Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (PC) Review
Michael P Cleworth
Plenty of different storylines
Solid combat system
A few bugs that should be addressed
Drags out at the end if you don't collect everything
Mythical creatures are a little strange
It seems like a lifetime ago that I started playing this and after having finally finished it – 200 hours later – I felt compelled to write about Ubisoft’s latest AC instalment, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. So, braid your beard, pick up your axe and let us begin.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Storyline
The base story of Valhalla concentrates on the protagonist, Eivor, and his or her (you choose) brother, Sigurd. To write about Sigurd would be to expose you to a whole manner of game-destroying spoilers; so I will be brief.
The story takes place mostly in the United Kingdom and involves you taking over territories while gaining alliances from each one. Each section offers up its own unique story and rewards you with another ally in your fight against King Aelfred. With the differing stories throughout the game, the game stays fresh and compelling throughout the story. What happens after the main game is completed, however, the game starts to feel a little drawn out (more about that later).
The combat in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla plays out very much like some of the later AC games. With light and heavy attacks bound to the R1/R2 – RB,RT buttons, while blocking and aiming your bow are done with the left buttons respectively.
The real sense of fluidity, however, is owing to the seamless selection of abilities. By holding down either R2/RT or L2/LT you can quickly call-up your abilities menu on-the-fly and choose an ability (melee or ranged) using hotkeys. This allows for a variety of special attacks to be carried out without having to go into any menus or stop fighting. I fell into a trap of only really using the Dive of the Valkyries ability way too often; neglecting the broad range on offer.
Graphics and Bugs
While the graphics of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla were aesthetically stunning for the most part; they are ruined from time to time by silly bugs that if addressed would go a long way to bringing the player into the game. As it stands at the time of writing this, however, there still exists bizarre graphical glitches. One of the first that comes to my mind is the way your hands go right through the bigger fishes as you’re showcasing your catch. Issues such as these are, on a whole, trivial. It can shatter any illusions though when the world around you is defying physics.
Aside from the graphical mishaps, there are a number of other bugs and glitches that have ruined the game completely for many. Key quest items failing to spawn, cover disappearing on approach, and your horse’s sudden reluctance to steer left – to name but a few.
That being said, I was one of the lucky ones that never ran into any game-breakers. If I had, this review would read in a totally different way with the number of hours I invested into it.
There are a number of different weapons you can obtain and use again your Saxon foes. Non quite so synonymous with Vikings as the good ol’ bearded axe, however. If authenticity isn’t your thing, however, and you crave the conventional sword, you will be disappointed. Instead, the sprawling world of Valhalla is home to some cool weaponry such as two-handed axes and battle axes to flails and daggers. The weapon selection is opened up by the facilitation of swapping your shield out for another one-handed weapon.
The World of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (well, England)
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is home to vast lands that sprawl across 142 KM-squared and the game all but forces you into the exploration of every little nook and cranny. While this seems fantastic on paper, the reality is very much different and brings me nicely on to my next section.
The Major Flaw of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
For some, this won’t even be an issue. For the completionists among you, it is an absolute nightmare. My advice to anyone reading this before starting out on the long, arduous trek that is AC:V, is to collect everything as you go. When you hit a new territory, complete it to its fullest before moving on to the next one. I made the mistake of concentrating more on the story and by the time the plot had drawn to its disappointing and confusing conclusion, I was drowning in a pool of deep regret.
The collectibles of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are split into three categories: mysteries, wealth, and artifacts. The mysteries are short side-missions; the wealth items are often well-hidden chests and the artifacts are gained from a whole manner of methods; from chasing bits of paper to ridding areas of evil curses. The frustrating problem here is that all in all these count up to a total of 784 collectibles. I made the mistake of leaving these until last. I highly advise you don’t make the same one. The collectibles are way too plentiful this is the major issue of Valhalla; and the reason the game became a chore on the completion of the story.
As expected, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was an extremely enjoyable experience. Vikings have always held an interest in me; so on news that the next AC game was going to be centered around the fighting farmers, I was delighted. The Vikings have such traditions and rituals that tie perfectly into the AC franchise. From beginning to end, the game captivated me and I always turned it off at night with reluctance. However, as you finish the core story and are left with an abundance of collectibles to gather; the game starts to really drag. If you choose to see the whole game through and collect everything; prepare for the long haul.
With that being said, I feel it unfair to tie the whole game to this lack of foresight. The core game is stunning in a number of different ways; making it an absolute must for any AC fan or Viking-obsessive like myself. The game is sure to keep you entertained for hours and will stay with you for a long time after. Just remember to collect things and do missions as and when you see them. IGN has a great guide on where to find them; should you find yourself in the same position as I.