Hi. Valhalla is one of my fav games among lots of open-worlds I played ever including AAA and indies. Let me put some feedback here.
Awesome. Before playing I assumed the game story would have been something like "Honor! Brave! I'm Viking ahhhhh". But actually, the story is about politics, conspiracies, cultures, and ways of life. Some side-quests felt rough but most main quests impressed, satisfied, and surprised me. All characters including Eivor, his allies, and enemies are unique enough and lovable. If there is one of my favs I'd pick Ivarr the Boneless and his "King Killer". For the side quests, I got moved by the story where Eivor (my Eivor is male) imitates an old man's dead daughter.
Also, UBI combined the Europe worlds in the 9th century, Norse mythology, and the present (a.k.a the Isu lore) so smartly. Valhalla as cyberspace? I never thought such a thing.
My only complaint here is that it felt a little weird that too many characters try to make love with you. I wanted to select whether the stories go with friendship or love before they show which.
For realistic things, just awesome. Not too fancy, not too lusterless. I enjoyed seeing lots of those details that make you feel an existing world like regional vegetation, water bodies, and geology. While they are so important on open-world visuals, in my opinion, many devs don't spend their love on it. More detailed towns like AC Syndicate's would have been great but I know that's kinda greedy.
For unrealistic things, I wish you could have toned down not to be out of place in the above things. Some mythological architectures, effects, and gear look like heavy metal album cover arts in the '80s, to be honest 😄 That might be intentional but I believe modern audiences prefer more "chill" feelings. Of course, there are cool ones like the flying huge rocks above Svartalfheim though.
Fairly great. Surprisingly, they translated flyting properly. UBI games have kept the quality of localization. The voice acting of the main characters sounds so nice as well. A few lines sound strange like they don't understand contexts but well, that's fine. I understand the game is too huge to make everything consistent.
SFX and music tracks:
Perfect. I love them all. The audio effects before a siege begins have always set my blood afire.
Precondition - I play AC games avoiding unnecessary kills as many as possible especially when hostiles are supposed to be just local guardians. In that style, I enjoyed stealth in Valhalla pretty much. Good vertical and complex maps that allow you to hide. Enough amounts of challenging guards. Especially the mechanic of the ability Blinding Rush is great. As I've played many stealth games, I honestly do not want to wait minutes for the guards to look away anymore. The ability allows you to skip that unnecessary waiting time but it does not make watching guards and maps unnecessary. Honestly, I hope every future AC game has a nerfed version of the ability by default.
The game never forces you on stealth and totally leaves up decisions whether you kill all enemies or stay in shadow to you. The design is worthy of praise but it's not enough to make many people who are not used to role-playing or playing in a self-limiting style know stealth in Valhalla is still fun. You might want to put something that guides players to stealth in the future games, like medals that don't affect gameplay, an "assassin level bar", or more comments by your fellows.
Although assassination is not the subject in this game, it was a good surprise that the game contains chances of assassination/kidnapping/stealing more than I expected as Eivor is a person of the brain rather than muscle. I really enjoyed the story that sometimes gets crossed with the assassin's creed and the origin of the Templars. A pity, I wanted more tales about Hytham. He is a nice friend and is the only "assassin's side" in Valhalla.
The mechanic of "Order of the Ancients" is so promising. It gives you the freedom of searching for clues and hunting down targets by your own will, instead of a predetermined mission line. My complaint here is that each investigation and hunt is too simple. In Valhalla, relatively challenging (I mean, fun) stealth maps/puzzles generally exist to get good gear. It's kinda strange and makes me feel the game is like a thief simulator. I know looting is the strongest motivation for players but I wish you had moved at least one-half of them to assassination maps.
Sadly it's the weakest part of the game despite lots of efforts like cool animations, visual assets, well-made enemies, and a variety of mechanics. I know Valhalla is never intended to be a hardcore combat game. The game has many difficulty settings. That's great! So it's never a matter of difficulties but an unbalance on mechanics: Dodge is the best DPS dealer and the best defense. That affects all elements in the game and makes most of them meaningless, including real money gear. You never have to care about slight buffs when you solve every situation in seconds just by dodging and slash slash slash.
The only one case where I considered gear is the counter damage debuff of Valkyrie arena. Also, some mechanics work with river raids that require you to kill soldiers as fast as possible to cover your fellows. I actually enjoyed those combats.
Game mechanics need risks and returns, or at least something like rock paper scissors. I understand megabudget games have to be casual but really hope you guys consider a little more "strong" combat mechanics or their foundation (as DLCs can add things) at least in the next game.
I love the atmosphere and preparing stages but it would have been greater if you could have made each of them different and epic as most siege events are just wall-breaking speedrun. Battle positions, fire supports, flanking, etc I believe you guys well know the ways of historical wars. The Siege of Paris was so good, containing various situations and even assassination.
Having mentioned some complaints, I still love the game with 9/10. Can't wait for more DLCs and the next AC game keeping the quality