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YSB Expeditions: Viking if you like isometric RPGs

I have picked Expeditions: Viking on Steam sale last week and, having just beaten the game, I can tell you it's an absolute steal at its current price. As a matter of fact, I liked the game so much that I decided to write this review as I think it deserves more attention than it gets.

STORY

Game's story begins in the late 9th century. Your father's raiding party have just returned from British isles. However, instead of expected riches they found failure, with half the party, including your father getting killed.

Having inherited thegn's title from your father, you quickly realise you are in one hell of a mess. It turns out that your predecessor was a pretty bad ruler. Your clan has been weakend by his constant raiding expeditions and you end up having to deal with both opposition within your clan and with neighbouring thegns looking to take over your lands.

Overall, I really liked the story. It is not revolutionary, however the game manages to build a really nice atmosphere that really engages you, at least that is what happened to me. I also liked that producers did not take an easy way out which would be creating another "stop the ragnarok" bullshit.

GAMEPLAY

Expeditions: Viking is a turn-based isometric RPG. In many ways it is quite similar to Pillars of Eternity, especially when it comes to world exploration. You have the same approach of having various points on a world map you can go to. Much like in PoE, getting from one point to another takes a specified amount of time and you can get various random events take place on the way. Once you get to your destination, you can freely move within the specified location.

Another similarity with PoE is a building mechanism. While in Pillars you have had a ruined castle to rebuild, in E:V you have your home town. As already mentioned, your father was far from a good ruler so there is a lot that needs to be done.

When it comes to combat, as already mentioned it is turn-based. The turns themselves are simultaneous, i.e. you can move and take actions for your entire party within your turn. Each character can move the set number of hexes within its turn and make one attack action. If one of your party members has their HP go down to 0, they become incapacitated and the longer the fight continues from that point, the bigger chances of them suffering injury.

Now injuries get us to another part of gameplay – camping. As you travel across the map, your team members get tired and hungry, suffering some substantial debuffs. You can remove them as well as treat any injuries by using one of the campsites on a map. When starting a camp, you can assign various tasks to your team members. To be honest, treating injuries in a camp took some getting used to for me but once you get familiar with a mechanism it is not that bad.

SOUND AND GRAPHICS

E:V is an indie game and I would say you can see it. Don't get me wrong, this is not an ugly game but you shouldn't expect AAA quality.

When it comes to audio, I actually liked the soundtrack even though it was just a couple of melodies. As for dialogues, they are not fully voiced but that is actually pretty standard in this kind of games. Isometric RPGs have always required some reading after all.

SUMMARY

What I liked about the game:

  • Atmosphere
  • Combat mechanics
  • Story that managed to avoid typical cliches of Viking games
  • Given how your choices affect the events in the game, there seem to be some replayability possibilities

What I think could have been done better:

  • Camping mechanism takes some getting used to
  • I actually believe there could have easily been one more act squeezed into the game before its ending

Overall, this game made me drop Titanfall and AC Odyssey for a while and I do not regret a single minute from over 45 hours that it took me to beat E:V.

Source: reddit.com

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