To the naked eye, Viking’s combat resembles any of half a dozen other button mashers. Peer more closely and you’ll uncover the concept of “pips,” tokens which accumulate through Skarin’s repeated use of light attacks. These pips can be spent on heavy blows, which come in handy when you’re faced with heavily armoured foes or those cowering behind shields. So, instead of simply hammering away on your Sixaxis and hoping for the best, you’ll need to formulate strategies that exploit opponents’ weakness to the full. It sounds simple - because it is - but it also adds a welcome layer of wily strategy to all that pad pounding.
While it’s easy to get lost in the joyous carnage of battle, you’ll need to remember that Skarin is a leader - and any general worth his salt is as adept at strategising as murderising. Keeping an eye out for potential threats, like behemoth Champions or crafty Shamen is a must. As your abilities develop, you’ll also be able to summon magical attacks that paralyze the zombie hordes while respectively boosting the strength and morale of Skarin’s mob, as well as awe-inspiring Dragon Strikes that - for instance - can target individual Champions with streams of hyper-hot magma. A real pay-off.
Regardless of your feelings about vikings, ogres or real-time-strategy, Viking’s visceral impact sweeps you away on a tide of blood and testosterone. Stay tuned for much more on Skarin’s odyssey before its early 2008 release.