Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – Review
Follow Genre: Open-World, Action-Adventure, RPG
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X
Tested on: PS4

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Atmopshere, Options, Story
Bad: Feels like certain implementations are not completely finished yet, Loads of tiny bugs
User Score
10.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

It’s been two years since we had our encounter(s) with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. The game proved to have a rich backstory and showed us how the series evolved since the original Assassin’s Creed back in 2007. This time Ubisoft decides it’s time for a more rigid setting by letting us relive the invasion of the Vikings in England. We were quite invested from the start with its interesting characters and lot of gameplay options but we noticed things were very rough around the edges at times, even rougher than the depiction of the actual Vikings in this game.

Story

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s story starts off quite simple. You’ll play as Eivor, a young Viking child that is in the midst of a celebration. Sadly, this celebration gets interrupted by a brute known as Kjotve, who raids the village and slaughter’s Eivor’s parents. You do get away, but not without the necessary scars and bruises, including a wolf bite in the neck. From henceforth you are known as Eivor the Wolf-Kissed. 17 years pass and you find yourself in the claws of Kjotve’s underlings, waiting to be traded off as a slave. Luckily, once again you escape and from here on out plan to exact your revenge on the savage manslayer.

Overall this is the beginning of the story somewhat simplified. What first seems like an entire game about revenge becomes so much more, as it actually involves the Vikings’ conquest of England. While after the first arc it doesn’t become properly clear on where the story actually wants to go, the narrative is properly handled and is actually quite nice to keep pressing onwards.

Outside the Animus, you’ll play as Layla Hassan, who appeared in the previous two games, and once again you’ll be diving in the Animus to possibly stop the end of the world. This time you’ll need to follow Eivor’s path in finding the answers.

Graphics

Ubisoft is a master of mixed-bag graphics. On one hand, we have the superb environments, the fluid motions of the characters, the sheer number of actual important characters, the customization options, the nice-looking gear, the breathtaking views, and then, on the other hand, we have crappy facial animations and a lot of tiny graphical bugs. More than once we saw our footsteps in the snow appear next to the characters’ feet, or we found ourselves clipping through objects or had to deal with other smaller graphical glitches. Nonetheless, the game does look impressive and most environments have proper textures. We did notice texture-popping, even when playing the game on a PS4 Pro. That being said, while the smaller glitches and imperfections might sometimes snap you back from your immersion, this is in fact a very pretty game.

Sound

Those who have watched the series Vikings, will actually feel right at home with the sound design of this latest AC iteration. The game uses English voices, with that slight Scandinavian accent to make things a bit more authentic. The voice actors then throw in a few actual words from that period, and then you’re basically good to enjoy this Viking-oriented adventure. The backdrop is then supported with the sounds of combat, environmental noises and of course a very cinematic soundtrack.

Gameplay

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is in the same vein as the original, an open-world action-adventure game, with many added RPG elements. Having mostly played the older games in the series, we could immediately notice that the series has come a long way from just holding your block button, in order to remain invincible, to what it is now. You have many different options to plow through the base game, be it by simply following the story quests, exploring the world, raiding settlements, building your own outpost/town or assassinating targets. We were thoroughly impressed with the sheer amount of content in this game, even if it sometimes felt like Ubisoft wants to present many things to its player-base, albeit not always perfectly executed or with all the finishing touches to make it great.

We could go into the details of every aspect of AC Valhalla, but then this review would become too convoluted and more of a guide. We can immediately state that the game has its normal mechanics and gameplay elements down to a tee. The climbing and parkours feel as if they have been properly perfected over the years. Well, getting down from certain high places can be a bit of a hassle, but you’ll have nobody to blame but you if you find yourself in such a situation.

The overall map division is also decently handled, where you cannot waddle into new territories unprepared or underleveled. The progress in the game isn’t that fast, but you’ll have more than enough chances to prove your worth in combat, and the game does allow you to pick your own playstyle. This is further emphasized by the different skill trees that allow you to pick different stat upgrades, new skills and even passive bonuses to certain set items you can wear.

On top of the basic tropes that come with the franchise, you’ll have a lot of side content to explore, ranging from assassinations of targets outside of the story quests, or the newly added base-building system. This new mechanic is one you’ll either love or hate, and while the intentions are there, and it is worth it to invest time into building your outpost, it also doesn’t really feel that innovating. Everything you build or upgrade goes into its dedicated spot, thus not really allowing you to actually build your own personal pocket-sized digital Valhalla. It is still nice to see your township in England grow as you get more and more influence, but it’s more of a pretty picture that grants you buffs and side-quests, rather than an actual town under your rule.

Just like in Rogue and Pirates you’ll actually be traversing a lot of the distance in this game over water, this time in your longboat. You’ll have your crew at the ready and will probably have a lot of difficulties steering the vessel, but it’s nicely done and you can actually let the game somewhat follow the route to your marker automatically. The latter doesn’t always work as it should, so be prepared to get stuck now and then, but overall it’s quite nice that the game has this feature. You can also do the same with your horse, when you find yourself close to roads or paths.

During our long play of Valhalla, which doesn’t mean we were able to finish everything the game has to offer, we encountered a fair amount of small bugs, ranging from hit detection problems, commands not triggering to the point that actual quests would not trigger. We had certain points where we had to follow an NPC on a small boat, where he wouldn’t do anything until we either reloaded the game, or destroyed the boat he was standing on, forcing him to swim ashore, resetting whatever he was doing. Also, at times we would basically ‘knock one out of the park’, where we would hit an enemy and he would veer off in the sky in a Team Rocket-esque kind of way, becoming nothing more than a tiny dot in the distance. Sometimes we wonder if certain of these bugs aren’t actually ‘features’ to make you laugh.

Conclusion

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is certainly a great entry in the series and with some tweaking, it could actually become a near-perfect gaming experience and the most expansive experience for the series thus far. Nonetheless, there are many things in the game that feel like they’re almost done, but not completely. That being said, the game offers a stellar story experience, hours and hours of side content and a beautiful world to explore. Certainly a fun entry for those who played the previous games, but expect a few rough edges when adopting this title early.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Assassin's Creed Valhalla - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

2 Comments

  1. […] Siege is getting a new update in this year’s season which we will be covering soon and now Assassin’s Creed Valhalla comes with its first DLC. The story begins when Eivor is summoned to Ireland by his long-lost […]

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  2. […] retiring our trusty PS4 shortly after our original Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review, we found ourselves picking up our Viking adventures on the next generation once more. While […]

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