Jotun Preview - Valhalla Awaits

Personally, I'm loving the resurgence of Viking video games. Viking history, Norse mythology, giant bearded berserkers destroyed monsters and men alike. What's not to love?

This is where Jotun steps in. Steeped in Norse myth, players take on the role of Thora, a recently deceased and disgraced Viking warrior. Her time among the land of the living ended ingloriously and she must face the Jotun in the afterlife to prove herself worthy of entering Valhalla. Jotun, for those curious, are giants from Jotunheim and usually mortal enemies of the Viking people. Some might recognize Jotunheim as the location of the Frost Giants from the Thor movies, which are based on the Jotun mythology.

Perhaps one of the most beautiful games of PAX in my opinion, Jotun is entirely created with hand-drawn animations. Thora looked extremely vivid against the equally amazing, frozen landscape. The size and scope of the gigantic Jotun I went up against was a little daunting – I felt like a small gnat annoying a massive beast capable of swatting me with ease. And swat me it did in a challenging and enjoyable fight. Armed with only my battle-axe, I felt completely insignificant up against this giant, taking small swipes at his feet and ankles when the opportunity presented itself. Eventually though, the creature's icy fury wiped me out without so much as a sweat. The controls during the fight were simple – one button for a quick attack, one button for a heavier attack, and then a rolling dodge button. It was scary to run what seemed like miles and only cover a few feet in comparison to the Jotun, which could cover the map in a single charge attack.

Jotun was described to us as an action-adventure title that is heavy on exploration. Norse purgatory is a massive landscape, full of Jotun that need slaying. Thora will find and earn additional abilities aside from her giant battle axe, including gifts from the gods. These gifts will help Thora in her quest to reach the afterlife, mostly by helping her survive against the deadly Jotun. Expect to explore a purgatory that is more than just a frozen wasteland; 5 different areas were mentioned as being in the game with their own sets of Jotun bosses. If they look as great as the icy tundra did, it will definitely be worth the time exploring and finding all of the nooks and crannies.

Jotun is expected to hit Steam this coming September with the potential for a future console release. It will be a full retail release (no Early Access), complete with full controller support.