I have been a fan of this franchise since the first installment on the PlayStation 3 back in 2007. There have been some hiccups, but I am extremely pleased with where Ubisoft has landed with these games. Ever since Assassin’s Creed Origins, they’ve been back on the right track.
A Beautiful Open World
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla continues the same patterns as Origins and Odyssey did, creating a truly wonderful action RPG. Now, I will say that I encountered some glitches, but nothing that broke the game or ruined my experience with it. Instead, they were just humorous open world issues like NPCs glitching.
Aside from the few glitches, this game was really solid. Its open world is beautiful and huge. There is quite a lot to see and do in the world, and many of those things won’t show up on your map. If you’re curious about something, odds are something is hidden there. There were plenty of caves and mountains to explore and find treasure in.
Upon exploring you will find many things do other then treasure hunting. There are activities that you can do like drinking games, archery tests, dice games, and flyting. All of these activities reward you with silver to spend on new items or supplies. Flyting will also increase your charisma which can open up more dialogue opportunities. Flyting is a contest of insulting each other in verse form. It’s very amusing and was my favorite side activity to participate in.
Approach To Gameplay Done Right
Side quests are much shorter than in past titles and don’t take you from the story all too much, which helps create a more linear experience within this huge world. In the past, like most open-world games, the Assassin’s Creed titles can drown you in side quests which make it difficult to follow the main story. Here though, it’s much easier to follow the story and just pick things up along the way. Side missions often take place very near where they start too, so you won’t be running all over the place to get things done.
The gameplay is what keeps me coming back to every new entry. Valhalla’s open world is so fun to explore, but the full sandbox approach to assassinations and missions has evolved so much here. In previous games of the franchise, it used to be very strict on how you go about missions and objectives, but in these new titles you can approach things however you’d like to. If you want to remain stealthy, the game gives you everything you need to do so. If running in and causing trouble is more your fancy, you can do that as well.
That freedom is still something that I enjoy in these games. It is nice to assess each mission differently and approach things how I see fit. It also leaves me feeling more in control of each mission. This truly creates and open experience in a world full of opportunity.
Valhalla: A Story For The Ages
Eivor, the main character, can be changed between male or female through the Animus settings. I enjoyed this approach to the main character. Odyssey was similar, having you chose between the two siblings Kasandra or Alexios. Whichever one you don’t choose, plays out their role in the story as your adversary. The choice doesn’t change much, and it is the same for Valhalla. Though with Valhalla, you are Eivor regardless.
Eivor’s drive and commitment to their clan is admirable and you are given many options in how you want to handle certain story points and decisions. There is a good and bad ending, depending on select choices, mostly regarding your brother Sigurd. At the end of the game he will judge your decisions and decide which ending you get. Without giving any spoilers, I enjoyed following Eivor on their journey. Ubisoft crafted a really wonderful experience here.
I really appreciated the missions that took you to Asgard and Jötunheimr, too. They are presented in a way that has Eivor drink potions to remember memories of Odin and the events leading to Ragnarök. Of course, I couldn’t help but compare their take on Norse mythology to that of 2018’s God of War. Regardless of it not being that same experience, I can appreciate the time Ubisoft put into making their own experiences with those gods.
It goes well with the story too, as Eivor and the Raven Clan are from Norway and worship all of these gods. It was a trip into their history and culture as well as an exciting story arc for the game. This also shed some light on the differences they had with the Christians in the game. I was amazed with how well Ubisoft fleshed all of this out.
Valhalla Has A Lot To Offer
I sunk over 90 hours into this game on my PlayStation 5, and still haven’t done everything there is to offer. I completed the story but there’s still plenty to do and accomplish. Most Assassin’s Creed titles run me around the same playtime. The story on its own isn’t that long but I’m always upgrading gear, doing side quests and exploring everything these games have to offer. Generally, there’s a lot to unpack here.
It was a wonderful experience though, that I’m already itching to jump back into. I’m excited to see what the season pass has to offer, and of course what future titles have in store for us. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla ended up being the last game I beat in 2020, ending the year an a great note.