Let’s get rid of the bad stuff first. If you want to see the game in action, go watch my playlist with AC Valhalla gameplay.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a story about vikings, but you know that. Let’s go though some flaws, and we begin with the empty open world mess. The world of Valhalla is big, maybe not as big as Odyssey but it’s big. With a big map comes responsibilities, something Ubisoft have always been really bad at. Except for the questing, raiding and farming for resources (more of this later) there is nothing. I have
not discovered a single discovered 2 random encounters during my 6 16 hours of gameplay. I have also not played a lot of the main story or unlocked the map but, I have been free roaming for 10 hours and questing for 6. Compare this with for example RDR2 where you encounter random people everywhere. Ubisoft had a chance here but blew it, big time.
Back to the resource farming. Yeah, you can just buy resources in the in-game shop and shortcut your way to max out your gear. Why Ubisoft, why? I get the cosmetics and all but really, buy resources for real money? Way to make players skip content…
Parkour have always been a big thing in Assassin’s Creed. It’s their trademark. The parkour in Valhalla, I must say I’m disappointed, it honestly feel worse than in Odyssey and sometimes make no sense. You character can climb 90 degree frozen mountains that would probably be covered in ice, while sometimes struggles with hanging on to ledges and end up falling to his/her death. Not to mention the free running where your character more often than not runs the way you don’t want to, especially if there is a lot going on like on rooftops with ropes and such. But, once you get used to it’s not bad, just not as good as other AC titles.
Maybe this will unlock the more I play. During my 6 hours I have discovered 3 side quests, THREE! Hence the “empty” world part. Ubisoft have instead decided to fill the world with treasure, puzzles and enemy camps. Do one of each and you have done them all. It’s all the same except for some few that will make you work a little. For example, I found a treasure and a locked chest. In order to open I had to find a key. I found small clues lying around in form of notes which in the end led me to a pack of wolves that had killed the owner of the chest who had the key. Kill the wolves, get the key. But yeah, overall extremely repetitive and quickly becomes boring. Again, no random encounters or side quests along the way.
Main quest is on the other hand very fulfilling so far. You start of as a pure viking, no sneak skills or assassins blade. You unlock that as you get deeper into the main quest and meet the classic assassins from the Creed. They eventually teach you the art of sneak and assassinations. I like this a lot. It makes sense than brutal viking would not be using sneak attacks and raining death from above. I’m sure there’s more to discover later on in the main quest line since I have yet come to point where I have my own settlement.
Probably one of the more fun things you can do in the game. I have only raided two settlements so far. One in the main quest line and one at random where my crew on the boat yelled out that there is a settlement near by that we can raid. It’s fun, seeing your crew slaughter enemies, hearing the panic and go straight into brutal combat. It’s not about stealth here, it’s about killing everything that is not on your side, and it’s something no AC title have done before. I’m told you can later raid monasteries and other things to add perks to your settlement.
Graphics and sound
The graphics are what to expected from a 2020 release. It’s far from next gen and again reminds more of Odyssey than something released in late 2020. Hair looks outdated and textures sometime screams with their lack of detail. But, it’s ok and doesn’t dissapoint (too much)
Sound is nothing I really can’t complain about. Everything from sound effect when running on different ground materials like snow, gravel, rock and so on. And as mentioned earlier all the chaos going on while raiding, screams in the background, arrow whooshing and blades bashing against each other. It’s enjoyable. And the best part, the music. The main theme is so good I would call it “Skyrim good”. They have really caught the old Nordic and Scandinavian theme and it’s spot on.
Gameplay and bugs
Gameplay overall is mediocre, going back to the empty repetitive world of Valhalla. There’s enough to keep you busy and exploring (unless you buy resources with real money!!!) if you don’t mind doing the same thing over and over. I’ve had times where I have been attacked by bears, they smack me so hard I fall down, twice, because the map didn’t think I fell down properly so my character would float for one second, turn around and the fall down again. Like mentioned earlier about parkour, there was a ledge I jumped to in order to avoid an enemy, my character clearly grabs on to the ledge but then decided to let go and fall 500,000,000 feet to her death. There are many more small bugs and weird things going on, but I don’t expect too much from a Ubisoft game anymore.
Skills and combat
Combat feels great overall. All the small finishers and the ways you can assassinate feel flushed out and actually one of the better AC titles when it comes to assassinations. If you assassinate someone from around a corner, you character will drag the enemy around the corner to where you started the assassination. Same if you assassinate from tall grass or from ledges. Overall good.
And let’s not leave out the dual wielding mechanics. It’s great! Axe in your main hand, shield in the other, switch hands and you have a shiled in your main hands and get access to whole other attacks. Or why not dual wield axes, swords, flails and much more. Or just run around with a big two hander and wreck havock.
Skills I must say is the best I have seen in a AC title so far, You do not get attack skills like in Odyssey. You must first choose a patch and then unlock minor passives like more health, more attack power, ranged power and so on. When you have unlocked a certain amount in that specific path you unlock a more powerful passive skills that take effect during certain situations. For example if you choose the sneak path you must first unlock more health, more assassination power and so on, that gives you access to a skill that make time slow a few seconds every time you successfully dodge a attack. Other paths unlock power attacks on other paths unlock ranged based skills. You must choose you path wisely this time around because some skills are also gear dependent, meaning some skills will only benefit if you wear bear armor or wolf armor. But then again, the game does offer you a way to reset all skill points so you can start over if you made a mistake, no need to start a new game.
And then we have the abilities, the ones that you can manually in combat. Those have to be found, so it’s not like the Matrix this time around where you magically learn a new ability just by leveling up. Abilities must be found and chosen in the ability screen. If you find more of the same ability that ability will be upgraded. It makes more sense and make for a more complete skill and ability tree.
I will update this review later on when I played some more and if things turn out better or worse. Like mentioned, I only have 6 hours and have been more focused on free roam than main quest. But overall, lack of side quests and random events with lazy attempts to fill the world with repetitive farming, treasure hunting and puzzles.