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Video Game / Viking: Battle for Asgard

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Viking: Battle for Asgard is an Action-Adventure and Hack and Slash hybrid, developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega in 2008 for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Four years later, it was also ported to PC, and is now on Steam.

It puts you in the shoes of Skarin, a Badass Viking. Having died protecting his village he is given a second chance at life and another chance to earn his place in Valhalla by Freya. Skarin accepts and starts his quest to defeat Hel and her campaign to conquer Midgard and Asgard.

Narrated by BRIAN BLESSED! who gives an unsurprising performance stacked to the brim with Large Ham.

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Commands: Fits for a game that is basically God of War IN NORSE MYTHOLOGY! note 
  • Agony of the Feet: Killing a giant features Action Commands which include Skarin hitting it in the heel.
  • Arrows on Fire: There don't seem to be any arrows that aren't on fire, espicially in Hel's Army.
  • Back Stab: When you are sneaking, the closest unaware enemy can be attacked through an action command which performs an undodgeable and gory One-Hit Kill attack.
  • Badass Normal: Every single member of your army is one of these, that is what happens when you recruit Vikings.
  • Beef Gate: Major locations, and some wilderness areas, need to be cleared of large enemies through staged ambushes or sieges in game's plot, or being spotted by them leads to painful death pretty quickly.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Freya. Inverted with her Face–Heel Turn.
  • Clean Cut: Finish moves and backstab attacks show Skarin cutting limbs, backs, or necks as if they were made of butter.
  • Combat Stilettos: Hel and Freya sports a pair of these.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Hel's Army didn't have too much real competition before Freya buffs up Skarin into her champion.
  • Death from Above: During the mass battles, you can summon a dragon to destroy all the enemies on a specific area. It requires runes, which are looted on shamans (that you killed yourself unstead of burning them with a dragon strike) and champions.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: When he dies, Skarin only loses his rage charges and his mana meter. Dying during an assault on a standard mission resets the place, but dying during a mass battle just moves back you to the shaman, while the battle continues. In some instance, getting back to a questgiver after completing a quest is quicker if you commit suicide (by jumping in the sea or down of a high enough cliff) than if you walk out of the area on your feet.
  • Derelict Graveyard: On the second island, one of the Viking clans that you must find is hidden on a hill, among dozens of abandoned standing longships.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Skarin has definitely earned the right to answer yes to this question. Especially since he single-handedly killed a god, and the Queen of the Underworld at that.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Quite literally in this case, as it turns out. Skarin plays Mook to Freya and does her dirty work for her in exchange for a second chance at Valhalla. She violates her promise and Skarin reponds by unleashing Fenrir, a giant fucking wolf, that kills the gods.
  • The Dragon: Rakan is Hel's and you serve this role for Freya.
  • Deuteragonist: Freya is this to the player's protagonist.
  • Dual Wielding: Done with a variant, Skarin wields a sword and an axe. Rather plausible when you consider he usually uses the sword to deflect an enemy attack and use his axe to beheard them before they can recover.
  • Elemental Powers: Runes can be applied to Skarin's weaponry, causing elemental damage for a period of time.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Skarin is a Viking warrior who gained immortality from a Norse goddess.
  • First-Episode Resurrection: Skarin gets one of these at the beginning of the game when he agrees to help Freya defeat Hel and regain his chance to enter Valhalla.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: After you kill Hel, Skarin is pissed off by Freya refusing to free him so he can earn entrance into Valhalla. So he invokes this trope, except it's more of the extremely uncomfortable variety, since he unleashes Fenrir, who kills the Gods thus bringing about the Norse version of the Apocalypse.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Freya, initially she is portrayed as being in a very difficult position since the Gods aren't permitted to kill each other and must ask a mortal to do her work for her. She initially gives you a quite fair offer of a second chance to enter Valhalla if you stop Hel from taking over the world. She then stabs you in the back once you do this once she realizes the advantages of having a warrior at her beck and call that must follow her lest he be cast to Viking hell. It doesn't end well for her.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning
  • Foreshadowing: As early as the first boss battle with Drakan, it is clear that Freya doesn't treat her champions very well and that a Face–Heel Turn is certain.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Averted- the soldiers you bring into battle will die as easily as the mooks they face, making Skarin's need to kill major targets like Shaman much greater, to keep the battle in the Viking's favor.
  • God Is Evil: After Skarin defeats Hel he asks Freya to release him from her service so he may get his chance to enter Valhalla. Freya refuses, despite the fact that he just kicked the ass of the Queen of the Underworld at her bidding.
  • Gorn: The game is very violent and gory, especially thanks to messy finishing moves. You'll be hacking through necks, cutting arms, and bissecting legion mooks as if they were no tomorrow.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Backstab attacks and some finishing moves consist in Skarin bissecting an enemy in two with a powerful two-weapons strike aimed in the stomach area.
  • Heroic Mime: Skarin doesn't have much to say, but NPCs usually react as if they were responding to (unheard) lines from him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Freya would have probably lived and managed to avoid screwing over the entire pantheon if she had just lived up to her promise to free Skarin so he could earn entry into Valhalla.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Skarin's battle strategies are mostly "charge enemies with lots of vikings". Which is rather funny because the game, like it's predecessor Spartan: Total Warrior was developed by British studio The Creative Assembly, whose other, main product is the Total War series—games which are known for their tactical depth and military and historical realism (not to mention the turn-based strategy part). Absolutely all of which is lacking in both Spartan and Viking.
  • Homage: The last battle against Hel is played very much like a more properly mounted assault on Mordor.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Averted, unlike so many other games in the genre—Skarin simply leaps over top of them without pause.
  • Legions of Hell: Literally. The enemy faction is known as the Legion, and they're in the service of the goddess Hel.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Rakan, who fell in love with Freya and made a pass at her. Not the greatest of ideas as "the hearts of men are fragile and not meant to touch the divine". Long story short, Freya rejects him and sends him packing. Hel's champion and leader of her armies who is now quite bestial in nature.
  • Million Mook March: The main menu background shows an infinite army of Legion mooks advancing on a bridge in the middle of a ruined city.
  • A Mythology Is True: Norse Mythology, to be precise, see the page for more details.
  • Mook: You, to Freya.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Hel and Freya. Both are goddesses with revealing outfits.
  • Off with His Head!: The combos in this game tend to leave every enemy in Skarin's way missing a number of body parts, and a lot of finisher takes performs a decapitation at some point.
  • One-Man Army: Skarin easily qualifies.
  • One-Winged Angel: Hel pulls one of these in your final fight with her.
  • Only in It for the Money: One of the Vikings' army that you can recruit is a band of mercenaries. When you start the quest to gain their support, their leader invokes this as the reason why they will join you. The quest to recruit them requires to ambush an enemy convoy, then bring them back the chest that the Legion was moving.
  • Only Six Faces: There are less than a dozen of predetermined models for the Vikings allies. Even the questgivers and merchants are identical to the other ones.
  • "Open!" Says Me: Skarin will kick in every door, gate, or anything like them to open them regardless of if he just unlocked them with a key.
  • Notice This: Items that can be picked up (mead barrels, bags of gold) or interacted with (urns, chests, locks - if you have the key, etc) are surrounded by a golden glow. NPCs who can be talked with have a "!" floating above their head.
  • Personal Space Invader: The Assassins will leap onto your head and start stabbing at your back until you can pull them off.
  • Physical God: Because it's kind of hard to kill them otherwise.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: These are Vikings we're talking about...
  • Resurrective Immortality: Each time Skarin dies, he respawns in his base (or next to the shaman during the battles), while retaining all his inventory and the progress of his liberation of the area.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Money is earned for shattering random urns throughout the world.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Rakan goes on one when he is spurned by Freya. Skarin gets one too, when Freya refuses to release Skarin from service he goes on one of these. What does he do you ask? He brings about The End of the World as We Know It! He unleashes Fenrir and Fenrir's subsequent rampage kills the Gods allowing men to choose their own paths. Fenrir counts too given what he does once he's released from his chains. Come to think of it, this game is just one long case of these to the point where they just start colliding with each other.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Drakan's armour is full of them.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: See above, though only a few missions really require nothing but stealth, and there's some breathing room for errors.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Water doesn't kill Skarin immediately, but standing with water above your face drains you health so fast that you'll die in a dozen of seconds unless you leave the water immediately. Played straight if you dive in a deep enough water body.
  • The Undead: Hel's army is solely made of these.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Skarin wears parts of armor, but is still mostly topless the entire game. Many of Hel's soldiers follow this fashion style too.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Hel mentions that she wants to control Midgard so that she can create her own world where all men are treated as equals. She just happens to go about making this possible by destroying and corrupting everything with an army of undead.
  • Warrior Heaven: Naturally, for a game about Norse Mythology, this is mentioned.
  • Zerg Rush: Attempting to bypass a Beef Gate is...not recommended. This also seems to be Hel's go-to tactic on the battlefield. It's also Skarin's, really the only other tactics you see him using are ambushes.