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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Review

As someone who never got into the early days of Assassin’s Creed, I’ve been able to enjoy these latest iterations of the series. They’re certainly never low on content, as you’ll easily spend well over 100 hours if you want to complete these games.

That brings me to my first point- is AC Valhalla too long for its own good? I certainly felt so. This game could have been half its length and still been considered long. What developers need to grasp is that gamers want quality, not quantity. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy a lot of what Valhalla had to offer, but it had a major case of padding. A few regions into the game and you’ll realise just how overwhelming it can be.

On the bright side though, the variety and quality of a lot of the open world activities are actually quite good. There are some genuinely fun things to do, such as the fun dice game Orlog, the surprisingly good Flyting mini game, and the many small and unique world events (essentially mini side quests).

The way the main story is presented does have its pros and cons. For the pros, each region you tackle contains its own individual story, and I looked forward to each one. Some were on a grander scale, like helping to overthrow a jarl (this storyline was repeated multiple times for some reason), and some were more light hearted like helping your blacksmith gain a wife. Completing all the regions quests are all an attempt to gain their favour and become allied with them.

And that brings me to the cons of the main story. For all that is building up throughout your journey, a main story is never really established. Well it sort of is, but it never seems to be a main focus, and it really feels like a massive series a side quests that isn’t really building up to anything. Sadly, that’s kind of how it ends up. For all the alliance-building you go through, you’re left wondering all through the game why you’re even doing it in the first place. There needed to be something there to bring it all together and give the story more purpose, but it really falls flat. I think if there were simply less regions but with more fleshed out storylines within each one, it would have felt less of a chore and had much more impact.

Valhalla does repeat the same idea of the Cultists from AC Odyssey, this time in the form of the Order. I do love this concept, but it’s so copy and paste in Valhalla, with no new ideas brought to the table which is a real shame. At least in Odyssey, the Cultists felt like a real threat to the world, but the Order seem like an afterthought. Like the main story, more focus and attention here would have really elevated this game, but it seems like the developers just forgot about it.

General gameplay like combat and stealth are fine in Valhalla, but definitely nothing ground-breaking. Combat seems pretty standard but there’s certainly much better open world combat out there. Stealth mostly felt unnecessary because action was more of the focus and swinging your axe at enemy’s faces was just quicker, easier and more satisfying. The parkour system is still not quite fine-tuned, as I would occasionally jump in the wrong direction, resulting in failing certain activities, or even plummeting to my death.

Exploration is obviously a major thing in Valhalla, and each region has plenty to discover like I said previously. While it is satisfying to 100% each region, the rewards themselves sometimes just aren’t that great. Most of the treasure you find are ingots, used to upgrade your gear, but you’ll always find more than you need, making most of treasure meaningless. There is gear to find, but is baffling just how little there is considering Valhalla is still an RPG. I don’t think I’ve played an RPG with so little gear, but at least you can upgrade them so you can dedicate yourself to the one set.

A lot of other rewards you earn are mainly for cosmetic purposes, like parts for your ship, tattoos, etc. But it is strange that even though you can make changes to your ship and crew, none of it adds anything other than cosmetics, which is again baffling considering it’s an RPG. There’s no stat upgrades for these things and it felt pointless.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Review Summary

It might seem like I’ve really torn this game apart, but that’s only because it had big shoes to fill from AC Odyssey. I think they just played it really safe and didn’t take any risks to push the series into bold new directions. Despite all this, I actually did enjoy AC Valhalla, but I grew fatigued over my whopping 4 months of playing it. To be honest, I’m not sure if I want to play another Ubisoft game again, even though I don’t actually dislike them. Here’s hoping they can surprise us with the next Assassin’s Creed?

Score: 8/10


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