‘Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla’ smashes expectations

'Assassin's Creed: Valhalla' releases for the Xbox, Playstation,Stadia, and PC.

The Gamer

‘Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla’ releases for the Xbox, Playstation,Stadia, and PC.

Daniel Legita, Staff Writer

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is a new installment in the Assassin’s Creed series that continues its progression into an open-world RPG from Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and Origins before it. 

Ubisoft, the developers of the Assassin’s Creed series, makes a bold effort in this game to give players an exciting, interactive experience with a massive reimagination of Dark Ages England — beautifully presented in 4k quality on the Xbox Series X. Despite some issues within the game, like unpleasant mechanics or several bugs, Valhalla delivers to its players an atmospheric and engaging storytelling experience.

Eivor is the protagonist of Valhalla who demonstrates one of the game’s best aspects; the superb writing and character performances really drive the plot in a way that is emotionally moving as well as entertaining. This is absolutely due to the great-looking character models and superb voice acting that combine to make the story truly immersive. 

Players follow Eivor on a quest of vengeance and wealth to England in order to form alliances and conquer enemies in order to protect their freshly-landed homestead in a brilliant, foreign land. This conquest is decorated with tough decisions, truly brutal combat, colorful worldbuilding, and a fresh, exciting interpretation of Norse mythology.

The gameplay honors many of the traditional aspects of the previous games, but emphasizes the more historical storytelling started in Origins. Players have the opportunity of roaming the beautiful English countryside and forging through the Scandinavian waters, finding themselves in scuffles between Saxons, Norse, Danes and others.

The depth of the multipart main story quests is very enjoyable as well as the seemingly endless side story quests. Combat is very smooth and the assassin playstyle is still available to players who want it. The game is friendly to newer players but also provides its challenges to long-time veterans of the series.

This entry is not without its problems, however. The game encounters hard crashes and movement glitches multiple times during the playthrough, the latter happening quite often on staircases. Unlike previous Assassin’s Creed titles, new abilities are unlocked through Books of Knowledge which means much of the complexity of the battles is lost if these aren’t found earlier in the game.

Despite that, after hours of playing the game, those bugs and features are barely noticeable interruptions to what is a masterful work of game design and storytelling. When the game is so massive and immersive, it’s hard to criticize the game over small details.

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is a big, bold and ridiculously beautiful entry to the series that finally delivers on the much-requested era of the Viking and the messy, political melting pot of England’s Dark Ages. It walks a fine line between historical tourism, top-shelf conspiracy theory, and veiled mysticism against the backdrop of a grounded and focused story. Fresh takes on several of the series’ established loot and quest systems help to keep the things fluid and nuanced.

While it may not be the most stylish or polished, its rugged and brutal look at the muddy business of Scandanavian expansion is as memorable and dense as an Assassin’s Creed has ever been, and it makes great use of the new consoles.