risk an infection by doing that. Other times you will run into lost travelers who will give you a reward for helping them get to a town. Sometimes you get two of the same on in a row, like one of your allies drinking out of a poison stream. Most of the time these end up being bad, but they do add some variety. Anytime someone is injured, you have to heal them at camp. If you don’t, they can get more sick and eventually die. It is very easy to keep ahead of this if you are paying attention. Any sick or injured member will have a debuff in combat as well, so it is easy to notice when someone isn’t at 100%.
Regretfully the game is held back by numerous bugs and glitches. By the time I had finished I encountered multiple crashes and had a few quests glitch out on me. The game auto saves a lot, so you don’t end up losing much progress, but it is still very annoying. Crashes were typical during combat or sometimes even dialogue. I had a couple of instances where the dialogue box just wouldn’t disappear, forcing me to hard close the game. As for quests, I picked an ally and the whole quest chain bugged out, forcing me to change me allegiance after a few hours of questing. There was also another glitch with one of the people who was meant to join my party. I just couldn’t interact with him, at all. That one fixed itself after a while, but it did take away from the game experience. The game has a good story and good combat system but the bugs added up quickly. After searching the steam forums, this was not an uncommon thing either.
My adventure as a Viking Thegn was a rocky one, but one that I still enjoyed. If you think the idea of playing as a viking is fun, or think the time period is interesting, give it a shot if you can overlook the bugs.