War of the Vikings is the successor to the tepid War of the Roses that was released back in 2012. It’s a close quarters Online Multiplayer battle game that’s set in the age of the Vikings. Depending on which team you are on you are either a Viking or a Saxon and you job is to simply play different challenge games to defeat the other team. It’s an online multiplayer battle simulator that takes war back to it’s basics. Other than the occasional bow and arrow, most of your killing will have to be up close and personal. Armed with a shield and sword you will have to hunt down the opposition and attempt to remove some of their appendages.
For the uninitiated it’s likely that this game will be a somewhat daunting prospect. Each team has a mix of weaponry and have to utilise their varied skills to get the upper-hand. Archers must keep back and attempt to take out the enemy from a distance whilst the melee soldiers venture fourth unto the battlefield and try to split some skulls. But it’s not as simple as identifying your target and wind-milling into the middle of fight with sword swinging wildly. You have a energy gauge that constantly replenishes and as you swing your sword, axe or lance it will deplete meaning you have to be a little more tactical and focused when swinging.
Level design, of what was available was fairly good. It hasn’t just been randomly put together. each level has specific points like bridges where the battle can be bottle-necked. this allows for some interesting skirmishes for ground as each wants to take over the other teams territory. The uneven ground also keeps things lively as when you move about, if the ground is uneven so will be your swings so you need to keep a keen eye on your target. Unfortunately the variety was a little lacking as they usually had a lot of the same scenery. Straw roof houses, damp moss covered rocks and rickety wooden bridges. It keeps in with the tone of the savage times the Vikings lived in but so far it lacks diversity.
Also, due to the high use of melee it’s advised to keep in a group as breaking off from the herd can open you up to being a vulnerable target. Archers can be utilised to pick people off from afar much like snipers. their distance is their greatest asset but they are vulnerable and therefore easy pickings for the brave who push through. this means others will have to protect them and this is where communication is key. Having a battle strategy and being able to change it on the fly is integral to getting the upper hand as it’s not as simple as all your team being good at one skill. A mix of fighters in the team will ultimately decide the outcome.
Weapon design is surprisingly realistic. The swords, axes, shields and lances have all been grounded in reality. They are depicted as rustic tools, made to kill and not hang off your hip like some sort of sadistic bling. There were 8 different classes available from a default warrior (sword and shield) to spear warrior (spear and throwing axe). Each one has to be controlled slightly differently. There is also a special attack that, if used, can deals large amounts of damage but also leaves you vulnerable as it can take a lot of your melee energy gauge down.
In the build I had the 8 different classes were not customisable but that’s promised to be included before release.
There are plenty of servers on offer and when there is a full compliment of 24 players the battles can be quite exhilarating. The melee means that even the biggest novice can get a few kills under their belt (unlike some other multiplayer games that punish newcomers).
Animation is smooth and rewards accurate swings with some limb or head dismemberment.
Armour detail is high, light reflections streak across the screen, smoke billows from chimneys and there’s even some swaying foliage should your GPU be able to handle it but it won’t push the limits of a graphics card bought over the last two years or so.
Interestingly the more I played the more i could see the appeal. The gameplay types on offer with my Beta version were Conquest, Arena and Team Death-match. All have been seen before in many different multiplayer titles but this just allows you to find familiar ground quickly. Hopefully in the final build there will be a few more original game types that will specifically take advantage of the almost wholly hand to hand battle system. I can’t help but think that their long boats could be used in some kind of level whether that be through trying to race to different objectives or just trying to fight and sink each others vessels as quickly as possible.
It appears from the default character load outs that there are perks to be earned and this will also adds some extra depth into the game.
Whilst the PC is loading a level you are provided with some actual facts about Viking life and although not necessary, does provide you with some nice food for thought whilst you wait for killing time to begin. It will almost certainly be appreciated by people interested in history. Did you know Vikings took baths at least once a week? Which, incidentally, is more than most other Europeans did in that era. I didn’t before I played this game so if nothing else it made me a little smarter (although some will argue that’s not hard to do).
War Of The Vikings has an obvious lack of level variation but it’s brutal melee, well designed maps & numerous skill load outs makes this a great multiplayer experience and is a refreshing change for anyone suffering from shooter fatigue.
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided with a copy of War of the Vikings for prreview purposes. The title was prreviewed over the course of 7 days on a PC.