Review: War Of The Vikings

War of the Viking is a third-person medieval battle simulator published by Paradox Interactive. Your first mission is to choose a faction. Will you fight for the glory of the Vikings or will you stand for the might of the Saxons?

Being a purely online multiplayer experience, the story in War of the Vikings is pretty much non existent outside of the setting itself.

War of the Vikings has some very stunning levels. From traversing icy tundras to spilling blood on farm grounds, you will find yourself in some very unique and beautiful environments. The levels really allow you to see the fine details put into everything, but each level is particularly small due to the game type itself as you can’t have a constant battle if the battle ground is too large. Although the levels are designed well for the game, they could have added some size to a few of the maps.  Finding yourself circling the same thing over and over again can almost make you feel dizzy from the amount of circles you have done.

Each faction has its own set of customization options, from different faces and armour, to different colours and shields. This sounds very alluring but each change comes at a hefty price and is still very limited in what you can do. You need to level up to buy certain equipment but then you’ll still need to shell out a large amount of gold to buy it, which is acquired by participating in battles.

The music is hard to hear with the clanging of swords and beating of shields but then again who has time to listen amongst the chaos of a full on battle? War of the Vikings brings some real beauty to an otherwise barren world but you will soon get beyond your enjoyment of the environment when you have seen it over a hundred times due to the lack of variety.

The game has multiple modes from ‘Capture The Point’ to the standard ‘Deathmatch’. With servers reaching up to 32 players you are never far from a fight. This is the best and worst trait for the game. With terrible spawn locations and small maps you will sometimes find yourself spawning just to be killed and respawn again.

If you can make it out of your spawn you now have to choose how you want to fight. Is an axe or sword to your taste? How about a bow or spear? These are the weapons of choice and each have their pros and cons. For instance, if you use a bow you get to stay out of the fight but you also get killed when someone spawns behind you. The weapon mechanics need a lot of work. With two handed axes swinging faster than a one handed sword it makes you start to question the balancing issues. Add this with some crazy perks and you have yourself an axe wielding mad man that can’t be stopped.

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The combat mechanics have some major flaws with the first half of your playthrough being you changing key bindings and working out how to actually hit someone.
Unfortunately the default key bindings are so unintuitive and difficult that they pretty much require a complete rebinding. The combat system is more than just madly clicking on mouse buttons; rather, swinging your weapon requires a mouse movement that mirrors the attack (moving your mouse to the left results in a right hand swing and vice versa) which is a neat concept (think Mount and Blade) but just completely does not work in such a fast paced multiplayer game. Chain this with some high skilled players and your first go will have you enraged at how annoying the controls are. Just stick with it, as once you pick up the basics you will be cutting off heads in no time.

The mouse movement mechanic is a neat feature but the execution in the game increases the difficulty ten fold. A game focused on blocking and positioning means any slight deviation will cause you to miss your hit or block causing added frustration to the player. Although the multiple swing techniques allows the ability to outplay your opponent, most of the time you will be frantically sliding your mouse just to realign with your target for the desired swing. This feature takes a lot of skill to master but you will most probably find yourself holding the left mouse button and sliding it like a lunatic in hope that one of twenty swings connects.

War of the Vikings is an extremely difficult to learn and probably even harder to master game, but once you get the hang of it, you will have endless fun hacking and slashing your enemies to pieces. With beautiful scenery and chaotic battles there is never a dull moment.

Irritating spawn locations and difficult controls make it unlikely that you will stick around long enough to really enjoy the game for what it is. But if you persevere and practice, War of the Vikings can become a great game.