While unleashing hell at your signal might be what makes Viking stand out as a slasher, the mass battles aren’t the best part of this button-masher. They are the dramatic bookends, the climax when the sap rises and the fluids spurt. The real joy is in the unexpected but magnificently vicious scuffles with an unseen patrol, the fifteen or so hours spent exploring the hills of Midgard or spearing a snoozy sentry as he squirms in his sleeping bag.
But for all the glee of the slaughter, Viking is a game butting its head against the limits of its genre. There isn’t great variety in the tasks or the bosses you face and a few more genuinely off-story quests would be nice. But the exploring adds life and longevity far beyond the standard eight-hours-start-to-finisher slasher, and you probably won’t notice the complete lack of any multiplayer element, or the lack of chained combos, platforms, acrobatics or rankings because Viking is happy to just be a slasher.
Anyway, your poor mortal brain already performs billions of calculations every second: walking, breathing, and keeping you dry in the groinal region (hopefully). So after a long day of left, right, in, out, clench, clench, release, why not enjoy a game that doesn’t challenge every synapse in your cerebrum to pop and fizzle? Especially when the sweet release of olde-school slaughter in Viking: Battle for Asgard can numb your brain at the same time as your thumbs.
Mar 25, 2008