War of the Vikings Beta Impressions

Article

posted 12/5/2013 by Travis Huinker
other articles by Travis Huinker
Platforms: PC

Described entertainingly as a game "For vikings, by vikings" by Gordon Van Dyke, producer at Stockholm-based developer Fatshark, War of the Vikings continues with the brutal and visceral close-quarters combat introduced in the the studio's previously-released War of the Roses. At a press event held this week, Gordon showcased the various improvements and additions with the game's beta release that includes a new conquest mode, authentic character voices, new maps, and a spear weapon class. In addition, starting today gamers on the fence can try out War of the Vikings for free through a free weekend hosted on Steam. Feel free to add me on Steam if you're looking for a fellow warrior companion for battle.

The conquest mode returns from War of the Roses, but this time around greatly improved in the overall flow of combat and progression on maps. Conquest mode has players battling for control points that ultimately can sway back and forth between teams in latch ditch efforts before the round runs out of time. Differing from modes such as team deathmatch, conquest is focused more around objective-based gameplay that encourages team members to work together in securing control points and victory over the opposing force. At the game's beta release, two maps will be available to players to try out the new conquest mode. As past maps from other modes indicate, developer Fatshark listens to player feedback as well as studies heat maps and match statistics to determine improvements to the game's various level layouts.

The game's beta release also introduces authentic voice acting for the both the Vikings and Saxons with Icelandic and Old English. The development team employed some of its own in-house talent to fill the roles which is even more impressive when considering the studio consists of only 13 members. The voice work is being utilized through the battle chatter system that aims to create an organic atmosphere of in-game audio cues from characters in combat. An immense amount of research has gone into portraying an accurate representation of Vikings in the game by disputing many of the barbaric misconceptions of them. War of the Vikings ultimately aims to have gamers relearn who the Vikings were by showing them as the sophisticated civilization that they actually were during their time.

Lastly, the game's beta version introduces a spear weapon class that contains both upper and lower thrusts combat movements. In contrast with the other sword and ax weapon types, spears only unlocks for more experienced players as the weapon type requires a certain degree of precision. The spear in combat provided a refreshing change from the other standard weapon types as lining up the perfect, lethal thrust into the opposing enemy character was truly rewarding. New maps Cliff and Sanctuary were also showcased during the presentation with both providing many interesting combat encounters. Sanctuary in particular was quite entertaining as it's one of the game's smaller maps by placing characters in a close-quarter, square level with little room for cover, all the while drenched in a heavy fog creating for a great battle atmosphere.

Future content updates after the beta version were discussed including character customization with players able to earn coins from the amount of gameplay time spent in War of the Vikings. Coins earned in-game can be used to unlock various tiers of items, one such item type mentioned included different beards for characters. The developers also mentioned they're looking into ways to support the integration of Steam Workshop and modding support, but have no concrete details at this point in the game's development. As well, a battle game mode will be introduced in a future update that will support 64 players spread across larger-sized maps that aim to create truly chaotic battlefields. War of the Vikings is available now through the Steam Early Access program in a variety of game editions.




* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.



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