Fimbul is a comic book style button bashing adventure which sees you play as a character whose name I can spell but not pronounce, Kveldulver.
In Fimbul, the basic purpose of your smashings is to prevent Ragnarök. For those of you unfamiliar with Norse Mythology (99.9% of us right?) Ragnarök was a foretelling of a huge battle that would result in the death of the Gods, Odin, Thor, Tÿr, Freyr, Loki and Heimdall more properly known as Heimdallr which would cause natural disasters on earth resulting in the land being submerged under the water.
Once the world resurfaces from beneath the waves it would be fresh and fertile, the surviving Gods would meet and then two human survivors would repopulate the entire planet.
Kveldulver intends to stop Ragnarök and whilst there is no mention of the inevitable incest it would bring about I like to think that someone has thought this through enough to have it at least be a motivation of his.
The game itself, or more its story, is told through a series of comic book pages that guide you through the somewhat confusing premise.
Graphically the game is beautiful. The pallet of the world is muted, white and greys with the odd fire here and there which contrasts greatly to the red and blue of Kveldulvers tunic and those of the enemies that you fight.
The view itself looks like you are watching on a piece of torn paper with the edges of the screen rough and uneven. Its a nice touch and one I
The animations are very good indeed and overall the aesthetic is cartoonish and brilliant. The troll characters look menacing and brutish whilst most other human enemies have similar looks the troll bosses are very different.
The story starts with you dying, which is an odd place to begin however, you are treated to what can only be described as a very boring half effort at a stealth section of the game. You see yourself as a boy escaping from a Troll cage and then using a torch and your wits to escape. I found that if I ran I could pretty much run through the entire level.
However, as this intro ends there is a twist that is obvious but not said so I will leave it for you to discover, you are then brought back to life so that you may prevent Ragnarök in the only way possible, by killing almost everything.
The combat in Fimbul works quite nicely, there is a pattern to attacking that flows from fight to fight and with so many enemies on you at once dodging blocking and rolling away whilst fighting is very easy to do, too easy in fact. In a battle with at least 7 other Vikings I was not hit once. I am a terrible game so perhaps this could be tweaked a little.
During a fight if you should happen to take damage you are able to use the special meter, once full, to place a banner that will heal you, that is until someone chops it in two. You could also use the ability to execute an enemy, it will either chop off an arm or head or even send their leg hurtling off screen so its well worth using.
I found the combat to be incredibly repetitive, bash the light attack button, roll away, finish with the heavy attack. I repeated this move set and was able to fully play through the game. The only time this changed was during the formulaic and dull boss battles. I switched this up by throwing a spear at the red circle that appeared on the enemy at certain points and then when they were knocked down I went at their genitals with my sword or axe. This was repeated over and over until they died.
As a whole Fimbul is a good game but I have some serious misgivings about the execution and implementation of some of its features. For example, the story is moved on through a comic book image appearing on screen, after the image is in place the speech bubbles appear but by the time you see it they are all there, the layout means you do not know which to read first so the story, whilst not hard to follow, isn’t easily accessible.
The fighting is simply an exercise patience, you will find yourself pressing the same button over and over, rolling at the right time and then pressing the same button over and over. This is not my idea of innovative or exciting gameplay.
Worse than the lack lustre fighting is the fact that even on my rig, I have a GTX980, 16GB of RAM and an i7 4790K, there are some serious slow downs when a lot is happening.
I was fighting a group of barbaric Vikings who follow Jotun and I thought the game was slowing down because I had done some amazing moves and it was giving me a Matrix style look at it. This proved not to be the case as the slow downs occurred when I was blocking or running to a better position. The strange this is, there wasn’t actually that much on screen and given that Fimbul is a stylish platform fighter there really should have been no performance issues at all.
The non linear story that was in nearly all the press releases I received appears to be a choice in who to kill and who to let live at certain points in the game. This appears to affect the final battle only and whilst you can go back and change your mind using the life chain (more on that in a moment) I didn’t feel as though my choices made much difference in the end.
The life chain is a great idea however, it allows you to revisit certain points in the story and to make a different decision, let someone live who you killed or vice versa.
The fighting would be made better if the controls didn’t feel so woolly. I played using a gamepad and felt that I wasn’t as in control as I would have liked and things weren’t as responsive as they should have been . The camera too was mildly irritating.
The view is dynamic which is to say that the cameras position, while mostly at the 45% mark can move around and there are times when this can be off putting. I was fighting a group of bandits in trees and when you go behind something instead of moving to keep you in sight an outline of you and what ever you are interacting with is shown instead.
I often found myself running on the spot up against a rock or tree whilst I waited for the camera to catch up so I could see what I was doing.
Fimbul is an interesting game. Graphically is beautiful if a little flawed (everyone has the same face or no face at all), the gameplay is great fun if a little flawed, the performance is generally good if a little flawed.
Fimbul is a good game that is a little flawd and whilst it will score reasonably well I think this is a hard game for me to recommend in its current format. Should the performance issues improve and the woolliness of the controls make a dramatic change then I would definitely change my opinion.
Fun but flawed
- Gameplay - 54%54%
- Graphics - 84%84%
- Sound - 75%75%
- Longevity - 52%52%
- Value - 65%65%
Fimbul is a fun game that has a few too many issues to recommend. If the frame rates and woolly feeling controls are fixed the game will score a lot higher.