Overall Score | 7.9/10 – An Amazing Experience, But Flawed Game: BY ERIK PILLAR
Jotun is a game all about the atmosphere it expertly crafts, and that atmosphere is of Vikings and Norse mythology.
Plot and Character:
In Jotun you’ll be playing as Thora, a viking woman and leader pulled to depths of the sea and drowned – an inglorious death for a mighty warrior. Instead of waking up in Valhalla, you wake in a strange place of myth and legends, and the giant race of Jotun.
The general plot of the game is one of trials and battles against the Jotun. You’ll go up against five Jotun and will be forced to best them in battle, all to ‘Impress the Gods.’
The secondary plot, and one that is if anything more interesting, is of Thora herself and the past that lead her to the present. It’s a good mix of family drama with viking goodness, and was a nice addition to the plot.
Will you gain immortality as a warrior of renown in Valhalla by earning your place and undoing your ignoble death, or will you fail in your grand quest and sink back to the depths of the sea as a nameless and forgotten warrior? Your quest is clear, your goal certain, the outcome remains to you.
Mood and Atmosphere:
Where this game is its best is in the stage it sets. Everything from the music, the wonderful cell-shaded drawings of the world, to the incredibly immersive voice acting serves to draw you into a world of Vikings, Gods, and Jotun giants.
Each ‘level’ has two sections. I came to think of them as the ‘scenic’ path, and the ‘main path.’ Both ways are required to progress the game, but the more scenic way tended to be on the shorter side and more full of sprawling vistas and interesting bits of lore. The main path had plenty to marvel at as well, but was more of a full level that you had to slog through to reach your objective.
I really can’t put quite into words how amazing the developers did with crafting more than just a game, but a true experience. The voice acting in particular was to die for. The entire game is voices in Icelandic, giving the game a nice authentic feel, and told via subtitles.
This is where Jotun fails, and it fails pretty hard in my opinion. I enjoyed the game overall, and it was not bad per-say, but it could have been a whole lot better.
The movement felt clunky, even with a controller, and you are limited to two basic attacks – both of which are fairly slow and your heavy ability requires some rather annoying wind up. If you explore properly each level you will find some magic powers: healing, blocking, speed boost, damage boost, a ranged attack, and a distraction bomb type of move – but these skills are limited in their use and do not make up for the lack of other techniques.
Most annoyingly though is that a good fourth of the total game time can easily be shaved from the game had they included a warping back or short-cut system upon completing a level. Instead, after a long march through enemies and obstacles, you’re going to have turn right back around and go all the way back to the beginning. While the game remains beautiful the entire way through, I was more than a little irked that the developers felt the need to force me to waste time with so much needless travel.
I’m torn on this one – one one hand, the atmosphere the creators deliver in Jotun is well worth seeing. The game is beautiful, the voicing is wonderful, and the drawn graphics are expertly implemented.
As a game though, Jotun is lacking. Don’t go into this expecting the most thrilling of rides. Jotun is more of a ‘sit back and experience it’ sort of game.
If you’re in the mood for something different, give this game a go – if you’re looking only for a great action puzzle game, there are better options out there for your time and money.
Jotun was developed by Thunder Lotus Games and released on PC in 2015, and the following systems in 2016: Wii U, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
BUY INFO: Pick this game up on the cheap at 50% off this holiday season over on Steam for a cost of $7.49 until January 16, or $14.99 once the sale has ended.