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The 8 hardest Vikings in PC games

A real saga

Valheim, which is Old Norse for "Valerie is home", came out in early access last month to the roars of Viking-likers everywhere. It is a survival game about building a hut in the woods and then protecting that hut from friends who want to erect a gaudy temple next door, totally ruining the rustic ambience of the whole glade. I guess there's some monsters to fight too. But will any of this matter if you do not make it through cold nights full of dangers, and lean days without food? Just where does your Valheim viking fall on the bar chart of survivability? Here are the 8 toughest Vikings in PC games, a healthy exercise in comparison and shame.

Raider - For Honor

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They large, they barge, they very much in charge. The Raider is your vanilla warrior of Norse lineage in Ubisoft's ahistorical arena fighter. They are bigger than a bear and they have an axe that is not used for trees. They also think it's funny to bonk you between the eyes with the stick-end of this axe, dazing you and making it hard to see where the next fatal swing will come from. But unfurl yourself from the foetal position, friend. It is all confidence and bluster. The Raider's health bar is not that impressive. They die as quickly as anybody else on the battlefield.

Hardiness rating: Dusty Mento you found on the floor in winter.

Ivar the Boneless - Crusader Kings 3

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Ivar is one of a handful of strong Viking characters to get started in the world's most stabby historical drama simulator. He has a better prowess stat than any other Viking in Europe (that means he fights better) and he is a smarter strategist as well. All other Vikings in the continent should be ashamed. This man, who (need I remind you) is boneless, can outmanoeuvre all his kinsmen on the battlefield, both intellectually and physically. He has one leg, as if two were needed to reduce his enemies to a pile of unidentifiable gore.

Hardiness rating: One large boat nail, such as they no longer make.

Crach An Craite - The Witcher 3

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Can Vikings be Irish? History tells us "yes". Fantasy tells us "double yes". The Witcher 3 features the island-faring peoples of Skellige, who use Norse titles such as "Jarl" but also talk like they've just accosted you on the streets of Belfast for wearing the wrong football jersey. Crach An Craite is the burly centerpiece of this violent cultural fusion. He is a fur-sporting berserker who will have your back, fulfilling all the archetypes of the noble barbarian with one swoop of his blood-red cloak. He is very worried for his weans, a missing son and a rowdy daughter, revealing a soft spot for family and friends. He should cover that with chainmail or something.

Hardiness rating: Hastily smithed helmet - pretty hard but Crachs under pressure.

Eivor - Assassin's Creed Valhalla

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Eivor saw their father beheaded at the tender age of very small, and witnessed their mother axed in the back at the subsequent age of seconds later. This alone is an event scarring enough to toughen the bones and organs of any child of Scandinavia. But since this all happens in the opening moments of Valhalla's story, the developers also treat it as a moment for the player to choose certain character options for Eivor. Which means the young Viking's resultant escape over a frozen lake was enough to trigger a full-blown epiphany of gender. This in itself is pretty hardcore.

Hardiness rating: Shield wall.

Axe-wielding lad - Mordhau

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He's behind you, he's got an axe, he's better at swishing his mouse around. You're dead. But in twenty seconds, he'll be dead too. This is the nature of the endless war. This is the crow feast and we are all of us hors d'oeuvres.

Hardiness rating: Fresh pretzel.

Mjoll the Lioness - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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Literally unkillable. Mjoll is unlike other tough companions in Skyrim, such as Lydia, who often make the mistake of travelling with the 0.01% of the population that can actually land a killing blow on them. For the Lioness, even your thoughtless fire-flinging and panicked mace swings can do no harm. The most she needs in a tough fight is a breather. This towering totem of brutality will never expire. She will roam the world for thousands of years as a living monument to the survivability of the Nords. You can choose to marry Mjoll, and let her stay safely at home while you explore, a procedure that almost causes the be-woaded body-builder to express an emotion other than extreme boredom.

Hardiness rating: Minecraft bedrock.

Keep Guard - Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

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Do you know how many times you have to hit the demons in this game to make them go away? A lot.

Hardiness rating: Nokia 3310.

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Your mate Ricky - Valheim

Ricky has mined a lot of copper. Ricky has a bee farm. Ricky has mapped the entire coastline of a neighbouring island and he's always going on about this one giant torso with an exposed ribcage he once killed. Ricky hoes the ground as he scouts new areas, effectively making a dirt road everywhere he goes, which makes you furious you did not think of that first. He has built a castle next to your thatched cottage and offers to "help out" with the skeletons. No, you reply, no that's quite all right, I'm sure I'll manage. Ricky asks if you're sure because it looks like your eastern wall needs repaired and the chimney should probably be rebuilt to avoid smoke damage. Nope, you reply. No, I'm quite all right, Ricky. I can handle this. Just… [struggle noise] ...just some skeletons, that's all.

One Off The List from… the best vending machines

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Last week we put some money into the 9 best vending machines in PC games. But one of them ate our coins and didn't give us any Diet Coke. It's Subnautica's water dispenser.

"The distinction between vending machine and dispenser is going to have to be made here," says list-checker "ejiAlice" bringing some much-needed Quality Assurance to the monthly list. "The water filtration machine is a piece of equipment that uses energy to create water and salt... So it's a water and salt dispenser, but doesn't actually sell water and salt, so off it goes."

A technicality worth pointing out. Until next time list goblins!

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