Expeditions Viking


#5

Looks very interesting. I watched about an hour of a Let’s Play, and it reminds me of Conquistador in that it is the kind of RPG that has a story and thus is, to a significant extent, on rails. But this allows for interesting dialogue and battles.

If I remember Conquistadors correctly, though, you had no choice in character creation, just in which pre-made characters you used. This one does allow for creating very different kinds of characters. To be honest, though, the sense of being on rails bothered me with Conquistadors, so I’ll probably wait and see what others are reporting back on this.


#6

I’ve only played the early parts, but so far, it looks a lot more Baldur’s Gate and a lot less X-Com. Conquistadors seemed the other way around. I’m losing interest pretty quickly, because frankly, I don’t care that much about Main Character McProtagonist’s Viking clan intrigue. I just want to loot and pillage.

-Tom


#7

@tomchick When you say Baldur’s Gate, you don’t mean they went to real-time combat, do you?


#8

Combat is still turn based, The game is more story driven like Baldur’s Gate.


#9

Enjoying it so far (just made it to the second campaign) though I’m still finding a number of the systems (resource, world map travel, camping, morale) a little baffling. I’ve spent the first ten hours being a dutiful RPG gatherer, cracking every single barrel and box I pass even though I still have only the haziest idea why it matters that I’d gained 2 more units of grease or hides or honey. I’ve run into plenty of vendors but generally have no idea what to trade with them or why, especially since I seem to be piling up plenty of everything on my own except thralls, who are scarce and important for upgrading your settlement. Speaking of which, I guess you’re supposed to be steadily upgrading your settlement, though again there’s no real sense of what to prioritize or why. I generally pick upgrades at random just to keep the thralls occupied.

While camping on the world map, I auto-assigned duties at first before realizing the game does a pretty lousy job of assigning them (I starved my group a number of times). I’m only now beginning to grasp the duties you should be assigning your party members when you camp and what skills you should be upgrading to make their camp labor actually matter. I still don’t get the party morale system and how your choices affect it. I’m still not 100% on when (and why) you should camp instead of heading directly to your next objective. Heading directly seems to subtract less time from the timers so I’m increasingly doing that.

The combat and character upgrade systems seem better thought out than the other systems. It’s actually fun to figure out weird combat synergies between party members. (My healer, sword and board tank, and long axe guy have a wonderful little routine down of stone throw + shield hook + charging axe to the face that can take down the heaviest heavy). My only gripe is that the combat does get a little repetitive, especially the camp-clearing fights. And archery is a little OP. As soon as you have two reliable bowmen with quick shot you can do a ridiculous amount of damage before the enemy group even wakes up.

In terms of the larger narrative, I’ve gone roughly in the diplomatic / mercantile direction, though I think if I replayed I might actually go straight up murder and pillage, which (not surprisingly) is more fun than all the tedious negotiation.

If you’re on the fence I’d recommend it, though I will warn it requires a little patience and perseverance. (By the way, they might have patched this out, but there was a bug that set the default difficulty to insane. If you’re struggling early on, check that. I had a very unfortunate start in my first attempt).


#10

That’s what killed it for me. I assumed it was going to be like Seven Cities of Gold, but instead it’s got you running around doing quests for people. I didn’t feel like an explorer.

Maybe I’ll be more fair in judging this Viking game because I’m not going in with the wrong expectations. Or maybe I’ll just end up whining that Hammer of the Gods did it better.


#11

I spent a dozen hours with this one this weekend and it is really buggy and crashy. I suggest steering clear until there are clear signs these guys have fixed the game. As for the storyline/gameplay, it definitely flows like an Infinity Engine game which suits me just fine. Think more Icewind Dale without magic than Baldur’s Gate. The main characters are pretty well fleshed out and you get to custom build annother 4 or 5 characters just a couple of hours into the game. Equipment doesn’t grow on trees so you will learn to appreciate every weapon or armor drop. I’m guessing after you start raiding that tight flow of equipment may ease up a little.

My second issue is the graphics engine itself. 1. It has no mini-map, so I am constantly confused about which direction I am headed. 2. Battle in the woods is really busy. It would greatly benefit in a reduction in the amount of tree and shrubbery clutter. I find myself struggling to determine line of sight. It suffers from that problem of not being able to zoom out or in as much as you would like (zooming in stops just above the characters without slipping down into direct line of sight (like XCOM).

Overall though, I enjoyed my time except the crashes. The autosave seemed generous enough to alleviate some of that pain, however. I suspect they were feeling a bit rushed to meet the deadline. The first thing you notice in the game is that the “Credits” selection on the main menu does noting which tells me they saved that til last and were unable to finish the game.


#12

Tried it out on the newest patch and the game is still highly unstable. I’ve uninstalled it and now I’m fairly sure that I will never return to at as I’m reading that there is some sort of timer on the main quest that will “game over” your ass if you explore too much… which is how I’ve been playing it. I really wanted this game to scratch my Saxon Chronicles/Vikings TV Show itch. Thoroughly disappointing.


#13

Jeebus, that’s horrible, especially considering that a bunch of us expected something like Battle Bros where we can just faff about in the countryside. In theory, I don’t mind a game-over timer like the water purifier thing in Fallout, but in practice, something like that has to explicit from the get-go. I can’t imagine my nerdrage if a “game over” timer popped up on me without any warning.

-Tom


#14

This is my first post here after reading Tom’s reviews (I think he’s the only person who likes Imperialism II more than I do) and occasionally lurking on the forums for a few years.

Anyway, I’ve been considering picking this game up for a while now, but some of the stuff I’ve read here and elsewhere gives me pause. I liked (didn’t love) Conquistador. I disliked the more forced-narrative bits—the stuff on Hispaniola—but enjoyed it more once I got to Mexico and could roam freely. Which is to say I am more interested in a sandbox-type experience than a story-driven one. I found the combat to be more engrossing than most of the other tactical games on the market in that it had hexes, attacks of opportunity, and flanking (my trifecta), but still thought it got a repetitive toward the end—I don’t know why exactly, bad enemy and map design I guess. I also liked managing my party’s morale through the dialogue choices that would pop up. Most of all, I liked the setting. Few games take place in Mexico period, let alone central Mexico during Aztec domination. So that game had some novelty working in its favor that Vikings does not. Seven Cities of Gold was mentioned up thread which is also basically what I wanted Conquistador to be. It wasn’t, but I still got enough out of it to enjoy it for one-and-a-half playthroughs.

However, Vikings seems even further removed from the Seven Cities of Gold mold. I assume the combat is still solid (for a time, at least), but the stability issues and the more story-driven nature of it are turning me off. I saw that the developers removed the game timer so I wonder how much of a difference its absence makes. I’m also bummed that it does not seem that you can do any expeditions to Iceland, Greenland, or Canada. I’m more interested in the vikings as traders and explorers than pillagers I guess.

So, that said, what do you guys think? Is Vikings worth a purchase right now, is it a few patches away from being good, or is it fundamentally mediocre?

I should mention that I haven’t got around to XCOM 2 yet (just upgraded my PC and am waiting for it to go on sale) and I know that the new BattleTech game is a few months away too. It’s possible my turn-based tactical needs would be better served by waiting for them if this game is not quite good enough. I’m up to play all three this year, but only if Vikings is actually good.


#15

I would love to know if I’m wrong, but the early bits of Vikings I played implied that it’s tilting hard towards a directed narrative a la Baldur’s Gate instead of an open-world exploration like Conquistadors.

And, dude, if you haven’t played X-COM 2 yet, what are you doing faffing about in an Expeditions Vikings thread? You have one of the nonpareils of tactical combat RPGs yet to play!

-Tom


#16

That’s fair, especially since the original X-COM was a game I would still play a decade after release and I loved the Firaxis reboot as well. The one thing the Expedition series has going for it that XCOM—as great as it is—does not is the potential to make me feel like an explorer. I think what I really want is a modern and much-improved version of Uncharted Waters or something.


#17

Fuck yes.


#18

Despite what I said above about not going back, I reloaded. I loaded the game I had been playing and when I tried to exit the first building…crash…uninstalled again.


#19

I heard (not in this thread) the game is way too easy to win, currently. But I suppose the difficulty could get patched later? Or mods will fix it™?

Otherwise it is fine, if you like story driven RPGs.


#20

Thanks for the input guys. This looks like one of those games I pick up 2-3 years from now for $5 during a sale. Hopefully the developers have fixed the crashing issues by then.


#21

Just started this and I’m loving the writing. Conquistador is one of my favorite games and so far this looks like more of the same.

Oh man. Just found a quest about a man who’s had his puppy killed :(((. Let’s say that John Wicking will not rest until the culprit has been caught and dealt with. Campaign is officially on hold until that bastard dies.


#22

Damn this game is so good. I love how they improved the few things from Conquistadors (loot for example) that bothered me. And I know if it’s just me being an ESL but I find the writing in these two games head & shoulders above the rest. It says exactly what it needs to in very few words while still looking fancy, I don’t know how else to explain it better. It’s ‘efficient’, for lack of a better word. Not quite laconic though.


#23

This game is really cheap on GOG right now at $4.49.

Have the stability issues been fixed? Is the game still too easy to win?


#24

I played it a couple months ago, and never had any technical problems. I would have said it was medium-easy, although I cannot remember my difficulty setting. The tactical battles were fun, the overarching story grabbed me far less.