Aside from the design choices, there are some technical issues with War of the Vikings which make for awkward system lag on even the beastliest of rigs at seemingly random intervals during play. Without advanced technical knowledge, it's impossible to say what caused these multi-second freeze-ups, but it was common enough on a computer that can run TESO on Ultra at 80-100 fps to warrant mentioning, since that doesn't bode well for older PCs.
War of the Vikings isn't all bad, though. Never let it be said that it's anything less than intense in a mayhem-and-chaos sort of way. If you want to go full Viking, you'll be charging headlong into battle, swinging your weapon of choice wildly around you, trying desperately not to get deducted XP for friendly fire. Given the problems with attacking, it is immensely gratifying to slay a foe in an extended exchange of strikes and parries. As infuriating as the control scheme is, War of the Vikings offers a very authentic-feeling battleground experience. You'll knock a Saxon to the ground and go in for the kill, and suddenly you'll find yourself beset from all sides by his comrades in arms. You absolutely must keep a wide field of vision, lest you be surprised by flank attacks, which is obviously quite a challenge in the heat of battle.
War of the Vikings is a neat distraction, if a bit of a shallow experience. If you can get the hang of the controls, you'll have a good time hacking away at your enemies and deftly parrying incoming attacks. The play modes on offer are exactly the same as every shooter out there, which is good for familiarity, but obviously a bit lacking in innovation. The major downside, however, is that there aren't enough people playing the no-respawn Arena mode to reliably get a game going, although there were always several servers running Team Deathmatch games.
Bottom Line: War of the Vikings isn't necessarily a bad game, but it's a far cry from being a good one. With frustrating controls as well as periodic technical hiccups, it's never going to appeal to a mass audience, but those it does appeal to will enjoy it.
Recommendation: Unless you're obsessed with living out a Viking war fantasy, you can probably give War of the Vikings a miss. At $25, it's just not worth the investment. If you're interested, you can probably wait for it to go on sale in the not-too-distant future.