Developers Zaxis in collaboration with publisher Wild River released Fimbul onto PS4 a little while ago and while the game looks visually stunning in screenshots, don’t let this fool you. What we have here is a title that suffers from a range of issues that cripple it from being what it should be.
In Fimbul, players will take on the role of a an older warrior in a Norse mythology shaped world. Players will have to fight their way through soldiers, trolls and Jotuns as they delve deeper into the game’s story. This all sounds well and good but where Fimbul suffers is in it’s execution. Gameplay in Fimbul is something one would expect from a game thrown together in a short space of time and published hastily without much error checking going on.
Players will be able to attack with light and heavy attacks as well as roll and use special skills such as summoning a healing banner to restore their health. This is a hit and miss process in the game since players will often end up button bashing their way to victory. Controlling your character with the analog sticks is simple enough but dodging attacks, and taking on multiple enemies at once is a chore. More often than not you’ll find yourself dying to the waves of enemies you face or to a boss enemy’s clunky attack animations that catch you off guard. Attacks don’t feel strong enough against larger enemies and once again, players will have to resort to button bashing just to get through. There are some nifty aspects worked into the combat such as paralysing an enemy with a spear or attacking a specific weak point but these don’t help to redeem the game’s dismal combat.
The combat gameplay isn’t the only downside to Fimbul, the soundtrack will occasionally cut out so you’re left playing the game in absolute silence. For a game to ship in this manner is shocking and this definitely needs to be patched as soon as possible. Apart from this, there isn’t any voice acting either and entire story is told via graphic novel-esque panels. The graphic novel panels are the one redeeming factor the game has since these are quite well drawn and laid out in such a way that it draws you in and compels you to play through the rest of the game to get the full story.
Graphically, Fimbul looks great with a cel-shaded aesthetic that just works really well for the title. Much of the scenery is snowy and filled with gorgeous effects and lighting. While manual camera control is completely absent the game’s camera does do a good enough job of tracking your character as you progress throughout levels. Unfortunately, all of this is marred when enemies start throwing everything they have at you. The game’s frame-rate gets bogged down when things get heated and it feels as if you’re trudging through sludge in battles. This completely ruined the gameplay experience and felt terrible to play.
Apart from these bugs, enemies can also get stuck in objects and render themselves undefeatable. This means that you’ll have to restart a specific section just because an enemy got lodged into their surroundings. Once again, this is an inexcusable bug that should have been ironed out during the development of the game but here’s to hoping that it will be patched eventually.
The story in Fimbul does try to involve the gamer somewhat by allowing you to make choices. However, these choices ultimately boil down to basic decisions that don’t really affect gameplay much other than making your life more difficult down the road. If you were expecting deep plot or varied storytelling with different levels and the like, you’ll be disappointed. Doubly so when the game’s stealth levels induce fiery rage as you get instant killed for being spotted by a Jotun.
Overall Fimbul is a lacklustre title, with gorgeous graphics, that could have used any additional development time it could get. Ironing out all of its problems would result in a game with a fairly straightforward plot that would be enjoyable but alas, this isn’t the case. As it stands right now, this game is not worth purchasing at full price especially since it’s so bug ridden and needs a lot of fixing.