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Viking: Battle for Asgard Review
developer: Creative Assembly
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Mar 25, 08
|» All About Viking: Battle for Asgard on ActionTrip|
Upon sitting down to write this review, it didn't take me long to realize that I have been biased towards anything Viking and with a lot of melee combat for years.
If CNN could find a way to include Vikings in their marketing reports, I probably would watch those as well.
Boring shows on National Geographic about corrals and tiny sea creatures that look like snot, I'd watch those too. Just add some Viking combat, a goddess here and there and some severing of limbs.
Curling - curling is a god-awful sport. It's terrible. It makes mopping look like a fucking rodeo. Throw an axe-wielding Nordic madman in that one, and I'll watch it.
Same goes for political debates, lectures, boring pre-trial hearings and, of course, weddings.
Weddings are also terrible. They are terrible for the people who are getting married and it's terrible for people who have at least twelve thousand better places they could be at. This effectively rules out 98% of the entire guest list. Minus, naturally, the fat bastard of the drunken uncle who keeps eying the groom's crotch, trying to cope with the mixed signals his brain is sending him about his sexuality past the age of 50.
Shopping is tedious too and would be made significantly more fun if you were allowed to rape some maidens at the Prada store.
Another clear Viking reference as you can see.
So it comes as no surprise that I actually enjoyed playing Viking: The Battle for Asgard, the latest 3rd person action game from the makers of the Total War strategy series, Creative Assembly.
In many ways, the game is an ambitious effort to blend epic style combat featured in Total War games with a classic Ninja Gaiden-like 3rd person action segment, as you battle the minions of Hel in an effort to please the goddess in your corner, Freya.
In that sense, the combat is very fun. It's visceral, it's entertaining, there are plenty of combos to learn and master, and the feeling you get from severing stuff (limbs, heads and such) is very hands-on and tactile. I liked it. It's got a lot of meat to it.
That combined with scenes where entire armies of Vikings go up against armies of very unpleasant looking minions of Hel, makes you feel like you are taking a center role in battles of rather epic scale.
And this is great.
What's not so great is that, throughout the game, the gameplay principle of raising your army sufficiently by freeing up Vikings across the land and then, doing some fancy amulet summoning of the dragons while making sure you kill a bunch of enemy Shaman, is really what each battle comes down to. Sure, there will be a fancy giant here and there, but the formula stays the same. It just gets a bit bigger in terms of repeating the same stuff a few more times.
Throughout, your character doesn't develop like in action RPGs, nor does the storyline go into directions which make you feel super about its variety or the variety of the characters and game world.
The whole thing pretty much boils down to a lot of rinse and repeat, but I still played the damn game because I like Vikings so much.
OK, maybe it's the horns. Maybe there is an obvious gay reference here that I'm failing to see. Maybe my mother didn't breastfeed me enough when I was a child.
Speaking of which...
OK, where in the hell am I going with this?
Combat, epic feeling of battles, fun violence;
- Gameplay ultimately repetitive, story and characters lack punch, world and monsters lack variety.
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