VALHALL Is an Upcoming Medieval, Norse Battle Royale Game with Melee Combat
This year has seen an exponential rise in the popularity of the battle royale genre, so much so that even big-name developers the likes of Treyarch and EA Dice took notice of the trend and decided to get with the times. While some may argue that the genre is beginning to lose its novelty courtesy of being over-represented of late, this flood of new BR titles may be a blessing in disguise. One just has to search through the noise to find the gems.
Speaking of gems, one upcoming battle royale title by indie developer promises to offer a fresh take on the genre with a deep melee combat system coupled with a dynamic world and new play-zone mechanic. Set in a medieval world filled with Vikings and Norse gods, VALHALL‘s multiplayer bouts follow the same format as other BR titles in that players are challenged to be the last ones standing while gathering weapons and armor, and moving to stay within the bounds of a shrinking map. The game sets itself apart from the competition in several exciting ways, however, some of which, with the right implementation, could prove to be an absolute treat.
The developers have been a tad cryptic with the specifics. In what follows, we go through what we do know in an effort to try and get a handle on the rest.
Swords & Bows over Guns
Beating at the game’s core is what the developers are calling a “deep, fun, skill-based melee combat system,” with a smattering of ranged bloodshed. The game world is riddled with swords, axes, shields, and bows for players to use in battle. The game’s early access description promises “full free control” over combat, with the trailer showing players blocking, parrying, shield-bashing, and kicking to dispatch their opponents in a style reminiscent of For Honor.
As for perspective, it seems players will be able to switch between first- and third-person views on the fly.
Winner Winner, Sword of Odin
50 players are thrust into the midst of the Norse apocalypse, all vying for the right to wield the Sword of Odin so they may tame the fury of Ragnarök – a “gravity field” eating away at the map, constantly pushing players to move toward safety. The official description is a tad cryptic, but to the extent of my understanding, the Sword of Odin is to VALHALL is a means to an end, with that end being the game’s version of a “Victory Royale” or “Chicken Dinner,” while the gravity field is the game’s Blue Zone or Toxic Gas, though it may not be all that simple.
The game’s play-zone mechanic seems to work quite differently, for instance. The aforementioned gravity storm, which decimates structures, causing debris to float upward, gradually moves toward a set location at the center of the map that houses the Sword of Odin – a battle arena rife with traps and other unpleasant surprises.
Gameplay videos show players wielding what seems to be the Sword of Odin, so it is likely that it is, much like the Infinity Gauntlet from Fortnite‘s popular Thanos-themed event, a super-powered tool to aid players in their quest for victory.
The map is divided into four regions, each with differing weather that changes with the passage of time. Each region has its own set of unique hurdles.
The game seems to feature a bare-bones parkour system. There’s vaulting over shorter obstacles, of course, but in addition to that, players can be seen jumping from roof to roof and shimmying along ledges.
Pimp Your Armor and Bless Your Weapons
You will be able to select acquired armor and weapon skins of choice from a loadout screen at the beginning of each match. Weapon skins also seem to include offerings with elemental effects, such as fire gleaned from the power of the Norse gods.
Work in Progress
The game is a work in progress currently headed toward early access. Apart from the aforementioned, the developers have several additional gameplay elements in the pipeline, such as horses and boats as modes of transport, more powered weapons such as Odin’s Sword, and new game modes, among other things.
VALHALL may not be the first or only melee battle royale, but it most surely is one of the more promising of the lot. Of course, it is too early to predict the final product’s quality at this point – it is an indie studio’s debut title, after all.
If you’d still rather not wait for the final release, you can sign up for a beta key or early access copy from the game’s Indiegogo page.
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