Video Game Review: Northgard
Northgard, developed by Shiro Games, is a strategy game built on Norse mythology. Of course, said mythology is oft-filled with inaccuracies, due to how much of it has been pieced together through texts, before being adapted to various modern video game and film ventures. Northgard now brings the Vikings to a finely tuned strategy game, but will you fight or fall to the harshness of the land, or will the cold of the winter be your undoing?
|Platforms||PC (Windows, iOS, Linux)|
||March 2018 (Was in Early Access in 2017)|
The story is somewhat basic – You play as a leader who is looking to become the King of Northgard, seeking revenge against though who did you and your people harm. You are introduced to a variety of clans who will assist you throughout the game, so you can take back Northgard. The story is simple, but it’s a great way to understand how the game is played and hey, for a little story to accompany a small campaign to get players into the meat of the gameplay, it’s alright!
Right, let’s get into the real review now.
Northgard is a true strategy game. You start off with a few Villagers and your leader, as well as a single plot of land. You must build buildings that will help you grow your clan and the influence you have on the area. Along with that, you will be overcoming the odds, fighting against all sorts of creatures. Therefore, you need to think about the resources you and your people will need, along with how to defend and expand your clans territory.
You have a number of resources to consider: Food, Krones (currency), Wood, Stone and Iron. Along with this, you have a finite number of people you can bring to your village, which requires you to have enough places for them to live, as well as happiness. You also have Fame to obtain, by expanding your territory, going on raids and killing enemies. There is also Lore, which acts as the games talent tree system. For all of these resources, there are different units and buildings which assist.
You usually start off wanting to build a Woodcutter’s Lodge, along with a Scout Camp. These will allow you to train one of your Villagers into a Woodcutter or Scout respectively. Scouts allow you to uncover more areas of the map, along with having the ability to search abandoned buildings, ruins and more. Your Woodcutters meanwhile – Well, they just wander in the territory they’re assigned to and cuts down wood.
You’ll then want to build houses to bring up the amount of Villagers you can have. The Villagers collect food, allowing you to spend the food to expand into more territories on the map. The more territories you have, the more food it costs to expand further, so be careful. Food is required for upkeep for your clan, however you’ll also use food to hold a Feast, which can boost the happiness and productivity of your people.
The goal of the campaign is simply to follow the objectives and play through the story, however that’s not the main crux of the game. In fact, there are different modes depending on what sort of experience you want. There are single player maps, multiplayer maps and more. There’s a good amount of content to keep you busy, so you’re not buying a small game, although the campaign isn’t exceptionally long.
Strategy games are hard to come up with a good graphics scheme for, but Northgard nails it. It manages to blend Norse mythology quite nicely with strategy, such as when the game introduces you to Draugr and Valkyrie. The game has nice models for each type of unit in the game, so it’s definitely a welcome sight. As ever though, we think that seeing is believing, so check out our gallery below:
This is my only real negative… Now hold on, don’t get upset with me about this one. The audio was actually really nice. It was good music, but the problem was that it felt like a never-ending short loop, especially the first track (see above).
You’ll see in that video that there are only 4 songs, which actually really shows after a short amount of time playing. I’m really into completing games as thoroughly as I can, so when push comes to shove and I’m listening to just 4 tracks over and over – It gets quite monotonous. The actual music quality and the theme of the music is spot on, but the fact that it’s just four short-enough tracks was a bit disappointing to me.
Perhaps I’m expecting too much?
Liberating Norse people from an evil villain? Check!
Killing wolves, Draugr, bears, Valkyrie and more? Check!
Having a damn good time? Check!
Yes, all in all, I’ve really enjoyed my time playing Northgard. It’s a well thought out and, dare I say, semi-educational game with regards to the culture. There are a few titbits of information shoved in the game, which feels nicely on theme. All in all, it’s a lot of fun, a solid strategy adventure and hey – I like the premise. It reminds me of a more modern Populous, which is a huge bonus for me! Great effort by the developers.
As ever, we’ll now go over to you. Have you played Northgard? Do you know much about Norse mythology? Are you intrigued by strategy games? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.