|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Creative Assembly||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 25, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Pete Richards
September 29, 2007 - As Sega and developers Creative Assembly team up for a second time after bringing us Spartan: Total Warrior, they have recently announced their next project - Viking: Battle for Asgard. Featuring the same army strategy theme as Spartan, Viking takes place in a completely new world and features a totally different storyline while taking the in-battle gameplay to a new level.
The story begins in a magical land called Midgard where the chief of the Norse gods named Odin banishes the god Hel to the world of Niflheim. As the plot unfolds and Hel dwells in this underworld, he plots to seek revenge on Odin and raises an army of undead Vikings known as the Legion. With the army under his command, he leads them to Midgard in an attempt to end the world. In order to stop Hel and his undead army, Odin seeks a hero by the name of Serin, a mighty Viking warrior armed with a sword. This is where you come in.
As you battle with Serin, the game is said to have more of a Dynasty Warriors feel than Spartan did. Serin is a capable lad, with the ability to slash through several undead warriors at a time as you find yourself in mid-battle with hordes of oncoming soldiers. You can use your series of light attacks on your opponents, and stronger attacks can be brought on by building up momentum to unleash some pretty devastating combos. Serin has a special lightning attack that can slice through an enemy and dispose of him fairly quickly. For fans of Spartan who felt the combat depth was lacking, Viking takes things a bit further with its hack n' slash gameplay.
Aside from running around and killing as many people as you can, the game gives you another agenda that involves a certain level of strategy similar to Spartan. As you travel throughout the land and various islands of the world, you can spend as much time as you like. During this time, you must prepare for battle and attempt to gather local followers to join the fight and eventually build an army around you. You will need the help as you face large groups of Legion forces and lead your troops into battle. You will use strategy as you direct your forces to move around and set up in the most suitable areas to strike. During some parts of the game you will have to destroy the enemy's barracks first in order to get at them. The Legion also has a number of different warriors including giant soldiers that will need to be occupied while your army goes to town on other Legion members. The Legion also has spiritual healers working for them that you may want to make a first priority when attacking. They have glowing orbs around them and have magical abilities to keep healing and resurrecting dead warriors as well as protect the living warriors with magical shields.
As you win battles, you unlock tokens that earn Serin new magical powers and attack strategies you can order upon your troops. You will be able to use magic attacks like picking up enemies with lighting and calling dragons from the sky to swoop in and attack enemy villages. Serin's presence alone in a battle often gives nearby soldiers an added boost of energy. In some missions, you will be required to use a number of different weapons including battering rams to knock down enemy gates. Creative Assembly are toying with a few ideas to make this a unique experience and pick up where Spartan left off. In some parts of the game, you will be required to use stealth when approaching enemies or sneaking by them in order to avoid drawing the attention of large hordes of Legion troops.
Visually, recently released screenshots of Viking seem pretty impressive with a good look at action shots with large armies at battle. With the game currently in early stages of development, it is slated for a release sometime early 2008.
CCC Freelance Writer