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REVIEW: Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla — The Witcher Killer?

 
 
Overview
 

Published by: Ubisoft
 
Developed by: Ubisoft Montreal
 
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 Stadia Windows Xbox One Xbox Series X/S PlayStation 5 Luna
 
Genre(s): Action role-playing
 
Mode(s): Single-player
 
Game Type: , , , , , , ,
 
FG RATING
90%
90/ 100


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

Raves


Breathtaking Environments. Vast open-world teeming with activity. Strong action RPG elements.

Rants


Suffer's occasional minor bugs.


0
Posted November 9, 2020 by

Assassin’s Creed: Origins marked the beginning of the franchise’s pivot into open-world action-adventure. We’ve seen a better vision of it with Odyssey, and with Valhalla, the series now looks to be a fully-fledged open-world action RPG more so than ever before. More specifically, it manages to improve all the aspects we hope to see in games of this genre whilst also reviving some of what Assassin’s Creed was at its core. 

STORY

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Screenshot 2020.11.08 - 02.46.59.91-min

The game follows the story of Eivor and her clan in their quest to claim wealth and glory in England and the challenges they face on their way. Though the overarching modern-day storyline may require experience in the previous games to follow, they’re fortunately brief, few, and far in between. That said, Eivor’s main campaign, and even including the side stories, were actually more engaging than I expected. The storylines feel more rooted and are entertaining to follow. Likely much to do with the better performances from the cast and improved cutscenes and motion capture across all the gameplay cutscenes. Also, Norse Mythology is awesome as hell, and Valhalla incorporates some of those mythical themes into the game as well!

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Screenshot 2020.11.08 - 15.56.50.94-min

Ubisoft really upped the ante on their storytelling quality this time around as I found myself engaged in all conversations and cutscenes more so than I did from the last two Assassin’s Creed games. Similar to Odyssey, you can pick to play as either male or female Eivor, but a great new feature allows you to be able to switch between genders. This is a great new addition that allows you to experience the best of both worlds without having to start a fresh new save.

GAMEPLAY

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Screenshot 2020.11.08 - 14.43.05.16

Stealth, which was once the primary gameplay aspects of the series, has long since taken a secondary role since the last two games. And though it has, it’s certainly still part of the core experience. Assassin’s Creed has since gone with the more Action RPG approach similar to the Middle-Earth and The Witcher 3, and Valhalla refine this formula even further rivaling the best in the genre.

One of the most interesting changes I noticed is with weapon slots. You can now assign any weapon to your primary (right) and secondary (left) hand, whilst two-handed weapons get slotted to both. You can even equip two shields if you wanted to, which is something that you previously could only do in Souls games. With a shield on your secondary, you can hold the left arm button to block while tapping it allows you to parry. You can still parry with a secondary weapon but holding the button does a special move instead, based on what weapon type and combo you have on. Your primary has your standard light (right shoulder) and heavy (right trigger) attacks. Holding the Right trigger gives you access to 4 melee abilities that you set.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Screenshot 2020.11.08 - 02.21.20.95-min

These abilities are found as collectibles in the open world, however, you can still unlock certain abilities via the Skill tree. The skill tree this time around is a lot less simple. You earn points by leveling up and spend those points on nodes that grant passive boosts and unlock new nodes. These nodes eventually lead to an unlockable ability, centered around the three main aspects: melee, ranged, and stealth. You can respec your character at any time but the limited points you earn based on your level forces you to commit to a certain playstyle which to me is actually a super positive thing.

Now obviously, you can eventually level up high enough to unlock all these nodes, but progression in Valhalla means you’ll probably need to log hundreds of hours to get to that point. That said, the progression is at a good pace, not boosting you too fast that the game becomes mundane, but not slow enough to leave you wanting. The same goes for upgrading equipment and building new structures at base.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Screenshot 2020.11.08 - 22.03.30.74-min

Like the true Vikings of old, raiding and expanding is a core part of Valhalla. You can build new structures in your base to unlock new services and other benefits. Some game features and even quest progression are locked behind them. In order to build these, you’ll need to do Raids on enemy settlements to acquire the necessary resources. These raids play out pretty standard, you hit up a settlement with your crew and ransack the place clean. While your out looking for places to pillage, you may even come across mysterious places of interest, which usually have short albeit interesting quests and loot similar to what you’d normally find in the wilds of The Witcher 3. These points of interest add a great deal of value to exploration which is good news considering the world of Valhalla is vast. There are a few main areas such as Norway and England that are absolutely huge to explore. Your main flow of gameplay would be to Raid, Upgrade, Synchronize, Loot, Hunt, and even Play. Valhalla is packed with side activities that are actually quite fun and I never found them boring or tedious to play through.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Screenshot 2020.11.08 - 14.52.51.50-min

Equipment sets are also a thing, wearing full sets or 2 separate partial sets can give you access to certain bonuses which can change the way you play, or cater to your own playstyle. There is definitely a lot of things to do and discover within the massive open-world.

VISUALS & PERFORMANCE

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Screenshot 2020.11.08 - 21.15.54.79-min

From promos and teasers showed prior to release, I was very underwhelmed by how the game looked. But after having played the game, it’s clear that the initial gameplay clips really didn’t do the game any justice. It still feels very familiar to Odyssey, but it’s stacked with multiple layers of subtle enhancements and visual effects that create very immersive and breathtaking sceneries. Face models from the last game were good, but Valhalla’s feel a lot more refined, including the way they move during conversations, no longer feeling too unpolished or robotic.

VERDICT

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Screenshot 2020.11.08 - 02.06.07.73

Valhalla is a very fun open-world action-adventure RPG. An experience that I haven’t quite felt since The Witcher 3. There, I said it. Though The Witcher still takes the cake on better quests and story, Valhalla certainly boasts a sweet package of vast visually breathtaking open-world, rewarding progression system, and satisfying combat and stealth. If you’re a fan of open-world adventures like The Witcher, Ghost of Tsushima, or the last two Assassin’s Creed games, this is definitely not one to miss. Definitely. 


Dian Raval

 
Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


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