With its two predecessors, “Origins” and “Odyssey”, the “Assassin’s Creed” series changed from sneak adventure to imposing action role-playing game. “Valhalla” kidnaps the players on the raids of the Vikings in the early Middle Ages and will offend one or the other fan with lots of action and a touch of building strategy.
A new world
Eivor wants revenge. The daughter of a Viking king has to watch her father being beheaded by a traitor and, together with her stepbrother Sigurd, goes on a long search for the murderer. Of course, the millennia-old struggle of the Assassins against the Templar Order also plays a major role here. The game also jumps back to the present with the scientist Layla, who is researching the life of her ancestor Eivor.
We don’t know much more after our play-off lessons. Except for the short revenge story, which is dealt with in the tutorial, there is no big story arc to be seen. The developers already indicated in a live stream for the press shortly before the release that the plot would develop in a more episode-like manner. At the moment there are many indications that Ubisoft’s latest prank will be a huge game with over 50 hours of play. Even then, you will not have seen and discovered everything.
Playfully “Valhalla” continues where its predecessors left off: a huge open world, countless missions and an incredible amount to discover. After the player has chosen the gender of Eivor, he goes from one island to the next, pillaging. In principle, the developers of Ubisoft Anvil give the players the freedom to choose: Do I fall over villages and monasteries with my whole horde or do I sneak behind the enemy walls and decimate the enemy. In practice, the Hack’nSlay elements are much more effective, at least in our play-off lessons, than the laborious assassination from the shadows. Often Eivor has no choice but to brutally pounce on the enemy.
At first glance, the players are almost overwhelmed by the numerous missions, skills and abilities. Although there is a lot less loot than in the predecessor, the skill tree in particular offers countless possibilities: bonus points for sneak attacks, evasive counters, long-range attacks, deception maneuvers and many more. Unlike its predecessor, players can redistribute skill points at any time. Those who get stuck as an assassin can easily retrain to become a brutal hand-to-hand fighter.
The content of the mission will be familiar to those familiar with the series: conquer enemy fortresses, carry out assassinations and carry out small side tasks, such as getting rid of a crazy island king or relieving an injured soldier from his suffering in a bizarre way. As in the previous releases, it is excellently set to music and written in a funny way. The slight twinkle in the eye makes the sometimes extremely brutal fights and assassinations more bearable, even for the faint-hearted.
On new paths
Some new playful ideas will surprise you. So Eivor has to build a village in addition to the combat missions. A forge supplies upgrades for the weapons and in the warrior camp you can train new fighters for the raids. With each new building, the village becomes more famous and influential. Another news: form alliances with other Viking tribes. Mostly this worked in our play hours through long side missions in order to get the favor of the tribes. In one case, Eivor must first free a leader, then take back her city, and then help her uncover a traitor.
In addition to the story-relevant missions, players can discover a living world full of secrets. In addition to climbing games to lookout points, there are also some puzzles in which players have to connect rays of light to explore secret paths. From legendary animals like in the predecessor or mythical figures nothing was seen in our play lessons.
The graphics are a real eye-catcher. With shining sun rays that are reflected in the water; A day and night rhythm and the flowing animations let our PS4 Pro flex its muscles again. In contrast to the previous Ubisoft game “Watch Dogs Legion”, the detailed character models are also convincing. The following applies to both games: At the start of the PS5 and Xbox Series X / S, players will receive a free upgrade. This should not only be noticeable in the graphics, but also in the long loading times.
“Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” is an enormously extensive action spectacle that is further removed from the original “Assassin’s Creed”. The fights are rough hack’n’slay carnage, the sneak peaks are sweaty and the game world is a festival for explorers. The discreetly used strategy elements make the game a touch more complex than its predecessor. Despite these changes, fans of the two direct predecessors in particular should feel wonderfully entertained – more action RPG is not possible.
“Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” will be released on November 10th for Windows, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox Series X / S. It costs around 70 euros. USK from 18. We played the PS4 Pro version for a few hours.