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Xbox 360 Game Review

Viking: Battle for Asgard


Format: Xbox 360
Age Restrictions: 18+
Available 28 March 2008

A fierce struggle is taking place within the realm of the Norse Gods. The Goddess Hel has been banished for defying Odin, Lord of Asgard. Angry at her fate, Hel has raised an army of resurrected Viking warriors to wipe out all humanity in the mortal realm of Midgard, seeking to bring about Ragnarok - the apocalyptic battle that will destroy Asgard and the Gods themselves...

Viking: Battle for Asgard takes players to the world of Norse Gods, where the Goddess Hel in all her fury, has raised an army of demonic warriors sent to enslave the mortal realm of Midgard and ultimately provoke Ragnarok - the apocalyptic battle that will destroy even the Gods themselves.

You take on the role of Skarin, a powerful yet flawed Viking warrior, filled with rage and ready to wage war on whoever stands in his way. Manipulated by the gods and fated to a destiny he has yet to understand, Skarin is the only one able to stop this ultimate clash of great wills. As Skarin, you leave behind you a bloody trail of dismembered foes using a huge array of ruthless and brutal combat moves while mastering the addictive and destructive mystical powers and abilities given to you by the Viking Gods.

You must explore open-world environments, freeing enslaved warriors in a bid to increase your army. Then you must lead your men into huge, epic battles featuring colossal giants, powerful shaman, deadly assassins and the Gods' own champions.

As the game progresses, you can tame mighty dragons and unleash their rain of fire, laying waste to the enemy hordes that stand in your way and use Skarin's emerging skills to strategically turn the tide of conflict.

While this game appears to have a free roaming element to it, you soon realise that you are pretty much shepherded through each segment. While you can roam freely between the various settlements, you'll have to finish each mission before the next is open to you. After a while, this starts to get a little tiresome. There's only so many times that you can hack and slash your enemies to bits in order to free captured vikings and turn them to your cause. The battle sequences are fun, but only for a short time, as slow motion sequences of you slicing off your enemies heads and arms soon start to become too repetitive. And, while the large battle sequences are fun to start with, it's also easy to run away from the action and let your men do all the work.

There are items to buy in your village, battle moves to purchase and add to your repertoire of killing tactics, and dragons to command. And as you wander around the lands there are gold coins and treasure chests to find. And, once you've discovered a transportation stone you can easily zip around the lands without spending ages walking everywhere.

At the end of the day, this is a very attractive looking hack and slash game that appears to be a lot deeper than it actually is. Once you get the hang of it, it's a strictly by the numbers game. That said, this is still enjoyable, just don't expect to be playing for too long before you complete it. A little more originality and challenging missions could have made this offering a must own game. As it stands it's just a solid, if predictable, enjoyable romp that offers little in the way of real challenges.


Nick Smithson

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