Jotun PC Review
Boss Battles to remember
Weird difficulty curve
Norse mythology has always had the elements and stories that seem to be perfect for making a good video game. Action, adventure, epic battles, gods, and stories of redemption are what make up a lot of these tales, and all of them can be found in Jotun. The title itself describes the elemental beasts that you, Thora, must fight to redeem yourself in the eyes of the gods to earn your place in Valhalla.
It’s a terrific start to a game, because it’s not some trinket like lost treasure, it’s not even some loved one that’s been captured by the bad guy, it’s your immortal soul at stake here and as the player you can’t let Thora down. An immediate caring about the character develops as you learn more about her through small snippets of audio between the battles. Also, having a female protagonist in a Norse tale is fairly rare so it’s a nice change of pace to an action adventure title like this.
Check out my live stream of this game here:
Not since God of War have I seen a more epic scale of a game, making the player feel small and insignificant when faced with such tremendous odds against them. While the pantheon has changed, both games have the scope and vision down to express how vast their lands are and how big the boss battles can be. Jotun has taken a gutsy chance here though, and opted for hand drawn animation for a lot of its environment and especially the bosses themselves. There’s something special to see that great animation from the titanic elementals as you attack their heels and feet.
Jotun is obviously based on Norse mythology, but it’s a wonderland of references and homages to all those stories from the lore. This is made all the better by having actual Icelandic voice acting and subtitles throughout the game and really brings the atmosphere to another level. The grand music for every level adds so much to the feel of the game, making even the less exciting moments feel like you are in the game.
While the artistic nature of Jotun is definitely to be praised, it also has some drawbacks. The gameplay can be slow and sometimes tedious, but I think this is to let you enjoy the great scenery, which does seem to work. Thora herself is also kind of slow, making the trek through the level to explore even slower, which does take away from the immersion. The emphasis is definitely on the boss battles here, which are very fun but have a strange difficulty curve in that they are fairly easy until the last two which jump up to very difficult out of nowhere. Also, in my play through I did have several times where I had game crashes and several graphical glitches, so it seems that they still have a way to go on patching.
Though there may have been some problems along the way, I absolutely loved being able to play a warrior in the world of the Norse tales, and to fight the gods I always read about. The only real problems is that it’s fairly short with only 5 Jotuns to fight, and 9 levels total, so it’s a bittersweet moment when you’re done, and you want to continue. So, in the end if you’re a total Norse nerd like me, or you like the artistic style, then this is an easy buy and something to admire even when you’re not playing.