When I first witnessed the unforgiving nature of War of the Roses, I instantly got hooked. It looked like that kind of game which actually rewards you for taking your time to understand its brutal mechanics (brutal, as in a positive manner). Unfortunately, I never did get the chance to play it.
Now though, developer Fatshark is taking the franchise further, by introducing us to War of the Roses’ spiritual sequel, War of the Vikings. Today, me (Vlad Pintea) and Ryan Livingstone are here to tell you all you need to know about our WotV’s early access impressions.
NOTE Please consider that this is still the early alpha stage we’re talking about. Because of that, pretty much everything is subject to change, including – but not limited to – classes, maps, modes, and of course, bugs and glitches.
Vlad Pintea First of all, Ryan, what were your first impressions on War of the Vikings? Was this your first medieval close quarter combat game?
Ryan Livingstone Surprisingly War of the Vikings is actually my first medieval close quarter combat game. I never really focused much on this type of game, so I was a bit unsure of what to expect. I played between 2-3 hours, and while it was incredibly frustrating I actually really enjoyed it at the same time.
Out of the three class choices, Thane (one-handed sword and shield), Huscarl (big battle-axe) and the Hirdman (archer), I found myself predominantly using Thane. I found it a lot easier to use over the Huscarl and archer, although the battle-axe was devastating. I rarely used the archer, it was too difficult for me to use. Not so much the mechanics of it, it was really easy to use in that regard. It was more so actually hitting people when they charge and zigzag at you. It’s much like being a sniper in an online shooter – it’s a very difficult class to nail down. The Huscarl was too slow for my liking; I think I maybe killed 2 or 3 people with it by pure luck.
The one-handed sword and shield was much easier to kill people, although at times it seemed like my shield was non-existent. Many times I thought I had my shield faced perfectly for an attack, yet it still cut through even though the shield was there. It was very frustrating, but it didn’t happen every time. Some attacks the shield would work, others it wouldn’t which was weird. Did you encounter any problems like these with your fights? And how did you find the overall fighting mechanics?
Vlad Pintea Overall – as you’ve mentioned already – I found the game to be quite challenging. That said, striking one final blow, after which my enemy perishes to the ground is a very fulfilling moment for me, so the frustration was progressively lessened as I was learning the ins and outs of the game.
In War of the Vikings, timing is crucial, as you can’t keep the attack button pressed for more than three or four seconds and expect to deal maximum damage. Equally important is the blocking mechanic, though I’ve also encountered moments in which I would raise my shield in the direction of my enemy’s sword, only to be greeted by the end of his/her steel.
Another important factor which needs to be taken into consideration is the “friendly fire.” Missing an attack can potentially damage – or even kill – an ally. Teamwork is a necessary feature in WotV, so the more enemies and allies around you, the more chances are for you to kill your own buddies. It can get a bit chaotic.
My main gripe with Vikings actually comes from its main feature: attacking. Choosing from which direction to swing your sword/halberd will also move the camera, which can get more chaotic than fun. Other than that, the game’s pretty “clean.” I did encounter a few people clipping through the terrain, but only for about a second or two. Going forward, I must ask you about your thoughts on the visuals and the game’s soundtrack?
Ryan Livingstone I really enjoyed the visuals actually, and considering they are using Physx Nvidia it is no surprise it looks good. The light effects are quite beautiful when played on the Docks map, which blend together really well with the Viking styled buildings. It made for a pleasant visual experience in the midst of chaotic battles.
My favourite map was probably the forest, as it allowed for a more open battle. As you said, when your team mates and enemies are fighting so close, it makes it a bit easier having a more free area to fight. I probably killed my team mates over 10 times in the town map, but as annoying as that might be I actually liked the risk of killing your own team. It provides a much more chaotic battle. As for the character models, they don’t really vary much. Each class looks different from each other, but they don’t look different in each class.
The soundtrack is awesome. I really enjoyed the soundtrack in preparation for the battle, it makes you feel epic! It suits the game perfectly, and it gives it a really nice feel. There is no music in battle however, which is understandable. The only sounds in game you’ll hear are the crashing of steel on shields, the whistling of arrows as they go past your head (or into your head), and the grunts of the men dying. Overall the soundtrack has been put together well, it really adds to the tone of the game.
Vlad Pintea I mostly agree with everything you said, though I’m hoping animations are still a work-in-progress, and that they’ll get smoother. Other than that, yeah, the soundtrack is good, the regions are nicely detailed, and yes, Forest is a blast to play.
Oh, I forgot to mention a few other features. Though they’re nothing big, having the ability to heal yourself, mid-combat (leaving you completely exposed for 6 seconds, mind you), or also having a visual indicator which informs you of your opponent’s attack-direction are two great additions to the overall gameplay.
That said, I still have two small additional gripes with Vikings. For once, the stamina is not depleting when sprinting. If the developer is aiming for a more realistic approach to combat, then it should start dropping the moment you start running. Secondly, I believe that the camera is way too close to the character when doing anything but running. Any final thoughts, Ryan?
Ryan Livingstone My main issue is how over-powered the tackling ability seems to be. It takes a really long time to get back on your feet, probably a bit too long. It was frustrating watching my character slowly stand back up, and 99% of the time it often meant death. I also seemed to get tackled even though I was far away from an enemy player which was also very frustrating. I hope it gets toned down a bit, but if done right it will make it a very worthy addition.
Overall, with the community feedback and development adjustments, I can see this being a very enjoyable end-product. There is definitely lots of potential in this game, and I’ll be keeping a close eye on further developments.
So that’s pretty much it from us, guys! You can find War of the Vikings on Steam, and be sure to keep coming back, because as soon as a major update finds its way into the Viking’s war-grounds, we’ll be sure to let you know about it.
In addition to being a PC editor, Vlad Pintea is also a chief of news and reviews here at Analog Addiction, and sometimes he even speaks his own mind. You can contact him via e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, on Skype (vlad94pintea), Steam, Facebook, or Twitter. Have a good day, and remember: stay calm, and keep on gaming!