Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS5 (Reviewed), Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One
Gene(s): Action, Adventure, RPG
Assassin’s Creed latest outing is set in the world of the Vikings as they migrate from Norway. Assassin’s Creed has a long legacy of delivering open-world action RPGs and Valhalla continues this well-trodden path.
You take the reins of Eivor, the central character in this game and his journey of being a Viking in Norway in the 9th century. From the start, you get a background to Eivor’s upbringing, his values and ideals. All these things will shape how you play the game and the choices you make. The game is a mix of wonderful huge open environments with towns, villages and cities dotted around the map. A mix of puzzles, combat and exploring the countryside and waterways too. Longships and boats are used as transport between islands. The game uses this to enhance your movement from place to place as well as horseback too. As with any Assassin’s Creed games, there is an element of stealth too which is obligatory in certain parts of the story. However, for large periods of the game, it’s up to you how you approach the world. The storyline incorporates the nomadic nature of the Vikings, their customs and beliefs.
The game is stunning, the environments, characters and all visual effects have the hallmark of an Assassin’s game. In this action RPG, you roam the world completing the main quests and side quests to level up Eivor for bigger battles and wars that will come. I found plenty of variety in the gameplay, characters and stories. I liked that animus didn’t feature as prevalent as previous outings. There was one time the game was interrupted to the modern-day, it did break the illusion of being in 9th century Norway. While I get the idea of the animus and the sci-fi elements of it plus to bring a cohesive narrative amongst the many stories, I preferred being in Eivor’s world without the animus distractions. This is a minor gripe.
Action, fighting and combat elements are intuitive and impactful, the addition of special abilities means you can custom your fight style too. The game has a rich levelling up system that allows you to build your character as you see fit. Voice acting, cutscenes and dramatic interludes enhance Valhalla, I think the developers have managed to keep all the elements of the gameplay and story well balanced and addictive.
The Xbox Series X|S / PS5 supports a performance mode which adapts the resolution to keep the game running at 60FPS. Similarly, for these consoles, there is a quality mode that maintains the best resolution while maintaining 30FPS. The game features ray-tracing and dynamic 4K. More games should adopt this, it makes the gamine experience more predictable.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is fantastic: the game has managed to mix RPG gaming elements, action gameplay, huge environments, stunning visuals, levelling up system, storytelling elements and puzzles into a cohesive game where it all fits together. Side missions and main missions all make sense. There is a wonderful cadence to the game, you become immersed in the world of the Vikings. I found it super-addictive and found myself coming back to either finish side quests or the main missions. I have to say it’s one of my favourite games of the year. Addictive gameplay, stunning voice acting, graphics and amazing action in an open world.