My 130 Hours with Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
If you follow me on socials you know I love me some Assassin’s Creed, I don’t hide that fact at all. But before I jump into the latest game in the long running franchise let me give you a little bit of backstory. I never finished Assassin’s Creed 1 never made it past the 8 hour mark cause I got frustrated with being seen and consistently attacked by just walking around so i gave up. The sequel I never even played with it came out but did years later and I liked the protagonist (Ezio) a lot which seems to be a popular opinion but I never played the follow up games Brotherhood or Revelations and to be honest I can’t remember why either. I skipped Assassin’s Creed 3 cause of the horrible reviews and videos on line about its ”Jank” so instead saw the story play out via Youtube. Then the Xbox One released and I needed a game to play and there it was released a month earlier on Xbox 360 but Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. One of my top five video games of all time. I got deep into the lore, the story, the gameplay, and being a badass pirate. From that i point I’ve played every main line game in the series since. Syndicate was a lot of fun and I enjoyed my time with the Frye twins, Unity had some issues at launch okay maybe more then some but I didn’t play it until 6 months later after numerous patches. I to this day still enjoyed doing co-op missions with other Assassin’s. Never touched Rouge but i hear I should since its really a Templar game. Then they announced a ”Beginnings” trilogy of games with Assassin’s Creed Origins set in Egypt and the very start of the Hidden Ones and I was hooked all over again. 60+ hours in Origins, then another 98 hours with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. I fell in love with Kassandra and her story, playing and completing all the base game and DLC to which there was a lot. I connected with her so much that I wasn’t ready to move on to the final game in the trilogy I still wanted to play as her and see more of her story but alas it wasn’t meant to be. My time in Mercia was upon me and it was time to see Eivor’s story. To Valhalla we go!
Where do I even begin with this. The first 4 hours it wasn’t clicking for me at all, I even went on Twitter to whine a bit about it cause I was still wanting to play as Kassandra but I pushed through and eventually wanted to see more of Eivor and Sigurd’s (The Brother) story. You started in Norway as expected with being a Viking but the main story is about going to greater lands to settle in and be free. Mercia (England) and all its surround areas East Anglia, Wessex, and Northumbria to name a few. Each area had you pledging to free that area of its Saxxon ruler and thats where the fun starts. Each are had the same gameplay loop of start the quest and help the people get free and transfer power or pledge to help your settlement (Raventhrope) and each would provide a bit of the games overall story which is Izu lore mixed with norse gods. You get to go to Asgard in a few mission! That was kind of dope but I’ve played God of War (2018) so it was nice to see a different studio tackle the mythology.
The whole map is very Ubisoft so you know to expect lots of icons to check off. And boy let me tell you there are so many! I didn’t do most of them. Each area I got about 55% completed but I was mainly playing for the story which hooked me. Family fighting against their destiny and the liberation of old England. There was quite a few differences from the previous game and this one. Lets tackle a few that stood out to me.
Gear was far and few between for me during my time with Valhalla vs Odyssey. I totaled up just a hand full of armor pieces this time around where last game I was breaking it down and selling them like crazy. Hard to believe for some but I only ever found 4 different Helms (helmets) in this game so i upgraded the one that best suited my play style. Which leads me to another thing All the gear/weapons were broken down by only 3 categories. Bear, Raven, Wolf, which translated to Melee, Range, and Stealth play types you could mix and match but if you wanted the full outfit (5 pieces to a set) then you were gonna get an overall buff to that play style. I ended up playing Wolf gear for 90% of the game until i got some an Asgard outfit of a certain Avenger.
The Cult has returned again in the form of The Order of the Ancients. Which brings with it more of the Hidden One’s story as well which I was invested in since AC: Origins. Zealots would hunt you down similar to the bounty hunters from Odyssey but this time you could pick to not have them fight you on sight and they would go about their day until you were ready to fight them. Most were level 60+ so I had to wait quite a bit to fight them. The main Order members were mainly apart of the story even some taking me far west to Vinland (North America) and that was kind of cool. Just imagine Event Tide Island from Breath of the Wild but better and bigger. The plot twist with the head of the Order I’ll be honest I didn’t see it coming but was happy with how it played out.
The Skill Tree and Abilities return here as well and they make you work for them this time around, the abilities I mean. The skill tree is very very massive and is kind of intimidating at first but once you start to hone in on your play style you’ll know where to put your points. Mine was in Ranged attacks so most my skill points went to that at the start of the game. Abilities were far and few for me for the first 10 or so hours. None stood out to me at first but I equipped them none the less. I eventually found Books of Knowledge around the map and those unlocked new abilities for me so it made the fights a lot more engaging. You could redo the skill tree at any point in the game as well if you feel you messed it up and weren’t getting what you wanted out of it. Which was something I thought was a cool option but never did myself.
What kept me invested was the main quest of the game but also the side quest known as Mysteries this time around. They had me entertained quite a bit. There was all kinds! To name a few I was playing Hide n Seek, drinking, battle rapping, playing a board game, running races, brawling to the death, ending curses, fishing, stacking stones, finding paintings on stones, and having out of body visions! It was wild! each area provided some of the same kind of side quest but they all had a few that stood out to be different. I enjoyed them when i would stumble upon them. They rarely lasted longer then 5-10 mins I’d say so it was nice to break up the intense encounters with Fluke with a good old Battle Rap.
Building up your settlement was made to be such a huge deal at the start of the game but about 30 hours in I stopped doing it and just went after the main story missions. The best way to level up your settlement was with Raids. Those were fun for the first few times but I quickly grew tired of doing them until the end game where I was wanting to finish getting my settlement to level 6. Raids are pretty straight forward, you take your ship out on the river and find icons (red axes) along the riverbed and sail up and start. Raiding a town, fort, or castle sometimes and getting all the supplies and loot for your settlement. They were fun but got a bit drawn out. I never played the expanded Raid stuff they added so maybe I’ll jump back in my ship and hit the rivers again.
If you’ve made it this far in my write up you pretty much get the idea that I loved this game a lot. It blew me away with its story, gameplay loop, and quest. All the side missions, gears, raids, and hidden items kept me coming back over and over. I’ve logged according to Ubisoft 130 hours in Valhalla. I haven’t started the Druids DLC either. The gameplay I didn’t touch on really cause its similar except we can dual wield in this game which I did by using a Thunder Hammer and the Sword in the Stone. Light attacks, strong attacks, stealth assassinations, and ranged bow attacks pretty much some up the methods of killing in this game. I get why some miss the full stealth style gameplay but to me this latest trilogy made me a fan of action/rpg/stealth gameplay. You can still play the game with one hit assassinations on and pretty much adjust everything to make it very very stealth oriented if you’d like so I recommend messing around with the options before you start your journey.
The way the story ended I was like ”HELL NO!” but I understood it, I almost laughed at it. I was being played the same way I was playing the game. My time in Merica was amazing and I’m still playing it actually! I keep going back to finish up areas, DLC, and find out whats next for my Viking family. The game is worth your time if you like open world action rpg’s, heck the whole trilogy is I think. I hope you enjoyed reading about me gushing over this series/game. Until next time. May we roam Valhalla forever.