I don't know about you guys, but the last time I remember playing a viking game The Lost Vikings on the Sega Genesis and SNES over a decade ago. There was Rune: Viking Warlord, but that sucked. Well, with games like God of War sparking trends for games like Conan and Beowulf, it seems only right for a proper viking game to follow suit, anyhow. By proper, I mean good and violent. After all, vikings weren't exactly the nicest of people - and what better way to capture the violence than with a fast paced action title for the PS3 and Xbox 360?
The story of Viking revolves around the struggle over Asgard, the realm of Norse Gods. The struggle over Asgard has come outright into the human world of Midgard, and at this point, only a warrior with the strength of thousands can put an end to this. Note: Don't confused Midgard with Final Fantasy VII's Midgar. Yes, the similarities are clear, but both words actually stem from the Germanic word "Midgard" used to describe our world, a place where humans live.
"The goddess Hel - daughter of Loki, Norse God of mischief, has been banished from the heavenly kingdom of Asgard for defying Odin's rule. Angry at her fate, she seeks to release the ancient wolf-god Fenrir which legend tells will bring about Ragnarok - the apocalyptic battle that will destroy Asgard and the Gods. With her army of resurrected Viking warriors, Hel marches on the unsuspecting mortal realm of Midgard."
Odin's daughter Freya must stop the war and defend mankind. So the Goddess of love and wisdom asks for the help of Skarin. Skarin is the character whos role you will assume. He is a young warrior with a troubled past, and much like Kratos from God of War, he too is a "plaything" of the Gods, and is rebelling against them.
Sega touts a brutal combat engine designed for lightning fast action comprimising of physical melee combat. Violent imagery will be at the top of the visual list as dismembering enemies is one of the little traits listed on Viking's official fact sheet - so fans of games like God of War and Devil May Cry may find themselves quite welcome while playing Viking.
As Skarin, players will experience unparalleled battle scenes, leading the charge in a titanic clash between powerful gods and mere men. War on an unprecedented scale will rage across a beautifully realised Viking landscape. Vast, living islands, free form worlds filled with discovery, stealth, brutal combat and culminating in epic battles the like of which have never been seen on console before.
What would a game of mythology be without dragons? Sega says the same, and so Skarkin will have the powers to tame dragons and command them. You'll be able to use them much like you could in Lair, so breath all the fire you want and have it rain down on your enemies below. Furthermore, casting magic by calling on the Gods will also be another power of yours.
Now, when you free your own Viking kinsmen from Hel's captivity, you will be able to earn their trust. This results in them aiding you in combat. Battles will be epic, featuring combat that's composed of hundreds of individual fighters on screen. Your skills and choices will determine how a battle will unfold, so use good judgement.
Visually, Viking is looking extremely promising. With enormous open-world environments, and some very slick aesthetic details, it looks like The Creative Assembly is putting together one fine looking game. Character detail is well done and pronounced with solid texture work. Furthermore, with hundreds of characters on screen simultaneously, in real-time, it seems like Viking's game engine is quite the multi-tasker. Let's just hope that it maintains the 720p image with a great framerate -- 60 frames would be great, Assembly.
Look for Viking to launch this upcoming March of 2008.
10/29/2007 Arnold Katayev