Sharpen your axes and plait your beards, Ubisoft’s latest release from the Assassin’s Creed franchise is upon us. Having pillaged, killed and plundered my way through Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, I’m honoured at the opportunity to write a little about what to expect from the best-selling title.
Playing as a Viking is Surprisingly Fun
Having first graced our shelves in 2007 with the first AC title, Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft have gone on to turn the Assassin’s Creed franchise into the hearts of gamers the globe over. Like with any long-running franchise, they have let a few sub-par Assassin’s Creed Games slip through their otherwise tight net.
I would bet my last piece of silver that I’m not the first and only to feel the apprehension creeping in when the title was first announced. I don’t know why I didn’t initially like the idea of it; possibly because I feel the original assassin, Altair, to be a far cry from the chest-beating brutishness of the Viking era. Never before been so happy to be wrong about something. It works in a way that brings you right into the era and gives a great insight into the lives of or horn-helmed friends and along the way teaches a great deal about their ways and traditions.
The gelling of assassin and Viking was surprisingly well executed. Yes, you’re the stereotypical grog-swilling Viking, but you also have deft skills when it comes to brutal stealth assassinations and creeping about. Despite what you think would be the case, Valhalla hero, Eivor, still has the airs and graces of past silent killers of justice.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – Combat
Throughout the story you will notice a scarcity of swords. Instead, you use the tools of war that are far more synonymous with our bearded bredrin; axes, hammers, spears and heavy weapons such as war hammers and claymores are the weapons of choice; giving the game a far more authentic feel. Yes, they had swords, but these aren’t tantamount to a Viking’s image.
The combat is run-of-the-mill hand-to-hand that we have seen throughout the franchise. The controls are laid out in a well-thought-out way. The back triggers are used for ranged and strong hits with the front shoulder buttons utilized for blocking and quick attacks. Furthermore, you can quickly perform abilities using the back triggers. Dodging and parrying enemy attacks in Valhalla means skill wins over button-bashing and make the whole experience and feel a lot less “rinse and repeat” than other games.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Story
The core of the story pertains to moving around Britain and making allies across Britain. As you conquer the stories in each district, you make more and more allies to fight against the Anglo-Saxons. As you progress on, more stories unfold that brings you deeper into the game. With each individual kingdom of Britain yielding its own story they do tend to intertwine and merge. Furthermore, there are ample side-quests to complete and uncover.
I have been playing Valhalla now for well over 80 hours and I am far from completion (platinum trophy, PS4). More and more of the game opens up the more you play.
At around $70, you will get more than your money’s worth and you can play, safe in the mind that you’re in for one hell of an adventure.
The Skill Tree
The skill tree in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is one of it’s many perfect touches. Set like a map of the Zodiac, each point is an ability or stat increase like melee, defence and movement boosts. As you unlock more points on the chart, new branches open up with new abilities to aim for and new ways to upgrade your character. I am at level 130 on the skill tree but have still yet to discover it all.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is so far the best title in the series, and I’m a big fan. The depth of the game gives you a feeling that you always have so much to do and discover, while the stunning visuals and fluid combat immerse you in the world. At $70, there’s so much you get for your money and you can be sure to get more than your fair share of gameplay.