Iron Tides Review
Gameplay - 80%
Story - 75%
Graphics - 86%
Sound - 78%
Value - 80%
Iron Tides is a worthy Vikings-based game full of strategy, battles, and challenge.
The time of Vikings is held as one of the most interesting periods out there. Mainly because the Vikings themselves have been shrouded in wonder and mythology to this day. Through this, we’ve gotten many different forms of media about Vikings. Movies, TV shows, and yes, video games. When it comes to Iron Tides, it takes the core values of what made Vikings so fierce some, but adds great strategy and RPG elements to it to make it a game that’ll test you.
The land of Iron Tides is one you would expect from a Viking culture. It’s a series of islands that you need to sail to and from in order to raid, battle, get supplies and more. The story of which is that the Viking culture was once strong and dominated the lands, but now, after generations of being soft, the gods themselves decided to right the ship as it were. The Vikings who survived had to rebuild, and that they did, but now, a new threat is coming, and you need to lead a band of Vikings to take them head on.
What’s interesting about Iron Tides is how well it blends in many different genres. For example, battles have to be found, then approached, as you will sail the seas with your crew on missions that range from fighting off pirates, to finding lost people, to seeing what else is beyond the waters. Shipwrecks, dungeons, ruins, and more await you, and in doing so you can receive money and glory, which is how you buy upgrades. But, you need to take care of your crew as well, for as you travel, they lose Stamina. You’ll need to keep them feed so that they can continue.
You fight battles when you want, and that’s very appealing. What’s more, just like a true army, you have different kinds of soldiers that you can get to fight your battles, and each have their own very special set of skills. Some, like the Berserker and the Vanguard are perfect for close range combat. While others like the Hunter are long range. You have a Valkyrie who can go long distances with a single leap and surprise enemies, and some who can heal your party. You have to choose the right party for the right battle, and every battle is different.
But, in a fun twist, if your character dies, they’re gone. Now you can recruit new characters of the same class, but they won’t be an exact match to the one you had before. Plus, you have to get them to fight to level them up and build up their skills. Which is a good segway to the numerous abilities characters have in Iron Tides. Each one is perfectly fitted for their character, and as such, you need to use these abilities wisely to win the day. Plus, they require Fury to use, just like regular attacks, so if you choose poorly, your character will be exposed and could potentially die.
Battles are intense, but because they’re turn-based, there’s a lot of strategy going on. Many times you are outnumbered, and you have to use your skills and Fury wisely else die a painful death. The A.I. is actually really good, and almost all battles felt like a true challenge, and the variety of foes you face will keep you on your toes.
When you’re not battling various foes, you’ll be able to return to your home of Norhaven. It is here that you can upgrade your ship, your crew, your capabilities, and of course, recruit new warriors, which you’ll likely have to do a lot depending on how you battle.
The graphics for the game are solid. And as you explore different areas with your ship you’ll see the world rise and fall before you. You’ll always get indicators about who and what is ahead of you, so you’ll never truly caught off guard, which is nice. The battles are cartoony but bloody. I mean that literally. The animations and attacks are crisp, and really makes you feel like you’re getting attacked by these beings.
All that being said, there are some faults here. Primary among them is that at times it’s very unfair just how outnumbered you are. After all, you can’t tell who or what is going to be on the battlefield, so you can prepare for a up-close-and-personal battle, then find out there’s bombers, gun-wielders, and archers waiting for you, and you’ll likely be screwed, or at the very least lose a few of your men and women. What’s more, the game seems to randomly determine at times how many of your crew are allowed to fight, instead of allowing you the use of all your crew. At one point I fought in many battles with my 4-person crew, then I went to a battle and only had use of three, while my foes were numbered in six. That doesn’t seem very fair.
What’s more, if you have an expanded party (via upgrades in town) and then one of your crew members die, they don’t become active until the next battle. It would’ve been nice to call in reinforcements, especially during some boss battles.
Also, at times the mere act of setting up your party is annoying. For you can’t just swap positioning of characters, you have to select a character, place them on the spot you want, then click on the character that was there and put them in another spot. If you click wrong? You have to spend a little time placing all your characters back in the places you want.
The audio is a mixed bag. On one hand, the background music, sound effects of the weapons and attacks, and ambient noises of the world are tight. But the grunts and screams of the Vikings and enemies can get very repetitive and annoying at times.
Finally, the enemy units seem to advance quickly in their armaments, while the Vikings are somewhat limited to more medieval weapons. I.E your foes have bombs and guns. Yours don’t. This can make early levels quite harrowing, and the loss of life high, which will make you have to replay levels in order to level up your crew again for toughter fights.
In the end though, Iron Tides is a very solid game that mixes a lot of genres with mostly positive results. If you’re looking for a new pirate adventure, this is one you’ll appreciate.