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Assassin's Creed Valhalla review
Meh
by NafaryusDestiny

This is probably the worst Assassin's Creed game yet, even in comparison to AC3 and Origins. 

For starters, it's an Assassin's Creed title in name only. Not only have they departed from the Templar vs Assassin story, but the gameplay makes stealth the absolute worst option for every scenario. The level design is so poor that it feels the designers made no effort to create alternate approaches to situations. There are a host of activities that can only be completed by "going loud," making a stealth focused character perform poorly. 

The atmosphere and story are extremely bland. Every location looks the same, the game runs poorly for how it looks, the audio quality is completely garbage (it sounds like it was not professionally mixed at all, with sounds echoing off walls when out in the open), the dialogue is full of anachronisms, and everything overall has a extreme lack of polish. The writing and scenarios also suffer, partly due to Ubisoft accommodating both a male and a female protagonist, partly due to the profoundly uninteresting setting.

The skill tree is uninteresting. Odyssey and Origins had some interesting and powerful abilities you could unlock via the skill tree, but Valhalla mostly just has stat boosts. For some reason it's also lacking the variety of options Odyssey included to tweak the gameplay to your liking, replacing it with an "Easy/Medium/Hard" selection in three categories: Exploration, Combat, Stealth. This results in you outleveling content rather quickly, and forces you to focus your gameplay in specific areas that match your level or else enemies will be too hard or too easy for you to fight.

As a fan of stealth games and the Assassin's Creed series, I really wanted to like Valhalla, but it does a very poor job at being either of those things. After about 15 hours, the gameplay loop is too boring and samey for me to get much further. 

Other reviews8

Ubisoft missed its calling to be a focus group testing company but I suppose producing video games makes way more money if you know the analytics, explains why whenever you see someone from the company talking to you, their fingers are always touching. Then they show videos with actors pretending to be playing games. "Wow, that was leet, Mark." "Haha, you said it, Debra, I mean skullcrusher005." AC: Valhalla is an AC in name only but it's also a video game made from other video games. Witcher 3 has side quests, a massive open world and a horse. Dragon's Dogma has the "make your own side-dude and let other people online ignore him too" system. Popular Game had fishing in it. This one lets you stack rocks, though, so that's cool. The combat is supposedly more fluid but it's basically just faster and easier Dark Souls with stealth being a non-issue since there's no cover in an age without buildings or lots of fencing. You'll find some bushes and a cart of hay but, outside of the small areas where you're nudged into killing the meticulously placed baddies that make you feel like you're an assassin, you'll be running around, throwing axes at people. Makes for a good action game but you're supposed to be sneaky? And diplomatic? And I'm now ending fragments sentences like they're questions because this game made me go full zoomer and drop my attention span? Just zero passion and creativity, the whole thing is empty. Meanwhile, things they should've stolen, they didn't. Remember when you could go Batman/Witcher and look around yourself with that gaudy scanning mode and they replaced it with holding the right stick down for a second to get a tiny glimpse of what's 2 meters from you? That's worse. Climbing is still just as bad as when they tried to do Up/Down parkour controls from Unity. They even somehow made the bird thing worse.

Narrative-wise, they're still pushing the Not Desmond Trilogy, whoever that woman is in the modern day segments that we're supposed to like because she's a woman, I don't know if they gave her real depth or not because I tried my hardest to speedrun those shoehorned-in parts that add nothing to the overall experience. As for the Animus setting, you'll find enough cliches to kill yourself in a drinking game but I won't spoil anything for you. Just know that if you've seen a movie or two, you know exactly what the next 5 scenes are going to be at any point in the game. "I wonder if he'll betray me." "I wonder if that's the MacGuffin." "I wonder if that was a sign that I shouldn't get too attached." Well, wonder no more, my friend. The story is 4th priority since the real purpose of the game was to make another "sail the seas and climb the trees and look at the rare loot that not-Templar dropped" AAA title. Origins was great because it was a serious "new entry," a new direction, something fresh. Then Odyssey came out right after it and moved even farther away from what people expected while still retaining what people enjoyed from Origins. This is them ironically repeating the same "definition of insanity" with knowing they could make money if they threw another AC at us real fast. I got this for $10 and was bored throughout. Played however many hours, watched later parts on YouTube to see if it ever got better, stopped cold turkey. If my mother weren't such a diehard romance novel fan who got sucked in because of Altair and Ezio, I wouldn't have even gotten this for her and ended up trying it out of curiosity. I regret letting it suck me in for as long as it did.

I can't recommend you pick this one up for a quick romp through the dirt with your trusty replaceable horse because after the 4 minute loading screen, you're met with a quiet, spacious, grassy nothingworld to run around in with no shortage of "mysteries" that include helping a terribly annoying kid (LOADS OF CHILD ACTORS IN THIS OH MY GOD WHY DID THEY ALLOW THIS) find a rock or some horny woman talk to a dude or convincing a guy he's allowed to cry or killing a sheep to find a brooch he ate or finding snake eggs so a woman can let out a smelly fart (they even touted this as a good example of side quests in a trailer pre-launch) or... ugh... even Witcher 3 had that finding a frying pan for the old lady quest that people make fun of and it feels like Valhalla copied that and made it worse. At least it's pretty and isn't too glitchy, I guess...
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«Disappointment of the year»
«Waste of time»
Every new AC released is a big and beautiful world, but everything else drops down so much. I enjoyed a lot the previous AC Origins and Odissey (even though you can look at the game as a 40+h filler for a 5m really interesting lore) and I gotta say I was pretty hyped for this one and boy, such a let down. What a bad polished game. Half baked story, no character conveys sympathy or stays as  worth of being remembered. Fighting the zealots are beyond broken, everything about them is terrible. Not to mention the audio echoes in everything that, as far as I've searched, will not be fixed.

I'm usually not upset by bugs, but this.... yeah, totally a waste of time.
too many bugs and bad controller controls. good only for story but for other you can skip
Unless you're one of those people for whom Black Flag was the only AC game you liked, this game is abject trash.
«Buggy as hell»
«Disappointment of the year»
Very fun, but not really an assassin's creed game. If you go into it expecting Assassins vs Templars you'll be disappointed, but if you go into it expecting a solid RPG you'll have a good time.
.
«Blew my mind»
«That ending!»
'Assassin's Creed Valhalla' is a game that is more grounded and immersive than 2018's 'Assassin's Creed Odyssey', however in making these changes, the game also sacrifices some of the best elements that made the last entry so enjoyable. 

For starters, the world design of 'Valhalla' is really solid. There are some great atmospheric textures and uses of lighting which make the environments of England, Norway and other locations a spectacle to look at. Unlike 'Odyssey' which felt very copied and pasted in some of its map and building design's, 'Valhalla' does a much better job at creating variation in its location. The game also provides a couple of interesting decisions in its dialogue which can cause for some nice progressions to certain plotlines within the story.

Unfortunately, the other parts that make up 'Valhalla' fall short of what I expected. One of the game's biggest flaws is its narrative. It opens with a very muddled and poorly paced introduction to Eivor and the world around them. The characters in this opening section are not super interesting, and the conflict that underpins this section of the story lack substance. This is made even more problematic by the totally unnecessary modern-day timeline which adds nothing to the story at all. Thankfully, once Eivor reaches England, the game does pick up a bit and hints at the possibility of a more well-developed narrative line; once again, however, this does not happen. For some reason, 'Valhalla' decides to divide its story into regions based on areas you need to ally with to expand the Raven Clan influence over England. The problem with this approach to storytelling is that it never allows 'Valhalla's' characters to grow, and instead, leaves the player with one to two hour-long bite-sized narrative arcs that start and end over and over again. Ubisoft has attempted this approach to storytelling before in 'Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands', whilst that game is much shorter in its length and because of that, works a little better in following that style of narrative. To 'Valhalla's' credit, some of its narrative arcs are well thought out. In particular, the story of King Oswald in his journey from being an indecisive leader to a leader who rules with certainty is a well put together story within 'Valhalla'. Nonetheless, this approach to storytelling does falter repeatedly, especially after you come to realise as a player that this style of storytelling will continue for the entirety of the game. It really does offer the game no growth whatsoever, which is odd, considering that one of 'Odyssey's' strong points were its fantastic last fifteen hours. 

Furthermore, the length of 'Valhalla' is shockingly long. At the time of writing this review, I have played just over thirty-five hours of the game with most of my playtime being directed at the main story. I know that if I were to finish the story I would need to invest at least another twenty to thirty hours as I can see clearly by the regions I still need to cover on the map. 'Valhalla' really offers no incentive for me to continue forward and invest any more time into its huge open-world than I already have. One reason for this was because of the game's combat, which admittedly was enjoyable to begin with, whilst it never grows or develops to make it worth investing any more time into the game. The lack of items and loot to collect is one of the main driving force behind the game's poor combat, which is a shame as 'Odyssey' offered such an abundance of items to collect, whilst 'Valhalla' really limits what you can collect and equipt when playing as Eivor. Likewise, one other area which lets the combat down in 'Valhalla' is its lack of fantastic epic boss fights that were scattered throughout most of 'Odyssey'. 

Ultimately, the flaws of 'Assassin's Creed Valhalla' really do bring the entire game down substantially. It is sad that this is the case, as the game offered the potential for it to be much more enjoyable if it was packaged into a much more tightly written narrative like its earlier titles once were. I can only hope that Ubisoft will learn from these mistakes and will use them to create better games in the future.
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«Buggy as hell»
«Boooring»