Viking: Battle For Asgard Review

Viking: Battle for Asgard is one of those games that seems filled with potentially good ideas, but that can't quite seem to get it all to come together. Here you have a game about Viking warriors set in an open world with bloody God of War inspired battles with demons and the ability to lead your fellow warriors into battle. Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it? So what went wrong?

Let's start with the open world gameplay. There are several island areas in the game with a variety of Nordic landscapes and features. Open worlds are great, but you need to fill them with something interesting. Outside of the quest locations and an occasional bag of gold lying out in the open there's a whole lot of nothing out there. Even if you wanted to go for a stroll just to take in all of the sights your going can be frustrating at times because there are plenty of "you can't get there from here" moments along the way. This can be frustrating when you're quite close to your next objective and the path your on starts curving away from it in the wrong direction. Luckily the game has a pretty good portal system to help you hop around the map quickly, but you need to reach each portal by foot to activate it first.

Now the heart of any action game is its combat, and Viking attempts to deliver plenty of it. You'll face countless demons serving the Viking goddess of the underworld, Hel, and to dispatch them you'll have plenty of combos and fatalities at your disposal. Or at least it seems that way. In reality you can get by with the basic attacks with an occasional knock down combo as the dimwitted demons can't put up much of a challenge unless they have numbers on their side. Viking has no trouble crossing that subtle action game dividing line between excitement and tedium, and spending way too much time on the wrong side of it.

The game does try to spice up the combat in a few ways, but none of these manages to break the tedium. Finishing moves can be performed by hitting X when you see an image of the button floating over the head of a dazed enemy. Doing so will initiate a random finishing move and these are all quite bloody and entertaining in their own way. However, these moves are composed of an animated sequence of sword slashes and thrusts and once it starts its out of your control. On more than one occasion a finishing move sequence took me right over a cliff and to my demise.

At several points in the game you'll lead an assault on a demon stronghold at the head of a Viking army. It sounds like it would make for some epic gaming moments, but instead it inevitably turns into a blind button mashing exercise in tedium. There's no easy way to pick out demon from Viking in the mass of bodies that seem more like a mosh pit than a battle.

Viking had its moments and bordered on enjoyable at times, but these enjoyable moments were interspersed with too much tedium. It's a shame, because a Viking game in an open world and with entire armies of berserkers at your command should be fun. If you're a big fan of Vikings or hack and slash action games, then it's worth a rental, but you'll probably grow tired of it by the time it's due back.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 67%. Being a Viking should be more exciting than this.


Also reviewed on:
  •  · PlayStation 3 

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