Pin It
Favorite

The Player 

by MARTY DEMAREST & r & & r & Viking: Battle for Asgard & r & Rated Mature; PS3, 360 & r & 4 Stars & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & M & lt;/span & y favorite way of killing uses both an axe and a sword. I thrust my sword into the pale-blue gut of one of Hel's undead warriors until the hilt sticks out like a handle. Then I heft him into the air and with my other hand hack my axe into the top of his skull. There's also what I call the "flying bisection," in which I swing my blade through his waist with so much force that his torso goes twisting through the air, scattering a spiral of blood behind it, leaving his legs to totter meaninglessly for a few moments more.





As the warrior Skarin, I've got to enjoy killing. There's not much more to Viking life: drinking mead is left to others, and farming is an occupation that the goddess Freya has denied me. So I savor the slow, detailed slaughter that fills the game's small skirmishes and one-on-one challenges. During the bigger battles, when my fellow Vikings run with me into a massed army of Hel's minions, it's easier just to let arms, legs and corpses drop like battle dew on the grass.





Life and death are fluid, not only in the blood that flows from me, but also in the vitality I rip from my opponents, drawing it into myself for strength. This allows me to plunge into my foes with a berserker's fury, certain that their deaths will grant me renewed vigor. However, far from encouraging indiscriminate skewering and slashing, Viking puts me on my guard, giving me control of a third-person perspective that keeps me circling myself, looking for approaching opponents.





Viking's control scheme is brutally effective: one button for swift attacks, another for slower, more vicious blows. If I want to locate evil-infested settlements, I can open the game's map and look for red icons, or I can just seek out gloomy landscapes resonant with cricket chirps instead of birdsongs. And when it's time to summon dragons into battle, a few button-clicks let me choose their targets, then swiftly plunge my sword back into the crimsoned fray.





THE GOOD: Viking is filled with authenticities from what The Sagas of Icelanders calls "a wind age, a wolf age." An abandoned game of chess sits outside a village pub. (The earliest extant chess set is Viking.) Rock and sod dwellings rise from the countryside, while rough-hewn longhouses line the towns. The ocean roils and heaves instead of rippling inertly like most videogame water. Rime-crusted longships litter the harsh coastlines. Woven among standard videogame features, these details give Viking a rich historical texture that compliments its unsparing gore.





THE BAD: The PlayStation 3 version of Viking sports the relatively low resolution of 720p and isn't in widescreen. Seen on the Xbox 360's finer 1080p resolution in widescreen, Viking's trees are identifiable as oak and chestnut. On the PS3, they're just trunks topped with a leafy blur. This doesn't change Viking's small programming flaws -- on both systems flaming arrows will sometimes fly through solid buildings and characters occasionally get stranded behind stacks of barrels. But the striking difference in graphical clarity makes Viking a sloppy effort on the PS3.





THE BOTTOM LINE: For a bloody good time, go Viking.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • In Defense of Refugees
  • In Defense of Refugees

    In the aftermath of the presidential election, local residents seek ways to love and support their refugee friends
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • No License to Kill
  • No License to Kill

    Task force says officers should be held responsible for police shootings; plus, state auditor clears Spokane Valley firing of city manager
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Trumped-up Education
  • Trumped-up Education

    Could the President-elect's support of school choice trickle down to Spokane?
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science

Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 6

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • This Isn't Normal

    America has gone down this road before, and it's a dead end
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


trail mix


election 2016


Readers also liked…

  • The Clock is Ticking
  • The Clock is Ticking

    Can new gold reserves stave off economic disaster in Ferry County?
    • Jan 7, 2016
  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation