Single-player MMO feel with gory kinetic combat.
Every time I returned to the game, first encounter with an enemy, first fight and bam I got a huge grin on my face. You just can't ignore that. The game is definitely doing something right. The combat is simply awesome. It's kinetic. Your character feels heavy. The weapons have weight to them. You can feel the blows. You're not just swinging in the air in front of you. When you connect you know it, you feel it, you see it. It's very gory and bloody. Body part start flying. Heads get chopped off in awesome finishing moves. In the end, it's immensely satisfying. And from beginning to end the combat never got boring nor repetitive for me. In fact I just restarted on Hard.
The game also has that massive feel to it. And while playing Viking, I was often thinking about MMOs. The combat in Viking: Battle for Asgard is exactly how I envisage a modern fantasy MMO should feel like. I don't think i can play another fantasy MMO where you have combat animations which basically consist of 2 characters or more waving their swords at the air in front of them that way and then this way when they click on a special ability. Looping the same 4 or 5 frames of animation over and over without any synchronization whatsoever between the combatants until one of the them drops. To me Tabula Rasa has shown that it's possible to have fun compelling combat in a MMO. And that is what i expect from new fantasy MMOs as well. Obviously there are countless examples of what good combat should be like and feel like in a fantasy setting from action games like God Of War and now Viking: Battle for Asgard. Blows should feel heavy. If my sword hit an enemy, he should feel the kinetic force of the impact and stager. Show me a dent in his armor. A gush of blood if I hit flesh. His attacks should slow as his health decreases and his sword feels heavier and heavier. In Viking, the shield of enemies visually degrade as you pummel it until it finally breaks into pieces. I don't need to see numbers flashing on screen to tell me what is happening, there should be enough visual clues during the combat to give me a good indication of how the fight is progressing. The combat should be visceral and exciting.
Anyway back to Viking: Battle of Asgard. In many ways it feels like a cross between God of War (the awesome combat, the mythology-based story) and the massive environments and huge number of enemies in the Lord of the Rings movies. It occurred to me first when I saw a legion patrol (that's who you fight in the game, the legion of the underworld, yay!) marching from one encampment to the next. I'm talking about force of 50 warriors or more here. Certain death should you cross their path in the vein of the dark armies near the Gate of Mordor in the Lord of the Rings. And you do get to take them on at some point. Talking about the Mordor gates, the game also feature huge architecture, gates, fortifications, camps high in the mountains. Totally awesome and scenic. You see it from afar, and then realize that you were just there behind that window, slicing an archer in two. Then there are the huge battles. You need to capture 2 main camps in each map and that results in massive battles where you're joined in the fight by maybe 100 viking and legion all together. So all in all the game is a lot of fun.
Sure the game is not perfect. Personally I feel like it could have benefited from a couple more months of polish at times. In rare occasions the AI get a bit sloppy, I noticed a couple of enemies stuck on gates, and the massive battle can suffer from slow downs. The game has no multiplayer so depending on your budget it might be a rent. But Viking: Battle for Asgard is an experience well worth playing through.