Battle the Norse Gods in Vikings: Wolves of Midgard

Winter Has Come.

Earlier this year, we got a first look at the upcoming Vikings: Wolves of Midgard from Kalypso Media. As an action-RPG title heavily inspired by Norse mythology, it certainly had a lot of material to pull from, as the mythos is immensely expansive and full of characters and creatures to encounter. With Gamescom 2016 a few weeks away, the publisher decided to give the press some hands-on time with its upcoming PC and console title, and this action-brawler pulls no punches in its depiction of the brutal and violent Nordic lands.

Set in the realm of Midgard—that's the mortal realm of Earth according to Norse mythology—you take on the role of the clan chief of Ulfung. With Ragnarok approaching, a period of great winter and unrest known as Fimbulwinter has stricken the land. And as the Gods and other monsters of Norse mythology wage war across all realms of Earth, you must keep your village safe from the threats that await. As one of the legendary Wolves of Midgard, you will acquire power and band together allies and other heroes to rebuild your village and do battle with the very Gods themselves.

In similar style to action-RPG games like Diablo and Torchlight, Wolves of Midgard tasks players to travel across several zones and stages as they increase in power, collect loot, and vanquish foes. As you collect resources, you'll be able to craft new items, in addition to strengthening the various shops and crafters you have in your village, which opens up new gear and abilities for your character. While there's only one character to choose from, with both male and female versions, you're given free rein on how you want to focus on their growth.

Unlike other loot-focused games, the core leveling system is a bit different. For one, your main character has no level system to adhere to. Instead, your growth is entirely dependent on the gear you acquire and abilities you strengthen. Initially, it felt very odd playing this sort of game without the constant feedback of knowing that my character was getting better and better while wiping out mobs of enemies, but after some time I got really into it. It sort of felt like you had to work a bit harder to boost your character's attributes, and finding new gear felt more exhilarating.

As you travel across the land, you'll come across many different locations and enemies to battle. But with Fimbulwinter in full swing, the weather is also out to the clan chief. As you're out in the wilderness, the cold temperature can have adverse effects on the character, affecting their attack speed, movement, and damage output. If your temperature gets too low, then your health will drain fairly quickly. Thankfully, there are many burning pyres scattered around the maps, which help keep you warm.

I was really into what I played in Vikings. While the changes and its approach feel a bit odd at first, especially for what most are familiar with in loot-focused RPG titles, I came around after some time with it. There's definitely a lot to see in Wolves of Midgard, and I'm awaiting it to show more of the goods when it launches early next year.