Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
“Valhalla combines the best fight on the show with a more organic world.”
A more thoughtful open world
Raiding never gets old
The expansion of your settlement is convincing
Buggy, especially on the PC
Stealth and modern content are missing
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is my personal favorite in this new remastered trilogy of games in the franchise, but the reasons I enjoy it might be shutdowns for others. Improved combat and one-train raid is at the heart of the game, and while it’s well executed, it ultimately throws aside the franchise’s stealth roots.
This is a step the series needs to take. to break away from what defined these games nearly a decade ago to become the standard bearer for action RPG.
I want to get this out of the way too: if you were going to record this game on PC at startup, don’t. Not to say that the console version can’t be buggy at times, but the PC version was almost unplayable for me (a problem I also had with Watch Dogs: Legion) and I gave up trying to get it Constantly crashing after an hour Another writer on our team had a problem with a deceased NPC and to progress they had to speak to that NPC. You are now gently prevented from continuing in the game and that is with the first day’s patch.
First known, the story goes to some interesting places
Many Assassin’s Creed games are campaigned around family, betrayal, and political clash, and Valhalla is no different. Eivor is set in the 9th century and can be avenged at different points in history as a man or woman or as a gender at different points in history. He takes revenge for the death of his parents by a rival clan leader. In order to get what they want, they make certain decisions that ultimately lead them out of Norway with their brother Sigurd in order to found a new home in Anglo-Saxon England.
From there, the main focus of the game is for this small group of Danes to expand their reach through devastating raids or diplomatic alliances, expanding their Ravensthorpe base camp from a dilapidated village to a thriving community.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is my personal favorite in this new remastered trilogy of games in the franchise.
The family core of the game, Eivor and her brother Sigurd, is at times strikingly similar to the dynamic of Kassandra and Alexios in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Over time, and as the history of the Raven clan grows across England, Valhalla makes some interesting deviations that set it apart from the newer entries in the series, but I really hope the next game in the franchise breaks off this one Establishment completely.
The narrative, which is directly related to the gameplay of the Raven clan’s expansion across England, is the story that I found more compelling but which can get out of whack at times. Eivor and her people are not refugees who have no choice but to flee Norway. You specifically choose to go to reap the rewards of literally greener pastures.
While they initially arrive with the goal of being as peaceful as possible, they very quickly move on to the raid and loot part. The game then creates villains who are so vicious and power hungry that you have no choice but to choose Eivor. Valhalla sometimes tries to come up with a mutually beneficial argument, but it never really works as well as intended.
I ended up taking things at face value very quickly and ultimately enjoying the narrative for what it was. It has never been lost, however, that Ubisoft is a company going through its own internal problems regarding abuse of power. So I’ve never entirely given up questioning the game’s narrative.
The gameplay is the best the series has ever had
There’s one phrase people like to use when criticizing video games: Gameplay is king. While I never fully signed this idea, it’s hard to argue that in the case of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla it isn’t true. Something that ultimately pushed me away from Origins and Odyssey is the feeling that the battle system rebuilt was only part of the way to get there. The two year gap in the titles has allowed the development team to refine it and I am so excited with the results.
Valhalla makes some interesting changes that set it apart from the newer entries in the series.
Eivor and her clan are a devastating and relentless force that completely captures the gameplay. Every swing of my ax felt snappy and satisfying, and even after hours of playing I continued to gush out incredulous exclamations about Eivor’s ruthlessness.
Most often, Eivor is accompanied by a group of Viking warriors to extend Ravensthorpe’s reach. It works better than any system implemented in previous Assassin’s Creed games. It feels like the Brotherhood should have felt.
This idea of working consistently with NPC allies means there are even fewer cases this time where stealth is required. The game at certain points tries to get you to use it, but it is rarely ever needed or the more desirable tool to help you achieve your goal. While one of the big selling points has been the return of the ability to blend in with the crowd, hacking and cutting through enemies is always the more satisfying and successful solution.
The fact that stealth plays second fiddle after confrontation is an improvement, but it can be a problem for some. Fans of the series who were hoping for a return to form for stealth on a grand scale will likely be disappointed with the increased emphasis on personal combat.
All metasystems also feel more refined than previous entries. Instead of getting tons of marginally better weapons and armor, I’m more likely to find improved upgrades, reducing the need to constantly manage my inventory. Likewise, the skill tree is slowly unfolding as you branch over it, rather than presenting you with the entirety of what it has to offer from the jump. This makes the game’s RPG features, which many fans have turned off in recent years, a lot easier to swallow.
A more organic and varied world
Another big problem for me regarding Origins and Odyssey was the sheer size and infinity of the game’s map and activities. That’s not to say the world of Valhalla isn’t huge or lacking in quests, but everything feels far more manageable and achieving goals is less like ticking things off a checklist and more about natural discovery .
England, the largest map in the game, but not the only one, is a single landmass that can be traversed on foot, on horseback, or by boat through the branching rivers that run across the country. At the center is Ravensthorpe, and the game of Eivor returning to his home base often provides more context for the world that just doesn’t exist in the nomadic lives that Bayek and Kasandra / Alexios led in their games.
Every swing of my ax felt snappy and satisfying, and even after hours of playing I continued to gush out incredulous exclamations about Eivor’s ruthlessness.
Rather than feeling compelled to hide every marker on an island and ultimately not do so, as I did in Odyssey, Valhalla leaves your desire to strengthen the Raven clan to be your guide to traversing, and side activities, on therefore, those you bump feel far more integral.
Gone is the need to rely on your avian partner to track down an area and mark every enemy and resource you see before systematically switching from marker to marker. While you have a raven partner to look for you, it is more about getting a first lay of the land than familiarizing yourself with every nook and cranny.
Odin’s Sight, a vibrant ability that highlights points of interest and enemies in your immediate area, is far more useful this time around as it allows players to stay more in the immediate action and engage with it organically.
This is, of course, Assassin’s Creed, which means that there are also some modern pieces with our contemporary protagonist Layla. The game tries to make it more relevant by bringing in characters tied into Desmond’s story in the original trilogy and spin-offs, but it feels halfhearted again, both narrative and visually. As with stealth, the modern content is something the series is forced to do, but these games would be stronger without it, and at this point I wouldn’t care if they dropped it completely.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla promised to return to the roots of the series after two big strides by them in Origins and Odyssey, but what it tries to rekindle is holding it back and what it does best makes it decidedly very unassassin’s Creed. Those willing to hug Valhalla for what it is will find a compelling and satisfying action RPG.
Is there a better alternative?
The only other great action RPG around the launch of the Xbox Series X | S and PlayStation 5 is Watch Dogs: Legion, but Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is by far the better of the two games.
How long it will take?
At least dozen of hours, hundreds of hours if you’re a Completor.
Should you buy it?
Yes, especially if you choose a next generation console that increases the frame rate significantly and eliminates load times.