Do you like Vikings? How about Assassins? Well, look no further. Ubisoft’s latest entry to the Assassin’s Creed franchise is here. I give you Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.
Now, just like with the previous Assassin’s Creed game, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a third-person open-world adventure, and like with previous titles, you’ll be switching between modern-day, and of course the time period you’ll be spending most of your time, which in this case is set around 875 AD.
In the modern-day sections, you play as Layla Hassan, originally introduced in Assassin’s Creed Origins, a researcher who is trying to stop the world from coming to an end and must travel back to track down the final resting place of a Viking named Eivor who they believe may hold the secret to saving the modern world from disaster. As for the Viking storyline, you take control of Eivor, a male or female Viking depending on what you choose. Eivor, their brother Sigurd and the rest of the Raven clan must set out to England where they try to build a new home for them and their clan.
The gameplay in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla instantly gave me a Ghost of Tsushima vibe while running around exploring but also a hint of Dark Souls when it came to major boss fights. While Valhalla isn’t as stealthy as the entries before it there are still the odd mission or area to raid where taking the stealth approach is the best option. When you aren’t sneaking around, you’ll be in a lot of hand-to-hand combat and I must say, it’s pretty satisfying and found myself wanting to just run into a fight with my Viking axe raised instead of trying to be sneaky. Other than your Viking axe, you’ll be able to choose from a range of swords and spears with each weapon having their own sweet finishing animations.
In Valhalla, there is a larger focus on upgrading your gear and weapons instead of just replacing them. This is great if you find the right set of tools you enjoy using and being able to simply upgrade them making them even stronger. I loved this idea because I personally HATE being stuck in the menu doing inventory management for most of my playthrough.
While you in combat you’ll need to take note of the new stamina bar. Light attacks will earn stamina, but whenever you’re dodging or blocking your stamina will drain. Heavy attacks will also require Stamina which is required for knocking down the more beefy opponents as well as breaking enemy shields. The game also has a skill tree that you can unlock different buffs or abilities using skill points increasing attributes for things such as Health, Stealth Damage. As you unlock more and more, you’ll also unlock new finishers or special moves that will make combat even more brutal than it already is.
Outside the story, there are plenty of side quests and collectibles to find for you to lose your time doing. And don’t worry, side quests in Valhalla aren’t long and have you trekking across the map to complete, no, these are usually small and painless. I hated side quests in Origins & Oddassy due to how much traveling the game made you do, so I avoided them altogether. At least in Valhalla, they stay relatively close by to where you picked the quest up and only takes a few minutes. Because of this, I was more inclined to do them as I ran into them.
When you aren’t playing through the story, collecting collectibles, or chipping away at side questions, you’ll be hanging around little home villages. There are a number of things that will keep you occupied here before you set off on your next adventure. Things such as challenging fellow Vikings to drinking contests, taking part in flyting (rhyming) contests, or playing dice games.
And yes, Valhalla does have its fair share of weird glitches. They aren’t anything game-breaking, but they do take you out of the story. Things I noticed in my playthrough was missing textures on both characters and in the environment, broken character animation, and even enemies who seem to just stand around, doing nothing at all while you beat up their friends around them. Again, nothing game-breaking, but funny to witness. Bugs and glitches aside, Valhalla is an absolutely gorgeous game with some stunning graphics and visuals running on an Xbox One X. Though boot Valhalla up on an Xbox Series X, and you are in for a real treat visually.
With all that said, if you’re a fan of the older games and how they played, but wasn’t a fan of all the traveling and looting from Origins and Oddassy, then you’ll find a nice balanced middle ground in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla which will keep you busy for a good 50 + hours.
- Stunning visuals
- Brutal combat
- Huge open world
- Improved intentory system
- Few bugs and glitches