For the past few years, the Assassin’s Creed series has gone through an identity crisis. Following the mixed response to Unity and Syndicate, the series went through a slight overhaul by going action-adventure game to more of an RPG (a la The Witcher 3).
The start of the Assassin’s Creed RPG began in 2017 with the release of AC: Origins then continued with AC: Odyssey and now Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.
According to Ubisoft, the game is about:
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is an ambitious action role-playing game that places player choice and exploration at the center of the experience. Throughout the world, players will encounter gameplay challenges, unique and surprising characters with unforgettable stories and a variety of breathtaking landscapes to set foot on. Players will have the ability to customize their character’s hair, tattoos, war paint, weapons and gear, in addition to the option of switching between male or female Eivor at any time. Political alliances, combat decisions and dialogue choices can influence the world of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, so players must choose wisely to protect their clan’s home and future.
If you’ve played AC: Origins or AC: Odyssey, then you’ll feel right at home with the gameplay of Valhalla. The series has taken a heavy influence from RPGs like The Witcher 3, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.
Before beginning your adventure in Valhalla, there are a number of accessibility options you can shoot from including Exploration Difficulty, Stealth Difficulty and Combat Difficulty. These will help make your playthrough harder or easier depending on your playstyle. You can adjust these at any time.
You can use LT to aim your bow and arrow, LB for left-hand attacks, RB for light attacks and to assassinate and RT for heavy attacks and to shoot your bow. New for Valhalla is the addition of a stamina bar which will deplete faster when using heavy attacks vs light attacks.
If you run out of stamina and keep trying to attack, you’ll lose some of your health as well.
In terms of weapons, there are a number of different ones include axes, swords, shield, hammers etc. Each of these weapons can be upgraded at the blacksmith and you can attach runes to enable special abilities.
While in past Assassin’s Creed games, you were controlling one or two protagonists, in Vahalla you’re playing as two versions of Eivor (either male or female) and you can swap between each version at any time.
Just like other RPGs, you can upgrade your character via the game’s skill tree and you can re-spec your skill tree at any time.
Another similarity to other western RPGs is building a settlement. Once your clan makes its way from Norway to England, you’ll be able to start to establish your settlement. From there, you can unlock different buildings such as the Assassin Bureau, Fisherman hut, Stables and more.
Most of the quests in Valhalla will have you going to meet a certain character, talk to them and they’ll give you a task to do, whether that’s raiding a local village etc. During some of the quests, you’ll be sometimes be given a choice that affects apart of the story later on and the game’s ending.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is running at 4K resolution with HDR on the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. For this review, I played the game on the Xbox One X.
Visually, the game looks stunning, all the details in the environments and the people within them look great. There are little details in the game that make it more immersive, like creating a trail of footprints walking through the snow or swimming in the Norway waters will make your character cold and affect their health.
While Ubisoft has made improvements to the game, Valhalla still just feels like a refinement of Odyssey and Origins before it. Sure it’s a new location but it’s starting to feel like the same thing again: go do this quest, attack these enemies, loot what’s left and gain skill points to level up. I’m starting to miss the gameplay of older Assassin’s Creed where stealth and actual assassinations played a bigger part in the story.
An Xbox One review code of the game was provided ahead of launch by the game’s publisher, Ubisoft.
- Looks visually stunning
- Massive open-world
- Can switch between male and female Eivor at anytime
- The Settlement adds an interesting element to the game
- Great story with player choice
- Repetitive quests
- The story is slow-paced
- Stamina bar wasn’t a great addition