Every year we all have something to look forward to: Christmas, Thanksgiving, a birthday, and Ubisoft dropping another Assassins Creed title. Assassin’s Creed made its debut back in 2007 and the saga has continued with 22 additional Assassin’s Creed’s titles since then. The newest addition to the famous IP is Assassins Creed Valhalla, this new title was released alongside the next-gen Xbox with hopes that this could be one of the main selling points for the Xbox Series X. With Halo: Infinite being delayed well into 2021 or possibly 2022. Valhalla was a title that really needed to stand out on this console for it to be an initial success. With the only other release titles for the system being Gears Tactics, as well as a few other older Xbox titles that were enhanced for the Series X.
I was one of the lucky ones to be able to preorder and pickup my Series X on day one, alongside my Xbox the game I decided to purchase was Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. So the question is does this title follow in the footsteps of the previous titles we have come to know, or do they make enough changes to get there player base once again engaged is this long running series? To this point I have only put in 15 or so hours of this game, I will be giving you my initial thoughts so far and if I think this game has changed enough to keep me playing or will it be collecting dust on my shelf after a short play through.
To give you some information on the title itself without giving too much away, you play as Eivor which can either be played as a male or female protagonist. This story is set during the Viking invasion on England, the storyline follows the main character Eivor and (his or her) adoptive brother Sigurd. Sigurd is the son of the current Lord of Norway who is expected to take over to lead at the end of his father’s reign. Eivor and Sigurd two of the most Fierce Norse warriors are in command of the village underneath the rule of Sigurd’s father. During this time your clan the Raven clan has been under attack and losing warriors and land to the rival leader Kjotve. I do not want to give away too much about Kjotve (it will ruin the beginning story for you.)
Because of this ongoing fight with Kjotve you receive a visit from King Harald. He insists on helping you take out Kjotve and his men to make peace within the lands due to these fights causing problems within his part of the land. Eventually you sail to Kjotve village with the help of Harald’s men to challenge Kjotve in single combat. Once you defeat him and make your way back to your clan, King Harald holds a feast in the hall where he announces he wants to be the King of all Norway. Sigurd’s father decides to kneel to him and let him take over power, which rises tensions with his son. Upon a disagreement King Herald gives you the option to leave Norway if you are unwilling to bend the knee to him.
This intro story line is about a 3-4 hour long tutorial basically but also throws you into a deep story where you really connect with the characters and really opens everything up. To end the tutorial you decide to sail to England with Sigurd and his men to start a new life with Sigurd under rule. With the story line broken down for you I would like to go over a few topics to breakdown some of the major areas of the game to see if this title is for you.
GRAPHICS & GAMEPLAY
Unlike the previous titles in the series Assassins Creed Valhalla adds some new features to the game, while also keeping some older elements intact. When you sail into England you end up at your new Home. (HUB area) This area you decide to take over used to be a settlement for the sons of Ragnar, when you explore this area you realize it has been quite some time since the brothers and his men have been at the encampment, which leaves you and your men to rebuild the base from the ground up.
This is the new addition to the game that I absolutely loved. There is a Plethora of buildings that you must obtain materials for by raiding monasteries, English settlements surrounded by soldiers, as well as other random locations throughout the map. Once you raid, kill, and collect all materials within these places, you can sail back to you settlement and choose which buildings you would like to construct first.
You have a huge range of options from a Blacksmiths hut, Cartographer, trading post, to even a tattoo shop. The raids themselves give you the largest supply of materials and are also the biggest challenge you will face at least to the point I have made it. But they are also the most intriguing and fun battles to take part in. With this massive gorgeous world they needed to also keep things interesting throughout, there is nothing worse than these massive games that just feel empty with limited things to do but explore.
In this title they kept the same formula like within the older Assassin Creed titles, but also added some other elements to always keep you searching for certain artifacts. There are bubble points throughout the map coded by different colors; each color represents a different artifact. The gold points refer to wealth, and can also contain Skills for your character. A blue point refers to a mystery area, so far I have done a couple and at each location I have ran into a different scenario each time. Such as entering an anomaly, or eating a mushroom and trying to solve a puzzle while you’re on cloud nine. And last is the white points which refer to artifacts, I have figured out the significance of these besides collecting reasons.
Next up are the graphics and how the game runs, well I have great news for you. Running on the Xbox Series X this game is absolutely beautiful. The lighting in the game is unreal and will literally take your breath away at certain times. It really showcases what these new consoles can do. They really thought of everything graphically speaking, the way you boots interact with the snow, or the smoke that come off the candles when burning in the houses, or even the breath from a character when it’s cold out. Just to give you a sneak peek at what I am referring to when talking about the lighting, I captured a screenshot to share which I will post below once I cover the movement and combat.
The Xbox Series X has enhanced Assassins Creed to run at 60FPS 4k native. The movement on this game is absolutely perfect and is needed in this type of game with all the quick dodges and strikes you will need to make in all these heated battles. I have not run into any issues with screen tearing, pop up, or frame rate dips. The combat is where I feel like they kept the same formula as the previous titles, and that is not a negative on the game. One of the main reasons I have always purchased the newest Assassins Creed is due to its combat system.
There are two major differences in this title that enhance this game for me compared to all the others. The first being the skill tree is absolutely massive, there are so many different builds and directions you can take to shape Eivor the way you want to play him. The other is the ability skill line. To obtain these abilities like Axe throw, or sleeping arrows you need to raid gold point settlements to achieve them. Not all gold points will have the abilities available, and when they are at these locations they really put you to the test. Some of these abilities are hidden underground or deep within temples, which leads to some pretty challenging puzzles to find your way to retrieve them.
After my 15 or so hour play through session is Assassins Creed Valhalla a game worth continuing or telling you to go out and spend your hard earned money on? I am gonna have to say yes, to me this game is a must buy to this point for me, Ubisoft really put all their stock into developing this title and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Once I get playing I don’t want to stop and this is the first game im excited for the DLC to drop so I can continue on with the exciting story and raid these new areas. I have heard complaints that Ubisoft has gotten so far off the path of what Assassins Creed is, but I am completely fine with that and if this is the outcome of that, then please Ubisoft continue down this road and keep delivering titles like this.