Dead in Vinland – Review
Follow Genre: survival, RPG, adventure
Developer: CCCP
Publisher: Playdius, Plug In Digital
Platform: PC, Mac
Tested on: PC

Dead in Vinland – Review

Site Score
8.7
Good: Challenging, long, many stats and different gameplay elements
Bad: Plot moves slowly
User Score
10.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Dead in Vinland is a survival game with a Viking theme. The main focus is resource management, and there are a lot of stats to keep an eye on. It’s a very extensive and challenging game, which will take a long time to finish. This game has been developed by CCCP, and published by Playdius & Plug In Digital. This is the second installment in the Dead in.. series, the first game was called Dead in Bermuda.

Dead_in_Vinland_Logo

Story

The story is about a family of Vikings who have been exiled from their home, and have fled to sea in their boat. After weeks of drifting the seas, they arrive at a mysterious island, which seems uninhabited at first, but soon appears to have a cruel warlord extorting anyone who tries to make the island their home. As you start exploring you’ll discover many more people who have ended up on this island, and you’ll find the island harbors many secrets..

The story is shown at the beginning of the game in an animated sequence, and during dialogues between the day, or during the events which usually happen in the afternoon of a game day. At night the characters share the food and water, and talk to each other about what happened during the day, and about their thoughts and feelings or their backgrounds. In these character interactions you’ll be able to choose between conversation options, which can modify stats like depression or how much the characters like each other.

Dead in Vinland - screen 1

Graphics

Dead in Vinland’s graphics are cartoonish and look great! All characters are slightly animated in their standing or sitting position, and during dialogues the faces display the emotion fitting to the text. The backgrounds are very beautiful. The weather effects give a whole new atmosphere to the area, and the sun goes down as it is getting closer towards the night in-game.

Sound

The background music consists of a few different tracks, relaxed folk music fitting to the Viking theme. The music repeats, but it never gets too annoying due to its unobtrusive and relaxed nature. The different weather types also have fitting sounds, and the UI has several sounds fitting to the actions you or the characters take. The dialogues are not narrated.

Dead in Vinland - screen 2

Gameplay

Dead in Vinland is a resource management survival game, with RPG and adventure elements. You start out with a Viking family of four, and none of these characters is allowed to die. Each character has five survival stats (fatigue, hunger, sickness, injury, depression), and if one of these reaches 100%, this character dies and it’s game over.

There are 14 different stations you can add to you base camp to make it fully functional, and all these stations can be upgraded. Next to the shelter you’ll have water barrels which need to be filled, a crafting station and forge, a garden for vegetables, a harvesting area for fruit and another for herbs, a lumber and a mining station, etc. Most of the stations provide you with much needed resources, but increase fatigue, injury, depression, etc. There are several stations which can improve those stats again: a healing tent, a resting area and a tavern which increases morale. However, putting a character into healing, means he or she cannot work for half a day. Beside the work that the characters can do at each station, the player can use the stations as well to craft some items, for instance purify water, feed the fire, craft beer at a tavern, or press juice at the fruit gathering station. These actions will not deplete the characters, and will not cost any in-game time. You can upgrade crafting stations to employ more than one character at the same time, but how effective this is, depends on how much the characters like each other. Crafting stations can be upgraded in many different ways, increasing their effectiveness, but also to decrease negative status effects. Natural resources like fruit, fish and wood get exhausted if you use them too often. The stations deteriorate a bit as you use them, and can deteriorate even more because of weather effects.

Dead in Vinland - screen 4

Each day starts with phase one: morning to afternoon, then phase two: afternoon to evening, and ends with the ending of the day. At the beginning of the day, you’ll see what kind of weather it will be that day, and what the effects will be for the different stations and on the characters. For instance: rain will add water to your water reservoirs, but also adds extra depression and fatigue to your characters. For each half day you can assign characters to the different stations to work there, gather resources, craft or heal. At the end of the day it’s useful to feed the fire and purify water for the night, then the characters will gather at the shelter and talk, drink water, eat and sleep for the night.

Besides the original Viking family, there are several other characters you can encounter and recruit. There are a total of 10 characters which can be recruited, but your camp can only hold 6 of these when it is fully upgraded. Luckily, you can also expel people who aren’t useful enough, or just annoy everybody. But expelling someone means you won’t be able to recruit them again, so be careful with expelling!

Each character has an extensive stats sheet, which work like an RPG: you are better at an action if your skill is higher, and you level skills by using them. For example: harvesting skill is useful for gathering fruit or herbs, and a higher skill level yield better results. The characters can have several traits which modify skills, and negative stats like sleepiness or hunger can modify skill levels even further. All skills, stat increases and decreases are tied together intricately, for example: chopping wood will not only increase fatigue, but also depression. However, you will gain skillpoints in forestry and strength.

Dead in Vinland - screen 3

Leveling up a character gives you a list of permanent skill modifiers you can choose from. This list is randomly generated, so it’s possible to get a lot of skill increases at a character who is horrible to begin with at that skill, or sometimes even duplicates. This can be rather annoying when all options are ill-fitted to that character, and sometimes it’s worth reloading the game just to get better options for that character to choose from.

Every now and then you’ll have combat encounters in the game;  these have a chance to happen while exploring the island via the exploring station, or happen because of the story. The combat is turn-based, and you’ll be able to bring three characters into combat, which always includes the character who initiated the combat. Each character has a class with different skills, and the skills cost a certain amount of action points. There are two rows: melee and range, and the different skills vary in effectiveness based on position. If one character gets defeated in combat it doesn’t mean you lost the game, but the character gets wounded and you’ll need to heal them again. Successful combat means you’ll loot many useful items, so a combat encounter is usually a positive happening, despite the negative status effects to your characters.

On the island is an evil warlord who demands that you pay tributes to him, or else he’ll kill you, hurt you, or who knows what else. Every week he sends an underling to annoy you and get the tribute, and if you can’t comply, your characters might get beaten or tortured in other ways. The tributes are very expensive to fulfill, but the punishment you’ll get means a lot of characters need to spend a significant amount of time in the healing tent to get better again.

Dead in Vinland - screen 5

Sometimes you’ll encounter skill checks during conversations or when interacting with objects which you’ve discovered during exploration. This skill check is basically a roll of the dice to see whether you succeed or fail at whatever action you were performing. Succeeding usually means positive effects on stats and often some extra loot, and failing means negative effects.

There are several items you’ll be able to either loot or craft in the crafting stations, which can give a character a temporary boost or increase the survival stats of characters whenever you’re in a bind, without needing them to spend half a day healing up. During explorations you can also encounter rare items which can be useful for crafting, or mystical items which give characters a permanent boost to one of their skills.

If you have full occupancy of your camp and tend to put everyone to work until they’re exhausted, it’s pretty easy to overlook one characters survival stats and accidentally get them too depressed, exhausted or sick, especially if you have a few bad rolls on skill checks, or use a station which resource is pretty much fully exploited. Luckily, this game not only saves at the moment when you quit the game, but also the mornings of two days before, so you’ll be able to go a few days back if you’ve made some bad decisions. It’s possible to play without save points at all, but that is pretty rough to try.

Conclusion

Dead in Vinland is a very good game. It looks good, the music is fitting, and the game is really challenging. The many stats you’ll need to keep an eye on and balance out make this game a lot of fun for people who love resource management. There are many different objectives you can focus on while surviving, and the many different mechanics, combat and character interactions makes this game never boring. You’ll be sure to get a lot of hours of gameplay out of this title before you’ll even be close to the end of the game!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Dead in Vinland - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Anmaja
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.