A decent narrative and an exceptionally well-crafted open-world environment, with mediocre character animations and dialogue.
I’ve never played any Assassin’s Creed franchise games, which is why I was thrilled to play Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. As someone that is fascinated by historic civilisations, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is undoubtedly creative. Ubisoft has definitely invested time and commitment to the game, which becomes evident from the exceptional visuals and intense open-world experience. However, what displeased me was the over-used narrative that you see almost everywhere, from movies to video-games, and the not that well-written dialogue and awkward character animations.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla provides an immersive experience that really stands out from other open-world and narrative-driven games. Unlike most people that will play the game, I haven’t played any Assassin’s Creed franchise game other than some amount of Assassin’s Creed II (which was an exceptional experience). As a result, I didn’t expect much from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. However, a new Assassin’s Creed sequel means a new narrative and a new world. After only a few hours in, I was enticed by many attributes of the game. Perhaps it was the open-world experience or the intense action, but it just had me wanting more!
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s narrative is a common one but portrayed rather well by Ubisoft. You play as Eivor, a vicious warrior wanting revenge against Kjotve, a raider that invaded Eivor’s town while he/she was still a child, and butchered his/her parents. As the narrative advances, we get to see Eivor’s hatred escalate and this becomes obvious with his/her interactions with NPCs. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s narrative is an emotional one, that revolves around family and ambition.
However, as the narrative proceeds, the sentiments slow down. This is particularly correct when Eivor finally defeats Kjotve (not even around the end). Eivor soon realizes that retribution didn’t satisfy him/her and that the real ambition still remained unaccomplished, which Eivor isn’t certain about. As a result, the narrative slows down and becomes dull. However, this isn’t to say that it always remains that way! The narrative really picks up in some instances and becomes rather auspicious. Yet, it still felt monotonous for the most part.
While the graphics of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla didn’t seem to me as being next-generation, the details and reflections of the open-world environment are still really well-rendered. This comes as no surprise! Almost all of the games that Ubisoft has developed, graphics and features are the utmost priority. I was particularly impressed by the ambient lighting and environmental details in the game. For instance, the game has near-precise snow details, which are rather pleasant to observe. Ubisoft went above and beyond to craft an accurate and realistic open-world environment and it shows!
As far as the optimization on PC is concerned, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is really well-optimized for older hardware. I was able to run the game at 1080p @ 60 FPS on almost maximum graphics settings even with four-year-old NVIDIA GTX 1070 8GB. Needless to say, the game is GPU-intensive! Even if you have a relatively older PC, you should still be able to experience the “ultimate Viking fantasy” in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
If there’s one thing that Ubisoft has always been praised for, it’s the well-crafted and realistic open-world environments that we experience in most of their games. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is no exception! While the world of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is nowhere as expansive as other prominent open-world games, such as Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the artistic visuals and lifelike atmosphere really make up for it.
Gallivanting around the snowy mountains on a horse or venturing on the sea and raiding nearby townships is a new experience and an enjoyable one at that. You can interact with NPCs around Valhalla and complete side-quests for them. There are many possibilities for exploration and you can uncover many secrets as you roam around the widespread world. If you’re someone that prefers an adventuresome open-world experience, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is for you! It really takes you back to what it was like being a Viking warrior in Norway, in the 9th Century.
While the soundtrack isn’t a benchmark for the overall experience of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, I did find it rather pleasant. Not many narrative-driven games focus on composing an artistic but Ubisoft has really spent their time with this one! It just pleases you; to launch the game and be embraced with exquisite instrumental music. The soundtrack of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is sort of a blend between that of A Plague Tale: Innocence and Game of Thrones. If you loved either of those soundtracks, this one will be close to your heart.
Combat in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a subjective matter! While it was satisfying for me, it may be unsettling for others. The game is focused more on being an RPG, unlike its predecessors. Similar to other Assassin’s Creed franchise games, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has a points-based system; you complete missions, earn skill points and use them to enhance your abilities. As such, the more you enhance the abilities, the more you level your character (Eivor) up. Similarly, adversaries don’t have certain levels either. You may run into a difficult opponent or a mediocre one; there’s no way of being certain!
However, the combat in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is never dull or bland. Unlike other RPGs that base their combat in an open environment, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s combat takes place in small environments and you have to make your way to the boss. The game forces you to, both, encountering opponents and demolishing the defences of the adversaries and lead your clan into the enemy’s fortifications. There are also many finishers to choose from when ending your opponents, such as grabbing their shields and shoving it into their faces or throwing your axes at them. Needless to say, the combat in the game is a satisfying experience! There is also an increased amount of bloody animations in the game, which really compliments the combat.
Since Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is based on stealth and exploration, you have the option to use Odin Sight, a raven that soars in the skies, to find hidden locations or spot enemies. The premise of Odin Sight is the same as Eagle Vision in previous Assassin’s Creed franchise games; it’s a bird that you can command. While the controls were problematic and had their flaws, Odin Sight is a really convenient feature that allows you to mark your opponents behind fences and search for valuable items. Apart from the intended attributes of Odin Sight, it just feels wondrous to soar around Valhalla and experience all the well-crafted visuals that Ubisoft has incorporated into the game.
One of the more enjoyable aspects of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are the creative mini-games that you can play with NPCs around the town. Whether you want to have a drink-off with a comrade or play a match of dice, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s mini-games are, both, likeable and pleasant. They’re certainly a remarkable way to pass time!
Is It The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt?
It would be a lie if I said that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s open-world experience didn’t feel like that of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. From riding a horse to completing side-missions, the similarities between both games are uncanny! Needless to say, the game is meant to be a new and unparalleled experience. However, the more I explored the expansive world of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the more it took me back to the days of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The snow-covered mountains, the murky forests and the vibrant plantations; you can’t help but wonder — is it The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt?Not really! The game does have many similarities to The Witcher 3: Wild Hut but I wouldn’t call it a duplicate. There are still many aspects of the game that stand out from other RPGs, which makes Assassin’s Creed Valhalla an innovative experience.
Does Assassin’s Creed Valhalla live up to the expectations? Well, yes! At its core, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is as Ubisoft intends it to be; an immersive narrative-driven experience that is the “ultimate Viking fantasy”. As someone that has never played any of the previous Assassin’s Creed franchise games, I didn’t find much of the assassin premise in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. However, on its own, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is an incredible game that may just make it into the most-prominent games of the year. If you’ve played Assassin’s Creed Origins or Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, you’ll be at home with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. However, compared to the initial Assassin’s Creed franchise games, you won’t find many associations.
Purchase Assassin’s Creed Valhalla from Ubisoft’swebsite!