LNLT New Rules

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 14

GrogHeads’ own half-height harbinger of horror turns horny ~

Lloyd Sabin, 15 January 2018

It’s cold as balls outside (read: extremely cold) and my driveway is a glacier. Which leads me to think of Vikings and Viking-themed games. In this installment of What’s Gus Playing, I’ll cover some of my time with three Norse-irific titles: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Vikings: Wolves of Midgard, and Expeditions: Viking.

Expeditions: Viking is just as well produced as Vikings: Wolves of Midgard (probably moreso) but takes its Scandinavian history more to heart, and a bit more seriously.

Full disclosure: I got about half way in to Hellblade and covered it in more detail in the last installment of What’s Gus Playing. It eventually drained me and I had to move on to something else a little lighter to save my sanity, and that was Vikings: Wolves of Midgard. It’s a Diablo-clone, but a well done one set among the myths of the Norse world. Your avatar is customizable to a point, the enemies are varied and numerous and the game runs well, with attractive, bloody graphics and cartoonish violence.

At first the difficulty almost seemed too easy and I was going to bump it up to ‘hard’ until I hit the first boss. I tried to defeat this boss seemingly 100 times and even after LOWERING the difficulty to ‘easy’ I still could not do it, at which point I just shouted ‘f this!’ and moved on to Expeditions: Viking.

Expeditions: Viking is just as well produced as Vikings: Wolves of Midgard (probably moreso) but takes its Scandinavian history more to heart, and a bit more seriously. Like its predecessor, Expeditions: Conquistador, it is a story-based, historically accurate hybrid of tactical wargame and RPG. 

The game is set among a family-centered, branching campaign. Your family is extended, with branches all over the game’s campaign map, including other families who owe you fealty, and as the new jarl you must continuously keep them all happy if you want them to be on your side. Difficult decisions lurk in every nook of Expeditions: Viking and I only just scratched the surface, but rest assured that I will be returning to it.

I got over my Viking obsession after about three weeks and have now moved on to some long-awaited World War I gaming, but I will definitely be playing all three of these games again…none of them were stinkers by any stretch and they are definitely deserving of more of my game time.

With that said I want to thank anyone who has been reading these ramblings of mine over the past few months. In the forums, I joke about my gaming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but it’s real. I used to only be able to focus on one game at a time but now I can play 3 or even 4 at a time, switching between them in one setting. And I think I can now do this because of this article.

And without you, the reader (even if there is only one of you), this article wouldn’t exist. So…thank you. Having the outlet to pour my gaming soul out, including my mental dysfunctions, is very valuable to me! Plus…I can now purchase more games.

Come back next week for some more gaming meanderings on a game I should have probably started playing a year ago, but only just got to. I thought it would be the End All, Be All Game for me…let’s see if it can hold up to such a high expectation. See you next week, and enjoy the below screenies.

 

I cannot express my relief at finally beating a horde of extremely tough enemies in Hellblade and coming to this gate…which led me to another rune-based set of puzzles

 

The name of this god, a god of deceit and shape shifting, is Valravyn. He is a tricky and absolutely silent bastard and I want him dead.

 

Another section of the area in which the latest rune puzzle is located.

 

He lurks behind that gate. I had to take a break from Hellblade…it really did start to affect me, playing in the dark. But I will be back after a breather. It’s a fantastically nasty game, one of the best first person games I have played in a long time.

 

And so I switched over to Vikings: Wolves of Midgard. A totally different game but with a sort-of-similar setting. If you like Norse lore and Diablo, it’s a no-brainer. Go pick it up.

 

The intros and cut scenes are surprisingly well done…

 

…and they do a great job of immersing the player further in to the game world.

 

One great game mechanic is the toll that the frigid arctic environment takes on your avatar. Spend too much time in the cold and you will die. Find a fire to warm up! Vikings: Wolves of Midgard is filled with cool little details like this, and once I figure out a way to beat that first damned boss (Jokul) that killed me 100+ times, I will be back.

 

So now on to Expeditions: Viking. The character creation section is quite deep.

 

The game is launched from your family’s longhouse, at the funeral for your father, a local jarl. I was surprised at just how much choice the game offers, even in the very early sections.

 

Missions evolve according to your choices immediately. Replayability is strong here.

 

The game is filled with interesting characters and legends. This one is a witch, who later becomes available to hire in to your family/party.

 

The environments are all top down but adjustable, and pleasing to look at. They also ran smooth for me, with no issues.

 

Here is the campaign map, which is rendered realistically and invitingly. Expeditions: Viking was more detailed than I expected, and deep.

 

As other characters join your party in Expeditions: Viking, they too become customizable. There was just as much a chance that Asleifr here would try to kill me as join my party.

See you next week!


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