Assassin's Creed Valhalla
PLAYED ON: Xbox One S (Game screenshots also taken on the same console)
After years of speculation and leaks, the Assassin’s Creed franchise finally entered the Vikings world. When it was finally confirmed by Ubisoft, via an amazing live art stream by BossLogic, I started to learn more about Norse mythology. The main intention was to get familiar with the famous characters from the myth as it would be easier for me to understand the story better and the references too. Just like AC Origins & Odyssey before it, Valhalla continues the open-world RPG gameplay. When you jump into the game, you’ll realise that Ubisoft improved the RPG elements from it’s previous games and also brought back the features first seen in the all-time classic, Assassin’s Creed 2.
ABOUT THE GAME/ STORY:
In AC Valhalla, you’ll get to explore Norway & England (with a small part of Vinland) along with the game’s incarnation of Asgard & Jotunheim. You play as Eivor, a male/female Viking who aims to gain glory along with his/her brother, Sigurd. They set off on a grand adventure to England, a land ripe with wealth and glory, and already well-integrated with Danes and Norse from years of Viking invasion and conquest. Your home in England is your settlement known as Ravensthorpe, which grows over time as you progress through the game.
Now about the Assassin’s part, you’ll meet 2 brotherhood members - Haythem and Basim. They meet Sigurd during his exploration voyage before you leave for England. Sigurd gifts Eivor their special ‘weapon’, ie., the Hidden Blade. There’s a reason why Eivor doesn’t ‘hide’ the blade and why he is never mentioned before as a part of the brotherhood anywhere. You also get to meet the infamous sons of Ragnar Lothbrok - Ubba & Ivarr.
The game also continues the present-day journey of Layla Hassan, after she gets ‘The Staff of Hermes’ and finds a clue that could help her save the world (again). This time she is joined by Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane. There are Animus Anomalies also present in the game. If you complete all of the anomalies, you’ll find an ancient ISU video recording ;)
I can’t share much about the story as it will spoil a lot of stuff. It centres mostly on betrayal and revenge.
There are a lot of easter eggs in the game which I loved, including throwbacks to previous AC games, therefore go on exploring!
The game retains the dialogue choice, the Ancient Ones/ Cultist hit list and NPC relationship elements from AC: Odyssey, with new elements such as forging political alliances with NPC clans. Every choice and decision of the players affects the world of the game in real time. You can travel from the cold shores of Norway to England.
Exploration also plays an important role in the game (if you want to find awesome loot) but it isn’t necessary to complete the storyline.
The RPG elements have been improved (a lot!). Instead of getting numerous weapons, armor and what-not, you get limited (but useful) items. No more wasting time to get rid of a ton of scraps.
You are now able to equip an assortment of weapons, and dual wield many of them; can also use a Hidden Blade in combat, which has not been used since AC: Origins.
You’ll be developing your own settlement and build and upgrade structures such as tattoo shops and barracks, can also recruit new members to the clan and can train your own army for raids or other missions.
You will be able to build a raiding party by recruiting non-player characters to assist with these. Though the use of naval transport has returned, naval combat has been dialed back. The longship will act more as a means of travel when performing raids and for escaping after land combat, rather than being used in combat with other naval vessels. You can also take part in activities like drinking games, hunting or traditional Norse games such as flyting (also, known as Viking Rap battles, or not) and Orlog (a board game).
RAIDS: To gather resources to expand your settlement, you’ll have to pillage Christian monasteries dotted along the various riverways of England's different kingdoms. The first few times I did this, it was exhilarating: My soldiers stormed the town, hurling torches onto thatched-roof cottages, slaughtering the guards, breaking windows, shattering pots and crates, and helping me kick down doors to get at more valuable loot. But killing innocents/priests is not tolerable, kill too many and you’ll be desynchronised.
For AC: Valhalla, Danish composer Jesper Kyd (known for AC 1, AC 2, AC: Brotherhood, AC: Revelations, Hitman Series & Borderlands) wrote the game’s music along with American composer Sarah Schachner (AC: Unity, AC: Origins, COD: Modern Warfare), and Norwegian composer Einar Selvik (TV Series: Vikings).
The music is sooooo good! I loved the music so much that it has been on my daily playlist since the release. And while you go on exploring England or Norway in the game, the background music is just mesmerising.
ALBUM LINKS: Jesper Kyd’s Valhalla music: Sons of Great North
Sarah Schachner’s Valhalla music: Twilight of the Gods
Einar Selvik’s Valhalla music: The Wave of Giants
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the most beautiful AC game till date. The newer generation consoles run the game amazingly (I don’t have it yet :/). There were a lot of bugs during the game’s release but it has been improved a lot. Set in the Viking world, the game tries to balance both the bold and captivating take on the Vikings along with the AC storyline. I loved how the game paid homage to the previous titles. I don’t know why people aren’t liking the ISU storyline being continued from AC: Odyssey but it is keeping me very much hooked to the series.
There are a lot of twists so you better complete the game and like me, you’ll be way excited on what’s to come. Even with some flaws, this game kept me interested all along. Valhalla’s storyline was a bit stretched out but once you get a hang of visiting all the areas in England, you’ll finish it soon enough. It also tries to connect and answer the questions since AC 3. Please note that a new present day protagonist gets introduced in the game as well. If you love Assassin’s Creed, then you should definitely check this one out!
TSHC's SCORE: 8/10