Ubisoft announced the latest entry in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Valhalla on Wednesday with a very extensive 4-hour long through a live-stream drawing with BossLogic. The stream ended with a beautiful piece of the game’s new hero surrounded by some stunning scenery where naval and hand-to-hand battles take place. I guess with the cancel of E3 this year and other conventions, publishers have to get creative, and boy did Ubisoft do it hear. Eccentric although entertaining. Today we had the Cinematic Reveal which announced that game would be released later this year. The standard, gold, ultimate and collectors edition will all be available to pre-order for PS4, Xbox One, and PC immediately.
This brutal and bloody cinematic trailer confirms that Valhalla will take place during the reign of King Alfred the Great (886 AD – 899 AD), the narrator. What starts as a romanticised introduction to the Vikings life it quickly turns as King Alfred utters, “The time has come to speak to them in a language they will understand”, all too unhappy about the invasion. War is coming, and Eivor must take a stand with his friends and family to defeat the Anglo-Saxon army.
I’ve got to say I’m excited. The Vikings are an era that I’m fond of, and Norse mythology is right up my street, it could be an exciting time ahead for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Reading through the Ubisoft store, it looks like we’re in for more RPG elements, more sea battles, and more gruesome hand-to-hand combat. If you read my previous AC post: The Beginning of the End, you will know I wasn’t a fan of Odyssey. Due to its size, it just felt empty at times, had little depth in the story, and the characters were flat. I still haven’t touched the game since that post. With reportedly 14 studios working on the title it looks like it could be bigger, but I’m hoping fingers crossed that they fill it with exciting content this time around.
The size of the map is my biggest worry; however, the game taking place in England will have a smaller surface area to deal with and a lot fewer islands thankfully. It is also a place where many settlements were popping up over the place, giving Ubisoft a lot more idea on what they can use within the land. Valhalla adds a settlement-building mechanic that allows you to upgrade buildings and unlock new bonuses. Fingers crossed for York or Jórvík, one of the significant Norse settlement, which I feel that would be a nice touch. This seems to be your clan’s base of operation from which launch attracts on the Saxon armies and fortresses. Claiming their riches and helping expand your influence on England. You can also choose to develop relationships with several of the lords who rule over the divided country to aide you in your quest. Hopefully, these are well developed and realistic and add to the narrative of the game rather than becoming forgettable names.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Assassin vs Templar dynamic works in this invasion, I was hoping for an invasion of England in this game. I would have liked to have seen them take on the monasteries and strip them of their wealth. The monasteries and churches could have been the larger Templar Order within the Catholic Church. However, I don’t think the Assassin Order or the Templar Order will be given their most-known name in Valhalla, as the past two entries have focused on the origin of these two parties. A significant part of the trailer is the Norse warrior seeing Odin leaning on a tree during the battle, so I’m assuming there is some interaction with the Gods in this game. Perhaps part of the Isu. I’m sure Odin, Freyr, Thor, and co. will make a special appearance in the game.
I’m sure changes to the combat will be made, throwing axes look to be replacing the bow, and it seems to be more close combat rather than ranged. The Vikings prided themselves on skill in battle, so I believe that Ubisoft will consider this with the stealth mechanics as well. Odyssey and Origins both allowed you to take manoeuvre quietly around forts and such, I see less focus on stealth in Valhalla and expect Eivor to be a lot more about brute force. Lets not kid ourselves, the previous two entries were far from games where you played as a ‘stealthy assasin’ and that certainly looks the case in Valhalla.
Although I have issues with Odyssey as I do other games, I believe that some of the mechanics introduced in the previous two entries will fit better with the story and Viking setting in Valhalla. Despite this, there is a worry about the size of the game, lack of focus on narrative, and a bad levelling up system creating a bad experience, which was my experience in the previous instalment, valuing quantity over quality. Overall, I’m excited to play this game. Assassin’s Creed always gets me going and the Viking setting has added to that