Dead in Vinland - PC/Steam Review

Protect. Endure. Survive at all costs.

  • System: Steam
  • Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
  • Developer: Passtech Games
  • Release Date: April 10, 2018
  • Pricing:$19.99

Dead In Vinland - OFFICIAL RELEASE TRAILER


Who it Caters to

Our families are so important to us and play a major role in the growth and evolution of our lives. When tragic events take place, we often must work together to ensure that everyone maintains their sanity, but more so, has enough resources to stay alive. Nothing in life is ever truly certain and so, being constantly prepared for the worst is what truly defines someone of strength. At any moment, you could encounter an event that puts everyone’s life in danger and you’ll need to use quick decisive measures to ensure that you’ll make it to tomorrow. This brings us to our review for the day which is Dead in Vinland, a strategic survival management RPG where you’ll need to manage your resources carefully, while protecting your family and friends from the harsh environments that lie ahead. Anyone who enjoys a game where heavy decision making plays an integral role in the progression of the story will certainly fall in love with Dead in Vinland. French developer CCCP and Playdius have created a unique and enjoyable title that’s riveting in its story, rewarding players for making the right choices, and with over 70 non-linear quests to dive into, creates a challenging adventure where you truly get to know about each character.

What to Expect

Expect to be challenged in Dead in Vinland because there’s just so much to grasp and understand in just the early portions of the game. It does a splendid job of explaining to you what the overall premise of the adventure is, while allowing you to make mistakes in order to better adapt to what comes later in the game. It’s very deep and stimulating because it puts you in a real life scenario where, if say you had your own family to protect in a dire situation, how would you cope with it? Where will you gather your food from when rations grow scarce? Will there be enough water to keep everyone hydrated? Do you have the right tools to hunt for more meat or weapons to fend off enemy invasions on your property? All these questions constantly race through your mind because there’s really never a guarantee that things will end the way you intend them to. Learning how to assign specific members of the team to pick up tasks is something that will require a lot of time and thought, because while some characters seem fitting for the job, you also have to consider their health conditions. Will this person be capable enough to survive over the next few days feeling sick? Oh no their depression is rising incredibly quickly, can they cope with it for just a little while longer?
Dead in Vinland is all about building relationships, just as you would in any real life scenario and it encompasses a lot more down the road. There are three modes of difficulty to choose from, with the most arduous one being so incredibly hard that we just decided to go back to playing on normal. Now that you know what to expect with Dead in Vinland, let’s dive a little deeper into the gameplay, and provide details as to why this game is one to grab for your Steam library.

Gameplay

Main protagonist Eirik and his family are in the midst of a war and he along with them are exiled from home, and must now survive in a distant island far from civilization. Resources are few far and between so, you’ll be required to come up with a plan to make sure all your family members needs are met. As we stated previously, Dead in Vinland is all about survival management and coming up with ways to make sure you avoid death at all costs. Once one of your members dies from any sort of illness, whether it be depression or sickness from eating bad food, it’s game over. You’ll need to start over again and go over the mistakes that were previously made. The issue though is that you’re never always sure whether your decision will lead to a mistake or not, and so you’re always on your toes trying to figure out the best method of approach without overstepping the boundaries. Once all members have been assigned to their designated spots on the camp, it’s time to start building and creating a location that’s sustainable and gives each member a chance to level up their skills. Over the course of the game, you’ll run into other lost souls on the island and you’ll need to decide whether this person is worth trusting or not. It can be quite demanding sometimes because in the back of your mind, you’ll think that what you currently have is enough, so letting that person go may be of no risk. However sometime down the road, a dangerous encounter my suddenly render one of your crew members unable to fight, and now you wish you had recruited that one person just hours before. It’s that constant shift in gameplay flow that truly makes playing Dead in Vinland a riveting ordeal, because it really puts you in the driver’s seat and you have to use discretion at all times.

All battles you encounter are turn-based and reminded us of The Darkest Dungeon in a way, artistically speaking. Both games of course share that survival management mechanic and so, it really felt fluid while engaging with the enemy. Just like a regular task at hand, you have to always think one step ahead because one little slip up and it could end the life of a member of your team. Luckily, the indepth skill system in the game allows you to develop certain character traits that can really help to create advantages inside and outside of battle. For example, Eirik is generally really good at crafting and building, but over time you may want him to develop another skill to create a more well balanced character. In doing so, you allow characters to play multiple roles and not always have them situated in one area. This also helps in leveling characters up faster since the more they develop, the stronger they become. Making sure to build the right things such as a resting area to avoid fatigue is essential, but also other things like a bar are important since it allows characters to communicate with one another to decrease depression. So it’s not just about building up physical strength and your special abilities, but your character’s mental health always plays an integral role in long term progression.

When night falls and it’s time to rest for the next day, keeping track of all the numbers becomes real taxing. Dealing with multiple people is truly a challenging experience, especially when you have to feed yourself in the process. Giving too much of one thing to one person may often come back to haunt you because another one of your members may require attention, but because you sacrificed so much on the other, it puts you in a bind. So learning how to balance things out over time is what makes Dead in Vinland fun. You’ll learn more about each character the deeper you dive and come to see relationships flourish or suddenly fall apart. You can have up to 14 characters in your party and each will have a unique story and influence on other members.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

With all that being said, Dead in Vinland is a game that truly tests you every time and there’s never a shortage of new ideas to try out. Everything is randomized which means what once worked before for you may not work again against another adversary. This encourages players to always think outside of the box to create advantageous scenarios for themselves. It’s not just about jumping from point A to point B with the hopes that your plans will succeed, because point B may not even exist and so going back to rethink your approach becomes a game in of itself. We didn’t really feel like there were any significant flaws within the game other than the fact that the game can be unforgiving at times, and it becomes frustrating when things get out of hand. That doesn’t make the game bad by any means as the whole point of the game is to survive at all costs anyway. However we do feel like the extreme difficulty may be a bit much for some players and that may turn them off in some way or another. Be that as it may, Dead in Vinland is a truly exciting experience that we recommend anyone to play, whether you’re just starting out in the genre or are a seasoned veteran looking to test your survival skills.

Honey's Pros:

  • A plethora of camp upgrades (130 roughly) along with over 150 map locations to discover!
  • The game really tests your patience at times which encourages you to think appropriately when engaging in battle.
  • Constant stream of new things to do makes the game feel long and rewarding.
  • The non-linear approach to quests, and character building is also a treat.

Honey's Cons:

  • The progress felt a bit slow at times and some character relationships felt a little off.
  • The extreme difficulty is well...a little extreme and may turn some players off.

Honey's Final Verdict:

In the end, Dead in Vinland is an experience that perhaps many survival game specialists will jump right into, but with its RPG-like mechanics and robust story, the game felt compelling and challenging. There was never a time where the game felt boring, albeit a little slow at times in terms of story progression, though that can be forgiven once you start leveling up your characters and seeing your camp grow into something special. It’s by no means a perfect game but it certainly will provide you with a unique experience that only Dead in Vinland offers, and that’s an offer you don’t want to ignore.

As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!

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