TL;DR Please add some sort of menu option to keep hood/cloaks on during combat, as along with one-handed swords it is the last fundamental piece of the original "assassin" fantasy that we old-school fans so badly crave from Valhalla. It's a simple thing but it would mean the world to me and so many other fans, and for me personally is the difference between paying for and enjoying Valhalla DLC or just replaying the Ezio trilogy/Black Flag.
I know this topic has been raised a few times but I'm gonna make another thread just to increase the amount of volume and attention that this issue receives, as it is something very near and dear to the heart for me.
I understand the departures from the "classic" AC formula in recent games, the focus on live service-esque content delivery, microtransactions, RPG-style system, etc.. I understand the emphasis on historical immersion and the "viking" fantasy over being an "assassin", and tailoring gameplay to facilitate that fantasy (a flagrant example being that completing monastery raids via pure stealth is not an option whereas in Black Flag, the analogous activity did support this approach). I understand not putting emphasis on deepening the social stealth system (or the general stealth system) and focusing instead on combat abilities and raiding mechanics. It's not the game that I wanted Assassin's Creed to become, but I understand broadening the appeal and I can still appreciate the classic AC elements the game does offer and try to eek out a little bit of that "assassin" fantasy despite these changes.
This "assassin" fantasy is essentially that which we were given in the original Assassin's Creed trailer: this mysterious, dangerous-looking figure in a hood approaches his target, cloaked in the crowd, strikes when he least expects it, and uses parkour/social stealth to escape and regain anonymity. The feeling of being this anonymous predator, this blade in the crowd, has resonated incredibly with me and countless other players, and it's the number one thing I look for when playing not just AC games but any sort of action/stealth game that could reasonably allow for it.
AC Valhalla is a very large game, and while it very clearly was designed to facilitate the hyper-aggressive "viking" fantasy, where you raid monasteries and headbutt saxons and wrench your axe out of skulls, you developers tried to give us some of the vital pieces of that "assassin" fantasy that were stripped completely from AC Odyssey. You gave us social stealth even when it didn't really fit with the "viking" fantasy, you gave us incredible homages to the original AC (won't say more cause spoilers), you even gave us an option to toggle our hood in game! Post-launch you gave us the Basim outfit, with a hidden blade under the wrist, and you even changed the wrist-flick animation to boot! Soon you're gonna be giving us one-handed swords and with the Paris DLC you're gonna be giving us black-box missions! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for these things - because of them, I can almost play and enjoy Valhalla even though I don't care about the viking fantasy or much of the story that revolved around those elements.
Of course I have a laundry list of other "assassin" elements I would love to see added either to Valhalla or to future games, but I'm not going to ask for them, because I get that the vision for this game and likely future games diverges from my own. But by and large, I have mostly enough to enjoy a rudimentary form of that "assassin" fantasy and exist in the game without having it broken - were it not for one tiny little nitpick that sadly makes all the difference. That "fantasy", of being this anonymous predator, this wolf in sheep's clothing, is inextricably tied to the image of a hooded figure. Whether silently stalking his pray, killing guards with ruthless efficiency, or scampering across rooftops to blend back into the crowd, the hood is key to the fantasy, and every time it comes off, that immersion breaks. I get that it's silly, I get that it's pedantic, but sadly it is the reality.
This one little nitpick makes such a difference to me that, instead of playing Valhalla and completing the epilogue/DLC content, I'd rather play AC games 10 years old. Not even because I like the gameplay itself that much more (although that is also case, but that's not something you can really fix) but literally just so I can preserve that hooded image throughout the game, and with it that "assassin" fantasy that I so badly crave. If this option were to be added in, I honestly would gladly restart Valhalla and play the whole thing over with Basim's outfit and a one-handed sword I'll probably buy off the Helix store despite my disdain for the microtransaction model, JUST so I can experience the newest Assassin's Creed game and actually feel like an Assassin.
Thank you for reading this diatribe, and thank you to the devs for all your hard work - I'm sure it's no fun to work for years on something and then have it brutally torn apart by fans just because it didn't correspond exactly to an unrealistic expectation they'd been holding. However I promise that if you add this one option in, it will go a long way towards mending bridges that you might have thought burnt. And with the Paris DLC and year 2 of support coming up, the impacts will be visible in Ubisoft's bottom line as well 😊 .