Fimbul; meaning “great” or “big” in Norse is an action adventure title that attempts to bring viking and Norse mythology to life in game form. With another huge title in this field, God of War, they have a lot to live up to, so can this small team get close?
The story is brought to you in a well-drawn comic book style. Word bubbles appear but there is no narration. The set up is great, and almost has a Shakespearean introduction of three witch-like creatures who all but mirror those from Macbeth; fore-telling the story of the lead character. After doing some research I discovered that these were ‘Norns’; female beings who rule the destiny of gods and men.
You play as Kveldulver, who is almost instantly murdered and then revived by the Norns in order to fight the Jotun and prevent Ragnarok. Most of the story is conveyed through the comic book cutscenes which again are great and even offer sections where you can make the choice to kill or spare a combatant.
However, this is where the game takes a downward turn. It is full of bugs and jarring cuts to the comic scenes as well as choppy animation and not only can you get stuck in scenery, so does the camera! For my entire playthrough the game was quiet with a sombre and forgettable soundtrack. Even the enemies made no noise when attacking. But when I played the game a second time, the war-cries of the enemy was present, but now the sound track had disappeared.
Combat is OK, but it lacks precision and urgency and ends up feeling like a button masher. Animation takes priority and you can’t instantly block. There isn’t a dodge button to speak of, so you can end up losing a lot of health quickly. The bad hit boxes, especially in the giant boss fights means you will take damage when you really shouldn’t and it does get frustrating. Also once you have figured out the trick to the boss battles, they are no longer challenging.
A ‘combo bar’ is one of the main features in the game, it opens up special moves. You start off with 5, 10, 20 and so on and each one opens up a new ability; from attacks to the power to heal yourself, which comes in very handy in the latter half of the game.
Visually the game is very plain, the art style is reminiscent of ICO, but only just. It is not going to blow you away, but what it will do is make you question why the frame rate is horrendous when there are more than two large enemies on screen at once. I am not exaggerating when I say it dips into single figures and I am playing on the PS4 Pro. Simply unacceptable.
Thankfully the story will keep you going and an easy platinum in around 4 hours may be enough for some to buy this game. It has good ideas and features, but not a single one, bar the comics seem to have enough finesse to make it special or even average. Wait for this to come to PlayStation Plus.
- Replay Value