Vikings: Wolves of Midgard – Review

A top-down hack and slash game that lends heavily from games like Diablo. That is what Vikings: Wolves of Midgard is all about. The question is, is it worth playing despite all the other games that have popped up through the years that has tried to copy the Diablo format.

Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher: Kalypso Media Digital
Developer: Games Farm
Release Date: March 25, 2017
MSRP: $39.99 / Php 999.95(Steam)
This review is based on a review copy provided by the developers/publisher.

Vikings is your typical top-down hack and slash game. You can customize the look of your character with a few presets that are built into the game. Since I played this on the PS4, the game lets you directly control your character and you can also dodge by using the right stick. You only use one button for auto attacks while the rest is mapped to abilities.

The game’s lore borrows heavily from the Norse mythology. Your character gets “gifts” from Norse Gods like Loki and Thor. Each time your character levels up you gain 2 gift points that you can use to unlock certain abilities both active and passive ones. Each God is tied to a specific weapon that your character can wield so you have to choose which abilities to unlock depending on the weapon you want to use in the game.

To level up, you have to collect blood orbs that you can get from enemies that you defeat. Once you have enough blood orbs you can then bring this to the Altar and choose from six attributes that help build up your character. You can choose from Strength, Health, Movement Speed, Attack Speed, etc. I feel like the game doesn’t really give you enough room to build up your character since you can only choose one attribute to level up per level but then again that probably makes it more challenging since you have to choose which one to build up depending on your playstyle. I prefer the strength route since it helps me easily defeat the enemies. Combine that with using 2-handed weapons and you’re basically squashing the enemies before they even do you any damage.

There are about 5 weapons that you can use. The 2-handed weapon which could be a sword, an axe or a hammer. The 1-handed weapon which could be a sword, an axe, or a mace. You can pair it with a shield to raise your block defense. The bow which is preferred if you’re more of a range-type player. The staff which favors those who casts magic or use their gifts a lot. And finally, if you prefer two weapons, you can dual-wield by using 1-handed weapons on both hands.

The game also features 5 merchants where each of them specializes on a certain item that they sell or service that they offer. The blacksmith that focuses on crafting and disassembling weapons. The armorsmith that focuses on armor. The accessory merchant that focuses on the rings, necklace and healing item. The rune merchant that will socket the runes that you acquire to your weapons or shield. And the general merchant who allows you to sell your items and lets you buy resources and runes as well.

You can upgrade each of these merchants – except for the general merchant – and even the altar to unlock higher tier items and abilities. You can either buy off the upgrade materials from the general merchant or as a drop from enemies. Another way to get them is by disassembling items that you no longer need.

In regards to the healing item, it has an interesting mechanic in the sense that it borrows from other games like Dark Souls. The healing item has a limited amount of usability but you can replenish them by visiting blood altars within each dungeon area just like how you replenish the Estus flask in Dark Souls.

One interesting feature of the game is its take on status ailments. There are minor status ailments like poison, freeze and being on fire. But there is also a status ailment that you can get depending on the dungeon you are in. This is like a global status ailment that accumulates in time and once its status bar maxes out it will start affecting your HP and drains it until you’re dead. One way to prevent this is to counteract the status ailment like going near a bonfire if you are afflicted with the freezing ailment or going near an icy area to stop the burning effect.

You progress through the story by completing missions and at some point in the game you will have to upgrade the boat that you use for missions to access further missions. What I find annoying about this part is that you are using the same materials for crafting weapons and upgrading buildings to upgrade the boat. So if you end up using all your materials, you might be stuck in the game for awhile and you will have to resort to grinding for materials so you can progress in the game. It would have been okay if they tell you beforehand but just like what happened to me, I didn’t know that I will have to use the same materials so I ended up grinding some so I could progress in the game.

The visual in this game are stunning for a top-down perspective. It has great attention to detail and you can even see the guts flying when your character does a critical hit. No wonder the game gets an 18-rating since I guess you can say that the visuals are not geared towards the younger people. I don’t think it’s that bad though or at least not as bad as Mortal Kombat X. Not even as bad as Witcher but maybe it’s just my own personal bias.

Overall, I believe this game can be fun and challenging because of the weapon variety, the skills and the ability to dodge enemies. I also believe this can be especially fun if you play with other people since it has a multiplayer feature. The story is a little interesting but I really don’t get the unnecessary choice statements in dialogues as they seem to funnel to the same conversation. Add to the fact that your viking is basically someone who is rude and only cares about killing enemies. You also don’t really have a say to the ending as I believe that no matter what dialogue option you choose the ending will end up the same. This game is best played one time through the campaign but can be something that you can enjoy playing with friends if you want something different.



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