I'm an audio producer hobbyist and can confirm a number of audio specific issues present with AC:Valhalla, running Patch 1.0.2. I originally posted my findings on Reddit but wanted to share it here with the Ubisoft team.The audio quality in general suffers horribly because of heavy lossy compression (low bitrate optimised for size). It is also exacerbated by the fact that the compression quality is not consistent across dialogue, music and SFX. You can pick up on this much easier with a pair of studio headphones/monitors. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO owner here. The high frequencies are tinny and washed out, similarly to what a 64-96 kbps MP3 sounds like.If you've played both Origins and Odyssey, you may have noticed that this is not a new issue, although Valhalla seems to suffer worse. Audio quality complaints have been prevalent in the past. Ubisoft do not appear to prioritise audio quality for release as this would significantly increase download and install size. This is presumably due to how they package their releases for the console market. They really ought to release a HD audio pack for their recent AC games so we can actually enjoy unspoilt crystal clear audio.The audio constantly cuts in and out. I have a very clean and up-to-date Win10 installation with an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super, along with a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 sound device. Audio cuts in and out randomly for 1-2 seconds at a time whenever I interact with the UI. Personally, it is most easily reproduced during the tattoo and hair customization screen. This issue does not occur with their previous games.The volume balance of sounds seems really out of whack, and I can only bare to play this game with the Dynamic Range set to Midnight in the game options, otherwise there are certain sounds that are so loud they almost make me poop myself. This is not supposed to be a jump scare horror experience in the sound department.Less of an issue, but they have re-used a lot of sound assets from their previous titles. It can be really tacky/cookie cutter whenever this is done, but particularly so when the sound quality is poor to begin with.
Oddly, many of the official reviews I have read so far completely fail to mention the audio issues, and this is concerning. The issues are so obvious that they must have either purposefully omitted the critique, have sub-par sound systems, or couldn't care less. I remember back in the day when video games magazine reviewers took pride in providing a detailed opinion of sound effects and music.
How do you guys feel about it? To me, the $60 price tag is a bit of a kick in the teeth, and I feel that Ubisoft should really have audio technicalities down to a T. We also deserve to optionally download HD quality assets, especially since there are many gamers among us that invest a great deal of time and money into our home cinema set-ups.
Put it this way, would you be okay if you bought a $60 blu-ray box set of your new favourite show and the audio was poor quality?
Your best Valhalla sound experience would be to listen to the soundtrack on Spotify. It is a beautiful, wholly remarkable piece of work, sadly let down by poor integration within the game itself.