Quote: Turn Based Strategy Expeditions: Viking shows us how to fling your war axe in style
I’ve never really been one for Vikings if I’m completely honest, whilst everyone was playing Viking type games and brutally swinging their giant axes around, I was more into spamming my firaga spells from afar and trying to collect ultimate weapons. That said I have always been a fan of turn-based tactical fighting simulators, so whilst Expeditions: Viking may have one thing that I’m not a huge fan of, it does have several things that I absolutely love.
Expeditions: Viking is the soon to be new release by developers and publishers Logic Artists. The game is still in the early ages of development, but is scheduled for release on Steam in Q1 of 2017 and is already being greatly praised by a number of people within the Steam community. As I’m sure you can kind of guess by the name, it’s based on the Viking era, and in terms of a genre it falls under the turn-based strategy RPG game.
Before setting out on your epic viking quest, you’ll need to make your character. Now if you’re anything like me, you’ll make your character the most grizzly and scarred looking thief that ever walked the green hills of Valhalla. Whilst the character customisation menu isn’t particularly the best, you do have some choices to choose from and Expeditions: Viking does give you a fair few options to choose from to make your Viking warrior as unique as possible.
Once you’ve made your grizzly Viking, you’ll need to start assigning some stats and skills to him / her in order to make them, well not weak. Whilst the game is still in development stages, some skills are off limits, but you still have an unholy amount of different weapon, support, offensive and traits that you can plow your newly acquired 50 skill points into. It’s really your call, and the game doesn’t really you offer you much in the way of assistance as to what to go with, but if you’re a bit of an RPG veteran then you’ll likely already have a predetermined playstyle, for me it was dual daggers and long range bows, so read those tool tips and find out what works for you.
Once the game begins, you’ll be greated with a cutscene. So the low down of the story is your dear ole pappy (dad) has fought one too many battles and has departed the world of Vikings to go dine with the Gods of Valhalla. Now it’s up to you to take the place of Thegn within your clan and strive for glory and power and to care for your clan and provide a better way of life, and how do you do that exactly? Well throw a big piss up of course!
So during the feast, you’ll have to wander around and talk to some of the Clans most predominant figures about how your father was great (or not so great) and how you will plan to become a fantastic leader. Further more, most of these guests are trying to overthrow you as Thegn, so it’s a bit of a tense situation, but hey ho, who can complain with all this mead?!
After tending to the guests and drinking down some of the finest mead that the Viking world has to offer you’ll have your first visitor challenge you to a duel, a drunkard who doesn’t quite understand what he’s doing and decides to challenge your seat as Thegn. After a brief but quite tactical fight (which we’ll go over later) you’ll then have the choice of letting him go or executing him in front of your guests to show them who’s boss.
I’m not really sure how best to describe the battle system, but it’s turn based with hexagonal square movement. If that doesn’t really mean anything to you then consider this. You have up to 3 followers (not including yourself), even turn, you get to move and attack each of the different characters. Of course some characters can attack twice (if using certain skills) whilst others can move twice. The idea is to get your opponents health down as much as possible whilst keeping yourself alive, which is actually easier said than done…
Of course you have some skills to help you out and depending on what you picked up during your character customisation and what your play style is. In all honesty I can say that the whole dual wielding didn’t really do me very well so I re-created my character as a brutal axe wielding maniac.
After a short while, you’ll get your own followers who have different helpful skills and tactics that they can employ to help you win some of these crazy fights. Their default skills are always the same however you will be able to boost them up to your liking depending on how you want to form your party, this allows for a little bit more personalisation when playing the game.
There are a couple of bugs, for instance during some of the fights, every time I attacked and then ran off the game would freeze up. It wouldn’t allow me to end my turn, or use a skill, or do anything, so both my character and the Viking who was trying to kill me just remained frozen until… well Valhalla. Not really the best first impression of the game and I really do hope they fix this issue before it’s major release.
The graphics, whilst are somewhat simplistic, are actually very detailed and lovely to look at. The arenas that you fight in are very well prepared, with lots of different nooks and crannies to get hidden behind and to do some serious damage to your competition and the general environments are actually incredibly designed and very realistic of the historical era in which the game is set. Whilst the characters aren’t so much detailed themselves, the family portraits that represent them are, and all in all the graphics are well received.
The sound is one of the highlights of the game, each of the battles and different storylines has different Viking like music to go along with it, and you get a nice little taste of dark and dismal Viking and happy go lucky feast type music to pleasure your ears. Whilst having some character dialogue would be nice, it’s not really missed in the game, and the sound effects and background music that go with the game more than make up for the missing dialogues.
Overall, the game isn’t half bad. Whilst there’s still a couple of bugs which do drag down the performance, they’re easily fixed and generally not too appalling. It’s actually a very good game to get hold of and play for a couple of hours, and before I knew it, 3 hours had passed and I hadn’t really even thought about playing anything else at all, so I’d say it’s got the makings of a pretty successful game.
Even if Vikings isn’t really your style of gameplay, I’d say give it a go and pretend you’re playing ninjas or something (strange I know). The battle system is pretty decent and the graphics aren’t too shabby, whilst it’s missing a little bit in the story line, it’s definitely worth picking up if you just want a tactical, strategic turn based fighting game. Definitely a win in my book!