Vikings – Wolves of Midgard is now out for Xbox One, PS4 and Steam, and gives fans of action RPGs a solid new option to play. Our review is based on the PC version.
We first laid eyes on Vikings – Wolves of Midgard last summer, when we met with developer Games Farm. Aside from a few familiar faces (we previously met some of the team during Games Farm’s time with Bitcomposer), we also found Vikings to be a new yet familiar sight. Just like Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms before it, Vikings is an action RPG clearly inspired by the likes of Diablo, Sacred, Dungeon Siege and Titan Quest. But despite the clear inspiration, Games Farm dares to be different with their game.
A lot of this is due to Viking’s setting and the way it’s been implemented into the game. Not surprisingly, this setting is heavily inspired by Norse mythology and the fierce warriors associated with it. And even if you’re not familiar with too much in the way of Norse mythology, then at least if you’re a fan of the recent batch of Marvel movies you’ll see plenty to recognize.
For one, character selection is not just your typical range of warriors, wizards and assassins. Instead, they are associated with Norse gods like Thor and Loki. Align yourself with Thor and hammers and other melee-oriented weapons will be boosted, whereas siding with Loki will mean a stronger affinity for magic. It doesn’t stop you from making other choices in-game when it comes to the weapons you wield, but the draw of being extra powerful with certain ones is hard to resist.
Combat in Vikings: Wolves of Midgard is usually brutal and the screen is often drenched in blood. As long as it’s not yours, that’s a good thing – because blood is what you offer to the gods in exchange for much-needed upgrades to your skills and weapons. These gods will also offer you trials to complete – side quests or special secondary objectives you can achieve in order to gain extra experience/blood and loot. This of course also ties in very well with Norse mythology, since it’s what you think of when you hear the words “trials of the gods”.
The story behind the game’s campaign mode is rather forgettable, revolving around a clan of vikings that seeks revenge after their town is torn apart by creatures who are laying waste to all the land. This sets you off on a quest to rebuild and get revenge, but story development isn’t particularly strong in Vikings – something that is also true for the developer’s previous action RPGs.
Visually, Vikings had turned into a good looking game with excellent and interactive environments. You’ll have to find shelter from the extreme cold and heat at times, which adds a tactical element to your quests. The animations also received a significant upgrade since we saw an early demo back in the summer of last year, making Vikings one of the better looking action RPGs of its type at the moment.
It’s not going to revolutionize the genre, but Games Farm probably never meant to. Their focus has clearly been on satisfying combat and a backdrop that convincingly integrates Norse mythology with familiar (and a few new) action RPG conventions. Story development may have taken a back seat in the process, but the developer has succeeded in what they set out to do – and that makes Vikings a healthy recommendation for those who enjoy the games that inspired it and are looking forward to something slightly different yet familiar.