Vikings & Video Games: Five Viking-Games Worth Taking To Valhalla
Generally when I sit down to write features like this I try to keep things as impartial as they can be. That said, I’m going to have to get a little opinionated here and say that I think viking are awesome. Not only that, but I would go so far as to say that basically anything these days can be improved with the addition of vikings. HBO’s True Blood has the viking-vampire Eric, George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire has the Iron Islanders and there’s hardly a fantasy RPG out there that doesn’t have its own spin on the Scandinavian raiders of the past.
Have I convinced you yet? Alright, I began this piece by touching on smaller viking-related inclusions but now lets continue this journey through Norse-mythology by taking a look at some of the best viking-themed video games out there.
The Banner Saga
The Banner Saga is a little Kickstarter gem that come out of nowhere earlier in the year to win over not only fans of vikings (and associated viking-related endeavors) but also fans of nail-bitingly turn-based strategy games. The Banner Saga tells the story of two bands of survivors – one predominantly human and the other predominantly giant – migrating and fighting their way across a fantasy land invaded by stone warriors called the Dredge.
As alluded to before, the game’s combat is top-notch and developer Stoic strikes a great balance between micro and macro elements when it comes to rewarding strategic players. On top of all that, the rich world of The Banner Saga is brought to life by great and dark writing and an incredibly well executed animated art-style.
Whether vikings are a big influence on your gaming-tastes or not, The Banner Saga is not to be missed (read our review).
All rhetoric aside, I’ve always had a soft spot for Silicon Knight’s cyber-viking RPG. While its definitely not a game without its flaws, I think it’s an interesting attempt at adapting the loot-hunting ARPG-antics of Diablo for consoles – not to mention a fascinating re-interpretation of Norse mythology.
Following the loss of their lawsuit against Epic Games in 2012, Silicon Knights was forced to recall and destroy all unsold copies of Too Human. That said, online venues like eBay are still a valid avenue for players looking for a cybertroll-slaying fix.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Yes, yes. I know. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is not *technically* a viking game in the game same sense as the rest of the list but given the quality of Bethesda’s massive dragon slayer/viking-simulator I think we can give them a pass on this one.
While the Nord-culture that permeates Skyrim is very visibly influenced by vikings, there’s no direct references to Norse mythology here – although the game’s big modding community could offer some easy fixes to that.
War of the Vikings
From the same that brought gamers War of the Roses during last year’s (bizarre) multiplayer-medieval-combat-simulator trend, War of the Vikings is a fun, brutal multiplayer romp where you play as or against invading vikings. There’s five playable classes from Shield Maidens to Berserkers and the usual slew of multiplayer gameplay modes.
War of the Vikings has an impressive player-cap of 64 and a modest multiplayer community. All up, it’s a steal for the (presumably) many gamers who until now have been deprived of multiplayer viking-sims.
Viking: Battle for Asgard
The oft-overlooked Viking: Battle of Asgard is another older gem that videogame vikings will definitely get a kick out of. Developed by Creative Assembly, I’d pitch Viking: Battle for Asgard as a blend of God of War, Dynasty Warriors and Brutal Legend. You play as Skarin, a champion of Freya, who must lead the fight against the armies of Hel.
You traverse a huge open world and complete smaller missions to gather a viking army to your cause before launching huge siege battles to retake cities from your otherworldly opponents. It’s a fantastic environment of viking-war on a massive small and despite its age, still worth a look.