Expeditions: Viking - PC Review

Expeditions: Viking brings together two of my favorite things - RPGs and strategy. The packages has a few flaws here and there, but it is easy to overlook them when the overall game is so much fun to play.

It seems Vikings have been a more popular topic over the last few years, from television shows to movies and even video games. There is a little bit of Banner Saga vibe here as you are tasked with leading your clan after your father passes away and you are forced into a situation your character may not be fully prepared for.

As the player, you are initially trust into a character creation screen, and while the options are not as deep and plentiful as some games, I rather enjoyed the way these decisions update your biography automatically to reflect these choices. It actually reminded me of something I did with Kingdoms of the Lost, a MUD I started up with my wife about two decades ago where your physical traits were woven into an automatically generated character description. Tiny thing, but it resonated with me right out of the gates.

Still, there is more to this than simply picking some stats and physical traits. In its own way, character creation serves as a foundation for what is to come. Just as your choices here help to build the character you will see through the adventure, you will also be making choices through this RPG game that helps to set the stage for what will come later as well. Do you steal for your people but make those around you distrust your clan even more? That short-term benefit for your tribe can have longer reaching impact on how others will view you, and could even lead to later skirmishes that cost you more lives than the food you stole initially saved.

As someone who has always gravitated towards decision-making and its impact on game events, these RPG aspects add a lot of replay value to a game that has only a single player campaign. However, if the core combat struggled to keep my interest, no amount of story would help. Thankfully there is a lot of variety in how the turn-based combat works. That variety is both a curse and a blessing, because the depth to be found here is interesting - but it also creates a somewhat high barrier of entry if you are unfamiliar with the other Expeditions title.

It does not help that the visuals are rather bland, with some nice overall environments such as villages or wooded lands, but within those types the variety is sorely lacking and rather repetitive. That means you will want to focus more on the story than the visuals. Clicking around and the actual job of doing things can be somewhat clunky in places, but combat is satisfying once you master the many nuances. Your party members will leverage a variety of weapons and skills for melee and ranged combat. While the environments are nothing special to look at, they do have an important role to play in how combat resolves. This makes for some interesting and often devious level design that keeps combat varied when it could have easily become monotonous in less skillful hands.

Additionally, the ability to upgrade your homestead and characters over time adds a fantastic sense of progression and a great incentive to fight and explore. It is a bit of a shame that there are some real combat balance issues and a handful of bugs that creep up now and again. None of them are deal killers, but they do take away from the otherwise solid momentum Expeditions: Viking could build up with longer game play sessions. Visually characters clip through items, loading can take forever and despite having a very solid machine, there were a couple of crashes along the way. It sounds as though the development team is aware of and planning to address these issues, and none of them ruined the experience for me, but they do hold Expeditions: Viking back from its full potential.

If like me, you are a fan of strategy/RPG hybrids, Expeditions: Viking provides a fun experience. A handful of technical issues aside, there is a great blend of tactical combat, a story that actually gives weight to your choices and a handful of progression systems that keep the carrot dangling effectively in front of you throughout the thirty to forty hour journey. 

Game Information

Logic Artists
Logic Artists
Single Player
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Article by Nick


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