Ubisoft broke the trend back in 2018, announcing that there would not be a new Assasins creed game in 2019 and that they would instead spend an extra year perfecting the final chapter of Layla’s story and man did it pay off. Valhalla takes place in the year 873 AD within the setting of the highly requested Viking invasions of England and between the mix of its ridiculously large, beautiful map and the rich amount of substance and number of great characters within the story, it has combined to be one of the best AC games of all time.
The game starts you off in the shoes of a young, Scandinavian child, Eivor, who watches their family get slaughtered by a rival Viking leader. We then cut to the same young Viking but now a fully grown man (can also choose a female protagonist) and the adoptive son of the local Viking king, as he explores the beautiful yet briefly visited setting of Norway in search for answers to the strange visions he seems to be receiving from the Gods. One thing Valhalla does really well is the execution of religions within its world, as the interpretation of Norse mythology really shines through as a standout feature of the game. Furthermore, the ideas of Christianity and its roots within England and the Roman Empire are really fascinating to explore, adding to the classic ideas of science vs religion and themes of an almost modern-day renaissance so key to the series. The real story begins, however, when Eivor’s brother adoptive Sigurd seeks to create his own story separate of his father by sailing to and taking over England. So after a brief encounter with some wandering members of the assassins, Eivor sets off in hopes of new glory and riches within England.
This game is probably best described through the word MASSIVE. From its over 70 hour main story to its combined 140km² of playable terrain, Assasins Creed: Valhalla will keep you entertained for a very long time even if you aren’t one for completing all the side missions or a collectibles addict, however, this itself is also a massive improvement from the previous instalment, where side missions and discoverables are far less crammed down your throat and instead provide an actual fun storyline and challenge to complete. Additionally, the use of brand new combat mechanics including a total of 8 brand new equitable abilities at any one time and an outrageously satisfying set of kill animations make the more horde heavy fighting style the last 3 games have been starting to lean toward, even more fun. The inclusion of the brand new skill tree adds a new way to sculpt your character gaining more and more perks as the story continues through its constellation-like layout. There is a decreased emphasis on the Assasin’s side of the game as for the first half of the game, they are merely dangled above you like a cat trying to get a beam of light on the wall leaving small hints to their existence until we finally get to see them in all their glory. Although it seems to be inevitable with a game of this sheer magnitude, the beginning of the game lacks the proper pacing yet after around the 10-hour mark, it severely picks up its stride keeping you captivated at every moment.
Despite the many bugs at launch, which seems a theme synonymous with the AC franchise at this point, they don’t seem to overpower the actual gameplay with the majority of bugs being purely funny rather than game-breaking. The only issues with gameplay are sometimes within dashing when fighting and parkour. Movement is sometimes clunky and Eivor is often struggling to climb up or down supposedly easy settings, sometimes leading to enemies being alerted of your presence. However, this is not too much of a problem as Valhalla never fails you for being noticed and bashing Saxon skulls as a Viking is one of the few things which feels just as good as stealthy assassinations.
As a character Eivor is excellent, being in my top 3 AC main protagonists of all time, unfortunately, many of the side characters do not share this wealth of characterization yet this isn’t really the games fault due to many characters only appearing for a few hours as you complete an area then never being seen again, resulting in development being difficult. Layla’s arc is completed well as she earns herself the spot of the best modern-day hero yet that is not too difficult since Desmond is the only one to have anywhere near as much game time and Desmond is just… Desmond. Enough said.
Overall, the game is amazing with the world being beautiful and the story being engaging and interesting. Valhalla provides players with many opportunities to embrace your inner Viking and go crazy within England slaughtering all in your path. A couple of bugs and movement annoyances are minuscule in comparison to everything the game does right. The dark brutal natural of Viking madness has never felt so good!!!
Available for PlayStation 5 19/11/20 (PEGI 18) 4.5 Stars
Youth #Gottit View:
This is a HUGE game with loads of action and it looks absolutely stunning on the PlayStation 5. A must play for fans of the franchise!!!
PlayStation 5 review by Harrison and Con CLICK HERE!!!