This Diablo clone has no problem giving you a game that is near identical to the series. From the radial menu to the dungeons, art style and gameplay, Vikings: Wolves of Midgard clearly pulls it’s inspiration from the renowned Blizzard franchise.
Having said that, Viking: WoM isn’t terrible, it just doesn’t deliver anything new. Honestly, thats my biggest issue with this game. Aside from the heavy focus on Norse mythology, Vikings didn’t really give me anything that will make me remember this game months down the road.
Lets digress for a moment here..
Shadow of Mordor is a good comparison to Vikings: WoM. I know, I know, the games are immensely different, but what they DO have in common is the formula the developers chose to pull from to create these games. Shadow of War blatantly utilized similar gameplay from the Assassin’s Creed series BUT they built an immersive, incredible world around that that allowed it to stand on its own so really, who gives a shit right?
Vikings draws heavily on Diablo style dungeon crawling. Ok fine, go for it. They’re not the first, and certainly won’t be the last, to create a game like Diablo. However, if that’s what you want to do, you better aim to set yourself apart from that series or else you’re game will be a small blip on the radar.
Initially I had high hopes for this game. You start by selecting the look and style of your character. Customize him to your heart’s content, great. Then you pick a Norse God that your character aligns themselves with and that dictates certain perks your character will have for the game as well as the kind of weapons they will be best suited to focus on. For example, I chose Loki, that gave my dude double hand axes and came with perks that buffed the use of those types of weapons. OK, awesome! Then I was dropped into the game and poof that exciting moment was gone. I couldn’t help but think “Oh, this is just like that part in Diablo when…”.
Vikings: Wolves of Midgard is a game full of those moments. There are times when the game is genuinely unique. Unfortunately, those moments are fleeting and have a hard time shining when they’re surrounded by the prosaic aspects of the rest of the game. Again, Vikings isn’t a bad game, Games Farm just seemed afraid to leave their comfort zone and take risks. Which is fine, but don’t expect to have people craving a sequel when the first one won’t be remembered a month from now.
Having said all that, anyone that enjoys dungeon crawling will certainly have fun with this game. There is a great amount of content to grind through for those looking for rare loot and the systems in place have a solid depth to them so you can buff your warrior. The variety of weapons lets players play the way they want to play and the Norse monsters a varied enough where they don’t feel too overused.
Unfortunately, the skill trees don’t offer any great perks to define the role you chose for your character. Since the large number of perks available are tied to the level you are, I found myself on a rather linear progression which felt unduly restricting for an RPG. The only time you can really branch out to the good perks are in the late game content, but sadly by then I was just too desensitized to care.
Uninspired, standard stat bonuses make up the majority of the skill trees, but that isn’t as much of an issue as the combat. This is a game about Vikings, and one that is heavily saturated in Norse mythology! So why do the attacks feel weightless and sterile?? Like most of the game, Vikings doesn’t take any risks with its combat, which is a let down considering the near endless amount of enemies it throws at you. A two handed hammer hits the same as a dagger, and the “Cool” slow-mo effects, that sometimes play out on a finishing kill, are muddied down by the ragdoll-like physics. Again, this wouldn’t be such an issue if they just went for it and took that extra step to give us that slice of achievement that make games like this so addictive.
Sadly, the title’s scarcity of initiative affects the loot system as well. Pushing players towards crafting weapons and armor isn’t such a big deal, really its clever. Still, when I’m late into the game, the last thing I want to find in a chest is more iron or sticks. Just give me my damn rare sword and call it a day. Repeatedly getting crafting resources instead of rare weapons late in the game gets old real quick.