Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review to lighten the mood
It’s have been a wild ride this year, but you can always rely on Assassin’s Creed to lighten the mood. Let’s see what those zany historians at Ubisoft have cooked up for us in the excitingly named Assassin’s Creed Valhalla … Peterborough, is it? Norwich in the dark ages?
I have nothing against our beautiful cathedral cities, rolling plains, and park-and-ride services, but after 12 months of Brexit, Covid-19 and forest fires, plus the cancellation of the Eurovision song contest, I was hoping for something a little less Tough Mudder from this giddy, quasi-historical, action-adventure series, which previously had us gallivanting around Atlantis.
For the first few hours, you’re thrown into the icy political drama of ninth-century Norway, where Viking warrior Eivor runs around snow-blasted islands having stern conversations about the future of her clan. (You can play as a male or female version of Eivor, or have the game swap between them at intervals.
I went with a female Eivor.) This extended prologue plays out a bit like a Scandi Phantom Menace, and, after a while, Eivor and her brother Sigurd give up and decide to build a new life in England. It’s for the best.
Ancient Egypt and Greece were easy to enjoy Assassin’s Creed review
Ancient Egypt and Greece were easy to enjoy, whether you were tunneling under the Sphinx or hanging from the chiseled penis of a Zeus statue, so the dark ages have their work cut out here. But, while this vast playground is less showy, it soon starts to feel more rarefied.
Points of interest on your map are intriguing – a locked building that must be clawed open with a bit of lateral thinking, a man selling an elixir that promises instant wealth, or a piece of cloth that happens to be wafting above a parkour obstacle course.
autopiloting around vast
I’ve got used to autopiloting around vast, open-world games tidying up icons on the map, but this feels more like exploring again. There’s repetition, sure, but also a novelty.
While the game sends you far and wide, the spoils of battle are most useful back home in Ravensthorpe. Reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed II’s beloved Monteriggioni, here you can build a blacksmith’s, a Hidden One’s assassins bureau, a hunting lodge, a Gregg’s, and plenty more. (OK, maybe not the Gregg’s.)
buildings and settlers allow
New buildings and settlers allow you to do new things out in the world, and Ravensthorpe is also where you turn in collectibles for rewards. There are a lot of decent quests to pick up here from friends and travelers, and as usual, it’s the cranks and weirdos who make for the best fun.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla takes a while to get going, but don’t be disheartened by its mirthless opening, because the smart, inventive, and witty open-world game you’re hoping for is lurking somewhere over those gloomy hills and dales. Can we have our next assassin holiday somewhere sunny again though, please, Ubisoft?