It’s finally here!
Beautiful. Brutal. Epic. Ambitious. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is everything I hoped for and more.
Beautiful. From the snowy and mountainous lands of Norway, to the forests and castles of England, this game is breathtakingly beautiful. As with all Assassin’s Creed games, you can see the amount of detail and research that has gone into each location. You can spend hours taking virtual selfies in photo mode, amongst some of the most stunning in-game landscapes you have ever seen.
Brutal. The combat in this game is simply and utterly brutal. There are limbs flying and heads rolling, and more spear impalement than you will ever need (I’m just joking… it never gets old). Much like its newer breed of predecessors, Origins and Odyssey, Valhalla uses a more RPG-like combat system, and this is emphasised with its new use of a stamina bar. This adds a different level of skill and concentration to your combat encounters and boss battles. All this, along with an incredible new set of skills, make for a fluid and fun system of melee, that will have you slaying for days. But fear not, you can still assassinate your foes with the use of the iconic hidden blade or take down your enemies from afar with a bow. Valhalla has truly dialled in with its “play your way” system, and its immense skill and upgrade tree truly reflects this.
Epic. This game is set after the times of Ragnar Lodbrok; a historic character whom you may or may not know of because of the series Vikings. Along your journey, you will meet many myths and legends from times long past. My favourite so far has been the bloodthirsty Ivar, son of Ragnar. He’s hilarious… for all the wrong reasons. Then there was the encounter with Grendel, from the legend of Beowulf, which has managed to leave a lasting impression with a story that I was already very familiar with. And, simply, Asgard! We get to wander the lands of the gods and walk among them, completing quests and doing battle with the Jotunn… with a story line that I am pretty sure is leading to Ragnarok…
Ambitious. It’s big… like, really big. While not feeling as overwhelmingly packed as Odyssey, I would say that Valhalla is equal to its scale and content. And despite its scale, aside from a small issue of screen tearing on the Xbox, this game runs very smoothly (Xbox one). Although, on current gen, loading times have been reported to be a problem. I’m sure Ubisoft will remedy these annoyances in the form of a patch, but for now I have not found the game to be in any way unplayable.
This is just the beginning of my journey in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, and I am sure that I am going to be spending a while on it, absorbing every bit the game has to offer. Having played all of the series before it, and finishing most, I can confidently say that this is the best one yet. They have incorporated the old and the new, and added even more. I shall return here in the near future, with a game complete and a saga to tell.