Let’s face it, the good ole days of Assassins Creed is not coming back. Desmond is dead. That arc is over and now Ubisoft is becoming the History Channel (US) of video games: They take a great setting/period of time, slap a shallow story on it and let you live the life of these historical people.
I loved AC growing up. It was the first game that showed me what it means to play a game that has a thorough story. Before ACII I mostly played pvp FPS type games. I’ve played all the AC games up until Odyssey. After the overwhelming mess that was AC Origins I couldn’t bring myself to play Odyssey. My biggest problems with Origins? 1. Map too big. I remember spending most of my time running from point A to B just to get to a mediocre quest. 2. Pointless and an overwhelming amount of side quests. Up until recently I’ve been a completionist when it comes to gaming. I remember the sheer number of side quests in Origins making it seem like a chore to get things done and all the side quests seeming pointless. 3. A weird and pointless upgrade system when it came to weapons and armor.
I specifically did not pick up Odyssey, despite people saying it’s a good game, because I felt it looked like a reskin of Origins.
I hesitated picking up Valhalla based on the same reasons. But I wanted to play a new game on the PS5 that showed off the system a little bit.
And I love it.
I feel like this game excels in many ways despite some issues here and there.
- Exploration feels rewarding and purposeful. Instead of seeing a clutter of exclamation makes all over the screen, different color dots are scattered about. Some are quests (which are short and some don’t even require you to leave the area), some are armor/wealth, and others are random activities. What I love is that you don’t know which are which until you get up close to the point which adds and element of excitement as you don’t know which activity you’ll get.
- The map is big but not overwhelming. It doesn’t take a long time to get across and the map has numerous different fast travel points.
- The settlement building aspects gives you a reason to raid and explore in order to get the supplies needed to upgrade. And as you upgrade your settlement, each building gives you different activities and allows you to turn in some of the artifacts, hunting trophies, or other items you find along the way.
- I love the upgrading system, including armor and skills. There’s a massive skill tree that allows you to upgrade certain attributes as well as getting big buffs/moves. The skill tree is massive but you unlock skill points pretty easily. Also the armor upgrades seem fair and balanced. One weapon might be better than another in say attack, but your evade may be better on the other. Combine this with the upgradability of each item and finding armor and weapons feels like an accomplishment and not just some random armor you’ll never wear.
For all positive this game does have some issues that I think if added to future games will make this IP unavoidable.
- The story feels repetitive and boring at times. Each area of the map is the same kinda, “we need to get this king to support us so let’s do a bunch of tasks for them and then we’ll move on to the next”. Until you get to Asgard the game is kinda meh but I have thoroughly enjoying the landscape and exploration.
- The game is clunky and buggy. As for most Ubisoft games coming out lately, the fame can seriously do with a good polish.
I genuinely like this game. I don’t obsess over it like some other games I’ve played, however when I get on I genuinely have a blast. Once I started viewing these games as a chance to play as historical people and not a stealthy assassin game (which I will always love that aspect of the game) I have a lot of fun.
Love to hear others thoughts!
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