Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the twelfth main game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, preceded by Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. AC Odyssey was a critical hit even though the old fans of the franchise criticized the game for not featuring an “Assassin” as there was no hidden blade or stealth involved. The franchise took a turn for the better towards RPG from AC Origins, leaving behind social stealth. After many fans voiced their opinion, Ubisoft has now brought back social stealth in AC Valhalla. After 150 hours of gameplay and a 100% completion of the game, we bring you the official GameThem review of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (Review)
The game lets you choose between a male or female protagonist, or you can even let the Animus choose. We chose a female protagonist for our playthrough as it seemed a canon choice, and hence, we will be referring to Eivor as a female in our review.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – Story – Explained!
The modern-day story continues where AC Odyssey left. One year after the events of Odyssey, Earth is experiencing an unexplained and unusual strengthening of the Earth’s magnetic field, which is disrupting Global satellites and communications. It is also affecting the environment. Though we have no Desmond to save humanity, we have Layla Hassan, who has the Staff of Hermes Trismegistus to help her and guide her. Layla understands that the key to saving the Earth lies with Eivor Varinsdottir, a Viking raider who lived during AD 873, and he/she might be able to guide Layla to some Precursor artifacts which might help her save the world. So, along with her trusted aides, Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane, she unearths the Vikingr’s corpse and, with it, the memories of the Viking as well inside the Animus.
Eivor Varinsdottir is the child of Varin, a commander under King Styrbjorn in the 9th century AD. Eivor witnesses her father’s unruly and dishonorable death at the hands of Kjotve the Cruel, who denies her father of a Vikingr’s death. Eivor escapes the battlefield with the help of Sigurd, the son of Styrbjorn. While escaping, she takes her father’s axe for her own, and she gets bitten on the face by a Wolf, which gives her a huge scar and the name “Eivor the Wolf-Kissed.” Seventeen years later, Eivor has grown into a beautiful but fierce warrior who wants her revenge against Kjotve the Cruel. Even though Styrbjorn is apprehensive about it, she gets a go-ahead from Sigurd, who returns after two years from foreign lands with two mysterious strangers, Basim and Hytham, who also share the same goal of eliminating Kjotve.
The mysterious strangers tell Eivor that they are part of a group called the Ancient Ones, and they gift a new weapon called “The Hidden Blade” to Eivor even though she is not part of their cult. With the help of King Harald, Eivor and Sigurd kill Kjotve the Cruel only to realize that King Harald planned to unite all Viking clans under his one rule and that Styrbjorn is supportive of the plan. Unable to claim his birthright, Sigurd, along with Eivor, sets sail to England to establish his own empire and someday, even capture Norway.
The story continues in England, where Eivor and Sigurd try to establish a new town called Ravensthorpe and try to either conquer other parts of the Country by alliance or by conquest. Meanwhile, Sigurd realizes that he is not who he thinks he is and tries to understand more about him. He leaves Ravensthorpe in charge of Eivor and goes away with Basim searching for more context about himself. Now, Eivor has to manage the town, squash uprisings, help Hytham eliminate more enemies to the Ancient Ones who incidentally are enemies to Eivor’s conquests, and annex or side with neighboring parts of the Country to establish a Viking kingdom. As she does all this, she also has to understand who she is and why she is born with Sigurd, and her life’s purpose. To understand this, she works with a seer – Valka – who gives a magical potion that takes her to Asgard and makes her relive Odin’s memories as he tries to save himself from the impending doom of Ragnarok.
The story is thus, multi-layered but nowhere do we feel that the story is too complex. All parts of the story are tied in to give us a slam-bang climax with major revelations and twists, which is top-class when experienced. The conclusion to the modern-day story arc also has many a twist, tied in with Eivor’s story, which feels like watching a great popcorn movie, and we feel excited for the future Assassin’s Creed games in the series. Eivor is a confident leader who always brings her A-game and kills people mercilessly. She is compassionate wherever required, and she goes out of her way to help her people. She does anything and everything for alliances. In addition to this, she is willing to even give her life for Sigurd, who is a brother to her. She drinks a lot and brawls like a Viking but discharges her duties without fail. After Kassandra, Eivor is a worthy female lead in Assassin Creed’s collection.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – Gameplay – Explained!
As Eivor, we have to develop our Settlement. For doing this, we take our Viking ship and raid nearby Churches, which contain great wealth. What is that great wealth, you ask? Raw materials and Supplies. This mechanism of raids is new to the Assassin’s Creed series and is a hit straight away. Eivor blowing the horn, signaling the start of a raid to her fellow Vikings, is a sight to watch and hear. When she does that, we can feel the people of England shiver. Combat is brutal, and Eivor can fight with both her hands. She can block attacks if you equip a shield in one of her hands, or she can kill with both her hands if you equip swords or spears on both. The parry system is the same as Odyssey, if not better. Combat animations can be very brutal, and Eivor mercilessly beheads people, rips them apart into two, or beats them to a pulp. The Viking flavor is evident in the combats. However, not everything is combat in Valhalla; you can eliminate the targets silently as well and go into hiding. Yes, social stealth is back in action. Eliminate someone and pull up your hood to blend in with the crowd and exit the city. You can do this in AC Valhalla!! The mini-game for Critical Assassination is also commendable. At the end of every major Story Arc, we get to breach fortresses which is also new in the Assassin’s Creed series. We, literally, can use battering rams to force open doors and invade with our armies to kill the boss of the Story Arc.
The map is slightly smaller in size when compared to Odyssey. However, the game makes up for it by adding three regions: Vinland, Norway, and England. There is a lot to be explored in between combats in terms of World Events, Treasures, and Artifacts. World Events are nothing but side quests. Instead of the traditional side quests of following someone or fetching something from one corner of the map to the other corner, Valhalla opts for many smaller side quests that are completed instantly or with minimal travel. These World Events are also interesting. For example, in one of the side quests, a woman asks for Eivor to burn her house, which arouses her and her husband! We just have to burn her home, and the World Event is complete! In addition to these side quests, the World Events also have Animus Anomalies which let us play a parkour mini-game with Layla, killing Legendary beasts and witches, balancing rocks above one another, and even finding mysterious symbols between standing rocks! Of these, the balancing rocks are the hardest to complete as most rocks fall as we place another one on top of the other. The Animus Anomalies require a special mention as they contribute hugely to the Assassin’s Creed lore when all the Anomalies are completed.
Exploration is also fun and rewarding as we find Treasures scattered across the map. Treasures are three in kind. We can collect Ingots to upgrade our weapons, Books of knowledge to upgrade or acquire new combat skills, and of course, new weapons as well. Certain Books of knowledge and Weapons are tied to World Events as well. Each weapon is unique, and you have to look out for Legendary Isu weapons as well. If you search it right, you can even wield Thor’s Mjolnir or Excalibur!
The third aspect of Exploration is artifacts, where you can find maps to treasures, chase and catch tattoos or destroy cursed symbols and artifacts. Chasing and catching tattoos is fun, and most of the tattoos cannot be caught in the first run. But once you catch a tattoo, you can wear the tattoo with the help of the Barbershop in your Settlement. Not all cursed artifacts are easy to find, and you might need to find hidden entrances or keys to locked doors and sometimes just find the right angle to shoot an arrow to destroy the artifact! All three aspects of Exploration are not straightforward Find and Collect, and even though there is a vast number of World Events, Treasures, and Artifacts, none of it seems like grinding it out. So, kudos to the creative team for coming up with enjoyable side quests.
Building your Settlement is a significant aspect of the game, and new buildings unlock as you increase your Settlement levels. While structures like Barbershop, Docks, Barracks and Ancient Ones’ Bureau serve their purpose, we also have Museums and Farms, which just ask us to get more collectibles or increases the Feast bonus. As your Settlement level grows, the number of people in the Settlement also grows in size as new people arrive and settle down, providing more cosmetic options to Eivor. As Eivor, you can also romance a host of NPCs, and many NPCs have their share of stories to share with Eivor, which gives rise to new side quests. If you are still not satisfied with the variety of options the game gives to pass your time, you can even play a game of Orlog (a new type of dice game), just like how The Witcher 3 gave us Gwent. Orlog is fun and was, personally, easier and more fun than Gwent. We can play Orlog in every major city in the game.
Thus, Valhalla is topped up with lovable side quests and leaves us wanting more rather than making it a grind-fest like previous AC games.
- Fantastic story and unexpected twists
- Variety of side quests
- Strong protagonists
- Viking set up
- Beautiful locales
- Great supporting NPCs
What Doesn’t Work:
- Poor voice acting and expressions for the lead
- Still no “Assassin” in the game
- Length of the game removing the replayability factor
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – Verdict!
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a must-play for everyone, irrespective of their following of the series or not. AC Valhalla is commendable as an installment in the series as well as a standalone RPG game. Despite the game not featuring a full-fledged Assassin as the protagonist, it is comparable to the critically acclaimed and fan-favorite AC Black Flag. It also featured a Pirate who became an Assassin due to circumstances. Here a Viking becomes an Assassin due to her circumstances. This installment is also AC lore heavy which caters to the AC fans. So, all-in-all a must-play and a worthy Assassin’s Creed game. You can get the game here! 🎮
P.S. The first DLC – Wrath of the Druids, is releasing on the 13th of May, 2021, and we have already written about what to expect from it.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla
Assassin's Creed Valhalla is the twelfth main game in the Assassin's Creed franchise, preceded by Assassin's Creed Odyssey.
Operating System: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows
Application Category: Game