Doki Doki Ragnarok Is A VN Where A Horny Viking Dates Villages

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Doki Doki Ragnarok Is A VN Where A Horny Viking Dates Villages

I have just been friend-zoned by London.

Friends, foes, those in between, I’m here to tell you that Doki Doki Ragnarok is A GAME ABOUT A VIKING COMING OUT OF VILLAGES. It is also one of the funniest and most beautiful games in a long time.

No, it wasn’t a typo. I didn’t mean “date with the villagers”. I mean the villages. This is a delicious, deeply funny and downright special game that will make you laugh a lot.

The term “doki doki” has, it’s fair to say, been somewhat subsumed in the West by Doki Doki Literature Club!, the hugely popular 2017 visual novel about love in a high school club. In Japan, it is best recognized as the ideophone of a heartbeat, and has been in the name of games dating back to the Famicon. So it’s clearly perfect for a game about falling in love with small towns.

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Because to plunder a village, it will be necessary a permillage of fence which avoids the emotional overflows. And hey, a little stippling couldn’t hurt. I am sorry. You will have to listen to the needs, desires and interests of the village. You’re going to have to woo.

So there are probably immediate concerns here. Viking plunder, historically, may not be renowned for its respectful, consent-based approach to invasion. Then there are the problems implicit in all these dating games, where the line between being empathetic and coercive is always deeply blurred. In the end, no matter how it’s dressed, it’s all about trying to get laid. And as such, I have long struggled to recognize any meaningful difference between the waking world of “progressive” dating sims and the endless vomit of misogynistic hentai fuckathons posted daily on Steam. Yet it is perfectly safe to say that DDR does not deserve such concerns.

It is certainly helpful that the DDR dialogue renders this distinction somewhat irrelevant. In your drunken attempt to impress the first village in the game, you can choose to roar, vomit, roar, or brag about your intellectual pursuits. Choose “roar” and the text reads,

You didn’t know the volume you are capable of. Windows bursts! Buildings are collapsing! The birds explode in mid-flight! You are seized with immense grief because of all these birds.

But more importantly, it’s just incredibly stupid. Villages are usually very excited about being looted, and when you’re burning down the buildings and driving the townspeople out, you both tend to have emotional conversations rather than…you know. Then there’s the constant threat of goats, a rivalry with the aptly named Bjorn Rivalson, and a never-ending volley of insults against the English no matter what country you’re in. Oh, and after a simply lovely tryst with Normandy, the town decided – even though he had a good time – that he didn’t want things to end in a raid after all. And it is respected. Because this game is both crazy and charming.

Frankly, I’m thrilled to see how appalling the game’s geography is. Where the map shows you invading somewhere near Perth in Scotland, the game declares your arrival in southern England – Wareham specifically – meaning it’s about 500 miles away and a nation sovereign. Which is nothing compared to your departure from the south coast to reach… Londinium. But don’t worry, because the focus here is on truly excellent writing, and that comes in spades.

As you progress, each encounter with a city becomes trickier, with the dialogue chosen to be based on carefully listening to the thoughts and desires of the location. The subtext is often essential. Will they really be impressed by your rush for a quick invasion of England, when they have repeatedly mentioned their admiration for a Viking’s predilection for mead? Will complimenting their masonry flatter or patronize? Because at the end of the day, both sides want to see farms burnt down, and it’s important that this is done in the most respectful way possible.

A Viking makes a corgi very excited by suggesting that maybe, just maybe, he is the right dog.

Screenshot: BrutalHack / Kotaku

There are quite a few typos and odd moments when the wrong word is used (“reduce” instead of “tell” was odd), but they matter very little among so much incredibly funny writing. I laughed so many times while playing this, brimming with so many good gags and puns (“plunderlust”), all delivered with a warmth and cuteness I never expected.

Add to that the utterly superb music throughout, excellent Viking growl noises that sparsely accompany the text, and some really lovely cartoons, and it’s such a delight.

It was a risky project, given the automatic assumptions someone might make about a game where dating and invading are conflated. Put all those concerns aside, because this is a game where consent is paramount, but nonsense is hugely important. It’s so funny that it’s so beautiful, and it’s so beautiful that it’s so funny.

This article originally appeared on buried treasure. You can support the Patreon here.

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Article source https://kotaku.com/doki-doki-ragnarok-visual-novel-review-dating-sim-pc-1848554574

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