McVikings with a side order of Marx ...0 Likes/3 Replies/72 ViewsOriginal poster Athelingabiding 1 posts
My overview of A.C Valhalla: Visual game design is great, open world free-play is fun, liked the male voice actor playing Eivor ... downside is that despite claim of story being based on historical events, it's not stated just how loose that interpretation is. In truth it's complete fantasy. You can't have a realistic and balanced gameplay experience in an era where companies are more interested in pandering to a tiny demographic of left-wing extremists who literally want to re-write history.
At the same time a worrisome anti-English sentiment pervades the game that the makers I'm sure would never dare display toward one of today's ethnically elevated groups. I mean the same lack of characterisation, simplification and plain bad writing in order to make the 'hero' look good. A key part of being a Viking raider was the [censored] and gathering of slaves Ubisoft. You left that out. In this game the Saxons are bad for wanting to stop them and ... not be sold in a market somewhere. Christianity also for some reason comes off looking foolish. Cheap shots. Now the game makers could have done DLC where you get to fight off Norse marauders. You could have done the battle of Maldon from Beohrthelm's perspective. Making Alfred .. England's national hero a bad guy, basically Lord Farquaard ... was downright insulting. YOU are the bad guys Ubisoft for producing this simple-minded McViking hogwash. Picking a side so blatantly is always a mistake. The story-breaks to the present were also jarring as hell and a real pain to endure. Idiotic choice. The soundtrack was decent however. To summarise: a muddled, badly written happy-meal of a game when it could have been prime steak. At times insulting but with some good work in between from those involved in the actual nuts and bolts stuff.
pesto. 217 posts
That’s a bit strong, and I’m not into reductive belittling of anyone based on their political views. However it has to be said Valhalla does suffer from blandness in the storytelling, and maybe it is caused by being more focused on message than characters.
It’s hard to square acting one way but allegedly being another. If we play a brute who thinks with his fists then maybe it’s better to let the character breathe and be what he is rather than trying to shoehorn something that never quite feels like it fits. I felt that Kassandra was truer to herself than Eivor in this regards. Another of their characters also suffered a bit from this - Bayeks rage was understandable although his relationship with his wife was not, it felt like titillation and in a strange way again, bland, no sparks, no fire, not even for “the cause”, and that made it redundant, token.
I feel if we are to believe that we’re the good guy then we have to actually manifest that goodness, we can’t just be invading some other country and expect to be the good guys, especially not simply because “we have hopes and dreams too”. This is the perfect time to show that in moral terms life is complex and difficult and that one mans freedom is another’s prison. There is always a cost, and it’s reductive to claim that an action you would have taken anyway is good or right just because out of pure chance you happened to be introduced to the assassins rather than the templars, the company thrust on you doesn’t make you good or bad.
Having said all of that it is also just a video game. A fantasy. I’d prefer if it had a little more teeth one way or the other, but it doesn’t bother me that much that it deviates greatly from history and that it’s from the perspective of an invader, jingoistic though it may be. So long as it’s fun, and I do think the gameplay is for the most part solid, I mean apart from those painful mastery missions.
pesto. 217 posts
Just to add further to this, the game AC Valhalla seems to be most influenced by got this right. The Witcher 3.
That’s why Gerald is an outcast, every decision is grey. If you’re going to be critical It leaned a little too far into the trope of the real monsters are the humans, which lessened the impact, but it was very good as a tale about characters who just happened to be living in this world with these events going on around them.
I feel like AC has started to suffer from hero syndrome too much. It started out with meeting the important real world historical characters of the day, maybe being involved in a shocking way in their gruesome demises. But at least it was “from the shadows”, now though we’re at the ridiculous point of completely and blatantly becoming famous in our own time and smiting our way through the world having a silly number of great historical victories against famous historical figures in the open yet somehow magically being forgotten from the history books…
Not only is it unbelievable, it kills the idea of character. You are no longer shaped by the world, you shape it! Someone without power who has to make tough decisions and who doesn’t reveal themselves, who might even need to eliminate friends because they saw too much or were in the wrong place at the wrong time, that’s interesting. It’s going to inherently be a story about characters. But a story about a virtual god?
I love feeling powerful in these games in combat, but I want to feel meaningful too, without necessarily following the lazy trope of being the big hero of the world, just the small hero of my story. The Witcher 3 got this right. It’s intimate storytelling. AC has been missing the mark there, and it would do better if it didn’t try to turn you into a savior.