Valhalla Awaits Me – Jotun:Valhalla Edition Review (WiiU)

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For much of my life I have been fascinated with Norse Mythology. The Germanic pantheons had so many amazing stories and figures, from Jormungundr, the world serpent who is destined to kill Thor at Ragnarok, to the myths of Loki Scar-Lip. There is a sense of danger all throughout the surviving stories of Norse Mythology ( most were lost to time and its suspected that some prominent elements like Surtr may in fact have just been local additions in areas like Iceland) because it is all leading to Ragnarok, the battle at which the world will end and the gods will die. The myths are full of tragedy but also wonder and amazement, after all these myths gave us many prominent fantasy stock tropes such as elves and dwarves. I mention my love of Norse Mythology because it allowed me to truly appreciate Jotun: Valhalla Edition, as the game is steeped in the mythos. Jotun is about Thora, a warrior who died a dishonorable death and is thus barred from Valhalla, but is given a second chance to win her entry to the hall of the honored dead warriors. This begins her journey through the realms to prove her worthiness.

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I need to say this, Jotun is a beautiful game and this cannot be emphasized enough. The hand drawn animation is so breathtaking that when I first saw the opening scene of gameplay, I was utterly shocked at the site. A game should not be able to look like this but it does. The worlds are full of challenges but nothing too hard and you will be able to explore and get new abilities. In fact, exploring is something you will want to do, just to see more of the amazing animation style of the game. But more than that, exploring the worlds within Jotun shows just how much research was put into this game. The reason I called Loki, Loki Scar-Lip? That’s a lesser known myth of his mouth being sewn shut by dwarves, and the game references this and many other such myths. In fact some references can be even more obscure and this is part of the joy for me. To see a game that references the legends and lore of the Norsemen just makes me feel happy, especially when it was done with care and in a loving way. The developers at Thunder Lotus Games did a great job with that.

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The game does get tough at times though, more specifically when you encounter the  titular Jotun, the giants ( for lack of a better translation, since the Jotun were actually divine figures themselves and many of the gods married Jotun or had Jotun parentage. Thor was born to Odin by Jord, a Jotun who was the embodiment of the earth). These battles are tough as Hel (pun intended) and are definitely the high point of the game. The battles are so diverse and varied that to play them is to have a new experience each time. From the battle with Kaunan to the final battle of the game and the last obstacle ( which I wont spoil here), each battle gives you something different. While you play, the music sets the mood from both serene almost 9 during exploration at times) , to epic battle music ( when fighting the Jotun) and it brings you into the experience, I have seen the art be praised ( and rightfully so) but the music is excellent as well and also should be mentioned.

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So do I think you should buy this game? Haven’t you been paying attention to my review? Of course you should! This game is amazing and needs to be in every Wii U owner’s library. it is an epic game with an epic story. Just amazing.

 

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