This is just...beautiful.

Like, okay, we're going to get into the details and the nitty gritty and all that, but I want to stop and take a moment first to just...Kind of take this in. This art is...Damn, you know? Just, damn.

Okay. Got that out of my system. Back to the poking fun at silly videogames.

Jotun: Valhalla Edition is a definitive, updated version of Jotun, which one of our fine folks here actually reviewed back in 2016 for the Xbox One. I'm going to be honest, I'll probably cover a fair chunk of the same ground as that original review, as is the case with any review of a remaster, but I'm going to try and look at the circumstances that make this one unique.

So our concept is unchanged from the original: You play Thora, a young woman of a warrior family who dies a tragically anonymous, senseless death at sea. The kind of thing that could happen to anyone, and which carries none of the honor or glory she's earned...Which is why the gods give her another shot. Caught in Ginnungagap, the primordial void, Thora must face challenges brought on by the gods, impress them one by one, and ultimately face down the titular jotun to claim the afterlife you deserve.

Right off the gate, one thing needs to be made clear, this game never messed around with its mythology and history before now, and the Valhalla Edition doesn't start. This is making some deep, well-understood cuts, not just some "Thor Odin Mjolnir Loki" slapdash thing that any Marvel fan could kick out.

The mechanics are simple but solid. While the game ostensibly operates like a hack-and-slash, the actual beats of combat and of Thora's axe make it feel like anything but. This is a heavy weapon, one she has to shift back to a solid starting place after she swings it, or take a moment to lift it overhead to slam down. Rolling can get you quickly out of harm's way, but Thora needs a moment after just to reorient herself and get back on her feet. This is a human woman struggling to face challenges set by gods, and it feels like it.

Though it must also be said, while you face some combat, a good chunk of the game actually doesn't involve much at all. A lot of the challenges Thora faces are more puzzles of navigation; the map you're given of an area is a map, as in a flat representation of a somewhat 3D space that can in no way respond to your actual location, forcing you to sort out landmarks to navigate by. Knowing that you've reached a shrine, a checkpoint, or just an area with a distinctive shape on the map, is crucial to figuring out where you are and where you need to be.

And while I took a moment to gush about the beauty of the visuals, I really need to tell you how good this game looks. Because it is stunning. Crisp linework on the foreground elements often gives way to downright painterly background pieces, massive things that remind me of the mat paintings of vintage animation and cinema. There were many moments where the camera would pull back, and I'd feel like I was looking at nothing less than an oldschool Disney piece, as though alongside all their other classic fairytales they decided to take on the story of the warrior girl Thora.

Except, of course, Disney wouldn't be likely to put in a scene like the battles against the Dwarven armies, or some of these insane jotun bosses. While the game doesn't stop to relish in bloodshed, any time Thora gets to face a mortal-scale threat, it becomes abundantly clear why the gods decided that fate had given her a raw deal and she deserved one last go at glory.

All of this visual splendor does lead to the good and bad of this new edition, and particularly on the Switch. The main splash here that differentiates it from the original is the Valhalla Mode, a vicious boss-rush...Which, don't get me wrong, is cool, but I'll admit I'm not sure it's worth it on its own. No, the real splash is the new platform, and getting to play it on the Switch, including portably.

And that's where the...I'm not even sure if I'd call it trouble, per se, but the wobbly bits start coming up. First, the game performed wonderfully in my time with it, I never ran into any obvious hiccups or troubles, so we're clear on that front. But for all that the game is gorgeous, it sometimes ends up trying to be a bit too grand of a scale for the portable form of the Switch.

Quite often the game uses the trick of zooming out, out, way out, to show you a grand vista or a gorgeous piece of art in the distance. On a TV, these do a lot to make Thora feel small, a mere mortal facing something so much greater than her. Held in your hand, though, these moments end up turning her into a little speck who's sometimes only a few millimeters high.

Now, one thing I will say, the art style manages to make this not entirely collapse. Thora's stark red hair is a color almost never used in the rest of the art, and certainly not in close proximity to the brown hues of her clothes. Even when she's only covering a relative handful of pixels on the screen, the combination makes it remarkably possible to actually keep track of her.

That said, this is definitely an example of a game that feels like it was really meant to be played on a much bigger screen, and there were still times when finding that little flow of stark red was a bit difficult in all the chaos.

Really, though...That's kind of the only issue with the game. This is absolutely a well-executed title that does everything it sets out to do, and accomplishes it with style. That it doesn't entirely handle being crammed into the tiny space of the Switch's handheld screen, perhaps only speaks to the breadth and grandeur of the game's aesthetic.

So, two big questions. Should you buy this again? Well...Honestly, probably not, unless you really want to play through it over again but this time be able to take it on the train.

But should you buy it for the first time, if you haven't tried it before? Yes, yes, absolutely! Sure, this isn't for everyone, and its sometimes trouble with scale prevents me from throwing a perfect Must Have gold-star on it for the Switch version that I was given to review, but it is just so gorgeous and well-polished that I wouldn't even begin to hesitate to recommend it. If you haven't played this yet, go get it now. Just trust me.