The long-awaited next installment of the Assassin’s Creed series is here with fire and blood. This epoch takes place in another historical epoch that people adore. 873 CE Europe, aka The Viking Age. The kingdoms of what we now call Europe are slowly forming. Driven out of Norway by endless wars and dwindling resources, smaller Viking clans from Norway and its surroundings are looking for places to plunder and settle. Unfortunately for England, the country seems to be the most plundered. In Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, you play as Eivor, a warrior leading her fellow Norsemen to England to carve out a better future for their people.
From the very beginning of the game, the player immerses himself in Viking culture, a feat in which Ubisoft excels in all its games. Dancing, singing, being rowdy and loving mead are Viking cultural staples. The opening sets the tone for how they celebrate and their values of honor and family. The in-game music and the ambient world music are both superb. In Valhalla, characters can sing drinking songs or sing sailing songs on the way to raids. The ambient music by the composers Jesper Kyd (Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood) and Sarah Schachner (Assassin’s Creed Origins) was a great addition to the experience really giving this mystical nomadic journey a feeling. Norwegian musician Einar Selvika also created original songs for the soundtrack. His song, “Lust for Action”, was without a doubt my favorite. I even added it to my own playlist for epic music. However, the excellent environment does not stop at the audio, but also at the visuals. It’s safe to say that this game was intended to take full advantage of the wonderful graphics upgrades and 4K experience of the next generation consoles. The sky, especially in Norway, was absolutely beautiful. Dancing no lights harmonizes wonderfully with the awesome snow textures that leave real trails once passed. It’s such a stark contrast when Eivor and the clan arrive in England. However, the large stone structures and the green flora are just as breathtaking. The world is beautiful and sets the tone for the incredible Viking saga of Eivor.
The biggest advantage of AC: Valhalla in the gameplay is the amount of what you can do. Even in the opening sections, there was almost too much to discover! Of course, I didn’t let him stop me. Exploration is rewarded by the discovery of riches or secret that appear on your map view depending on your setting. Wealth has a lot of different meanings, but you can collect things like supplies to upgrade equipment, weapons, and even books that teach you new abilities. These special abilities are similar to those in once in a Lifetime: Odyssey, but you have to explore them rather than advance the plot. The skill tree is based on overall power, not levels. Players can choose their own playstyle by choosing to upgrade to melee, ranged, or stealth damage. Of course, these can be picked up in any combination. Really adapt Eivor’s abilities to your own style of play. Players can also increase certain skills and earn gold in some of the many mini-games they offer. There are opportunities for drinking contests, dice games, hunting challenges, stacking stones, etc. One of my favorite activities, flying increases the charisma of Eivor, always successful. Very useful.
For all fans of simulation games, the colony you found in England is customizable. Offering you an infinite number of options to adapt your establishment to the needs of your people. Thus, each upgrade benefits you directly. From there, the game is all about protecting yours. make alliances with other colonies or kingdoms, and wage war on those who threaten your livelihood.
This being a Viking game, Ubisoft couldn’t just keep the action as it was. The visual elements of the action in Valhalla are significantly more brutal. Limbs are cut off, heads fly off and people are set on fire. Such as the fast-paced action favored by the Vikings. As for the mechanics, the game is still pretty much the same as the AC: Odyssey, so previous players will have no trouble understanding the controls. The best addition to the gameplay was Ivor’s ability to have more impact on the story progression. Even if the player does not know that his action affects the future, it does. There are so many decisions to be made in the main plot that there are endless versions of the end of the game.
It would be impossible to say that this game is not entertaining. There is so much content that a wide variety of players could have fun. The plethora of mini-games is a good example of this. At some point, Eivor can spend his money on playing bets on various things, I definitely lost the first drinking challenge, but I will get revenge soon. Eivor can simply go around the gaming world exclusively to challenge local drinkers and brewers.
Exploration is where the real fun begins. You have all these places to explore and reach on your trawler. These longliners are made to enter and leave rivers and seas for raids in order to gain much-needed wealth and resources. And that’s exactly why players should use them. As you approach an unclaimed or enemy settlement, you can call a raid to loot the land for more wealth and uncover secret as I mentioned before, or even craft supplies to upgrade your quiver and ration pocket. It’s such a visceral feeling to sail the ship with your friends, sing and tell stories, and then suddenly an area that looks precious appears. You can just drop what you’re doing, ring the war hammer and storm their beach. I will never get tired of this feeling that makes us so hyped.
OriginalityOverall, AC: Vahalla has some unique features, but I still feel like I’m playing an intense redesign mod from the previous Assassin’s Creed game. While the environment, mini-games and some mechanics are new. In terms of action, it’s largely the same thing. For two years between games, I understand that there are things that have probably been cut for time. If I had to guess, they removed what could have been a redesign of the action and the AI. I hope that in a future installation of Assassin’s Creed there will be a more unique gameplay.