Assassin’s Creed Valhalla DEALS
The Assassin’s Creed saga is mostly held annually, and with no AC title released in 2019, it suggested important changes to come. The last time something like this happened, after the discussed Unity and Syndicate, we found ourselves with a heavily renewed formula in which the classic vision was twisted to make room for the current one, heavily influenced by RPG mechanics. Will we face substantial changes this time too? Will we continue on the path traced from Origins onwards? Here is my Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review on PlayStation 4.
THE RAVEN CLAN
The key aspect in the various chapters of Assassin’s Creed, which alone is worth the purchase, is the setting. Regardless of the final judgment on the various chapters, Ubisoft makes us feel part of the historical period in which they set the events. Whether it is the Renaissance Italy of Ezio Auditore or the revolutionary Paris of Unity, the setting and its scenic rendering are the flagships of the saga.
Nothing strange, therefore, that after Ptolemaic Egypt and the Peloponnesian War in Greece, Ubisoft have chosen another setting that has always been suggestive and fascinating, as more or less recent video games or TV series show. With Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the developers continue the tradition of impeccable settings, there can be no doubt about this.
Your adventure begins in 873 AD, when the Viking predator Eivor embarks on a mission to the English coasts, in that period of the Middle Ages that some historians define as dark ages. Eivor’s parents are both killed during a treacherous assault in one of the most beautiful opening sequences of the entire series. The king adopted Eivor and when half-brother Sigurd returns from a trip, they meet Assassins who introduces Eivor to order.
The game starts in the far north, a perfect start to show us a game that is beautiful to see. Some characters still do not fully convince, but Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is gorgeous in terms of settings, full of details. What Ubisoft did very well with Valhalla was the use of the Viking setting without too many compromises. The war between Templars and Assassins is present in all its nuances.
The purpose of Eivor‘s journey, although initially moved by revenge, is to find a new land for their clan. And it will remain that way all the time, a smart choice to ensure that everything else doesn’t seem to be forced into the narrative. If in God of War we had to deal with the supernatural, divine element of Viking culture, in Valhalla we descend among men to discover their virtues and miseries.
POWER AND PROSPERITY
As already mentioned, the RPG element that divides players between admirers and opponents is also present here. Fights, places to reach, and more generally the progress in the game continue to be subject to the level of your character. In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, your level is known as Power, which needs to constantly be improved.
As always, everything will translate into skill points, such as damage, health, and silent attacks. You have the possibility to freely customize your protagonist by combining the various equipment until you find the one that best suits your style of play. You will have to think a little more about what to use and where to install the runes.
It is a slightly more strategic approach, which pays off in the long run, compared to the classic system. Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a title made for exploration, and it doesn’t try to hide it from you. Right from the start I was captured by the amount of secondary activities, getting lost in raids, sieges, and everything new the title has to offer.
To be honest, I almost put aside the main story, which for the first ten hours of play seems almost subdued. As for missions and secondary objectives, they have been reduced to three macro categories: Artifact, Mystery, and Wealth. In the first case, as the name suggests (Artifact), you will have to collect some rare items scattered across the map.
The second group of missions (Mystery) is more traditional and is assigned to you by the NPCs. To finish with the last group of missions (Wealth), you need to make your village prosper. These side quests are characterized by different colors, so your raven can quickly spot them from above.
BUILDING YOUR SETTLEMENT
The settlement also has its own importance, almost as if it were a character in itself. Here Eivor and the Raven clan have their stronghold, from which they leave to conquer the surroundings, weave new alliances, and do business. Anyone and everyone can enter the camp and be useful. There will be tattoo artists, but also Assassins who will work under the radar.
The Assassins will show key members of the Templars who need to be eliminated and who, as in the other chapters, will give you new skills with their death. Also, very important in Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are the blacksmiths who forge your equipment and the cartographers to whom you turn to find hidden treasures.
In short, seeing your settlement grow and prosper is truly rewarding, even if it isn’t a quick process. This is because the resources do not rain from the sky, you will have to work for it. And since you are Vikings, what’s better than a raid? You just need to get on your boat, sail towards an available raid, press the triangle button and Eivor will blow a horn and start the raid.
Every time when doing this, you will feel excited and pumped, which brings back a fundamental moment in the life of these peoples of the north. It is true, you will almost always leave behind a pile of corpses, but the rule of not killing civilians has remained intact, while in historical reality the Vikings were not hesitant to slaughter anyone who stood between them and their target.
You can kill the simplest of enemies in Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla with a few hits, but you must face more equipped ones in a more studied way. Besides standard attacks, you have skills available to use via the R2 and L2 keys. Whether it’s a jump attack or slowing down time to slice an enemy comfortably, these are moves that refresh the combat system and make the massacres more pleasant.
There is also a sort of finisher, with R3, which deals serious damage or kills weaker enemies in spectacular fashion. However, sometimes the enemy AI is not brilliant. In challenging battles, you can kill masses of enemies without too much resistance. Sometimes it also happens that your targets remain motionless after you place an arrow between their shoulder blades.
In general, the clashes involve so many excellent components which makes me overlook these minor defects. While stealth seems strange for a Viking, the hidden blade makes its welcome return as does the ability to assassinate enemies with a single blow. I found the possibility of choosing the protagonist’s gender a bit hypocritical as Eivor is a boy in the introduction. However, whatever gender you choose, Eivor is a character that works.
DO WE NEED RPG?
Unfortunately, the RPG element continues to present the same problems already addressed in previous chapters: the leveling is too slow. While accumulating XP points practically continuously, and using them to increase your powers and abilities, you will often find yourself stuck in areas where your opponents have exponentially higher levels than yours.
This will force you to spend hours just to level up and be able to get to challenge them without the certainty of dying immediately. It is possible to attack higher-level zones than yours and it’s possible to get away with it somehow, but the entire process comes down to a continuous and frustrating trial and error.
It is the only aspect where I feel that both Origins and Odyssey are performing better. As already mentioned, exploration is enjoyable and fun, but it is undeniable that the RPG element continues to be an aspect that many would eliminate without too many regrets. Or at least it should be reduced to a minimum, as in the chapters up to Syndicate.
Unfortunately, even Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is not free from the classic bugs. Fortunately, nothing serious, even if in 2020 still being stuck in the surrounding elements is not great. Returning to the settlement and imposing your hegemony on the surrounding territories is not only a pleasant activity but also opens the way for some interesting missions!
Do you want to try Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla? What do you think of my Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review on PlayStation 4. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. Are you interested in more games? Check out our reviews for The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, Ghostrunner, and Watch Dogs: Legion.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
This title is a joy for the eyes. You will never have enough and time will run fast, whether you are wandering, raiding, or advancing in the main story. Some sporadic bugs remain and the RPG element is intrusive at times, but we are facing one of the most successful chapters of the entire saga.
- Beautiful to see
- Exploration is fun
- The Viking element is beautifully rendered
- Levelling is too slow
- Unnecessary bugs