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  • Devinite
    Original poster 6 posts

    Hey guys, I just wanted to share my spoiler-free review of Assassin's Creed Valhalla with you guys!

    Assassin's Creed Valhalla is a game that makes the brand identity crisis more obvious than ever. This game has a passionate team behind it. The writing, especially towards the end may be the best the franchise has seen in a long time. The revival of the modern day and First Civ story are a welcome addition and tie in a lot of open questions that previous entries never cared to answer.

    However, many of the issues that plague the franchise since Origins and became even more obvious in Odyssey are still there and don't seem like they are going to be solved in the near future. Valhalla continues the RPG route and leaves oldschool fans like me unsatisfied again. Just like in Origins and Odyssey, you are greeted with various different RPG mechanics, skills, tons of unimportant side content and a massive world to explore (I don't mean this in a good way). The bloat that especially plagued Odyssey returns again, but is handled a little better since Valhalla tries very hard to tie every little side activity into your main story and the growth of your settlement. Side stories are mostly non existent since all major narrative quests are part of the various main story arcs. Everything else on the map comes down to a bunch of different collectibles, skills, gear and little world events that don't really make an impact whatsoever.

    Theoretically, this doesn't sound so bad, but in reality it just shifts one issue into another location. Yes, it's true that there is no need to do side quests in order to have a high enough skill-level to continue the main story anymore. But the reason for that is that the side content basically became main content and is now mandatory. There are tons of different story arcs in Valhalla. One half is actually amazing, really engaging and makes you want more. The other half however, is often quite pointless and feels like massive filler. Don't get me wrong, they are still well written, but they really damage the quality of the main narrative. Everytime when the story feels engaging and makes you want more, it stops and the game forces you to finish one or two of the filler arcs before you can continue the really interesting arcs. Therefore, the main story never truly picks up until the very end.

    Also, since Origins the AC games don't really have a clear ending anymore. There is no real climax and a satisfying credit roll. Instead, it's just another finished quest and after a short "congratulations!" you are being thrown back into the open world. Part of that probably has to do with the fact that Ubisoft wants to continue the story in future DLC. A practice that I'm not really the biggest fan of. Valhalla with it's sheer size often feels like work, rather than a fun experience. If a game demands so much time and attention, I feel like it needs to earn this right. Games like The Witcher 3 or Red Dead Redemption 2 do this by really pushing forward story-driven open-world games and not releasing regularly. Valhalla, just like Odyssey before it, doesn't. This is just more of the classic Ubisoft content. Nothing that allows it to be as long as it is.

    Overall, Valhalla tries to make the best out of a bad situation. Assassin's Creed has become an RPG franchise now, whether you like it or not. Odyssey embraced this and made very clear that it doesn't want to appeal to the older generation of fans. Valhalla is in a different situation, because it really tries to appeal to both sides. There is quite a lot of lore about Assassins / Hidden Ones, Templars / Order of the Ancients and First Civilization and almost everything of it is really good. In the bigger cities the game tries to emulate the feeling of older titles by including social stealth and blending in with the crowds. But in the end, it still is mostly a Viking fantasy with Assassin's Creed elements and fanservice added into it, never reaching the potential of older titles. It's still better than nothing though (looking at you Odyssey).

    Apart from that, Valhalla often feels clunky and unpolished. There are a lot of bugs and glitches and the presentation at times may be a franchise low. Especially cutscenes, which for a long time were a prime discipline of AC with its fully mocap animations, are mostly nothing more than okay. The reason for that is because they now use AI animation presets to do most of the work, apart from a few mocap scenes.

    But why is that? It's simple: Time. These RPG ACs are massive in every way. And with a development time of 2 1/2 years, the developers had to cut things short in order to deliver such a massive title. Quantity over quality in that case. Therefore, one can only hope that the next-gen AC will return the franchise to its roots. Delivering a smaller, but more thought out world, better cutscenes and a more streamlined story with an actual Assassin vs Templar conflict in the center. If you were looking for any of this in Valhalla, you will be disappointed.

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  • ADarklore
    91 posts

    @devinite I for one, LOVE the new direction of the series. I think Ubisoft realized that there games were only appealing to a niche audience, and they needed to expand the number of players they were reaching... and they have. The majority of players love the new direction, and many of those are NEW players to the series, me included. I had no desire to play the previous games, there were no choices, no open world, and I hate games that 'end' when I love replaying or continuing a game... which is why I normally have played MMOs instead of single player games. However, my first AC game was Odyssey, because of their shift to RPG open-world style... that and the fact I'm a huge history buff and the time period of Odyssey is one of my favorites.

    I put roughly 300 hours into my first Odyssey play through, and have finished the game with NG+ two more times. I then went on to play Origins, and even though I'm also into ancient Egyptian history, I honestly hated the game because I found it just so... boring and the combat was a step backwards from Odyssey (you could tell it was the predecessor of Odyssey as Odyssey IMO got things right). Plus, in Origins all you had to see was sand, sand, sand and more sand... at least in Odyssey you always found awesome vistas no matter where you looked. Plus, sea combat was fun, I love my Adrestia!!

    With Valhalla, it feels like a step backwards from Odyssey as far as combat goes... and given time, I'm sure they'll get all the bugs fixed... even Odyssey had its share of bugs when it first came out... but I didn't play it until it had been out for almost two years- so I didn't encounter a single bug in my hundreds of hours of gameplay. However, what I am really enjoying with Valhalla is the familiarity of the surroundings... living in the upper Midwest, it feels like home. I've also been enjoying the storyline, I've come across many surprises, which is nice... unlike Odyssey where I was never surprised by the events of the game. Although, I still say the whole 'gods' aspect is IMO 'jumping the shark' for the series.

  • Lysvander
    47 posts

    It can be as big as it is, but then take more time. Cutting things, don't polish it like you would want to is a bad direction development took. And not for the first time.
    Gaming is no longer in the hands of people who want to deliver something exquisite, or polished, dedicated, ... It's in the hands of people who want to see money and have no affinity with gaming or storytelling.

    The later generation of AC games never took me back to the feels of Ezio.
    They're different.

    Valhalla has it perks, music keeps surprising me for instance, it's a solid 9.
    Story telling is okay, but then dialogue at times is so poorly written. Even if certain actions have no consequence, the conversations feel awkward, not ... "real".
    Although it makes me smirk at times, i love to hear the line ... "Don't hurl into the barrel, okay?"

    It's a good game overall, but it could have been much more.
    In the end though, it is no longer an assassin's game, it stopped being that a long time ago.

  • bizantura
    14 posts

    @devinite
    I am not so shure. For me the game is a step down from the previous title. Can't say the writing is stellar. I am only interested in the RPG formula, that typical AC stuff I could do without but I understand it is there. I am 50 hours in and 30 of those hours is nothing but busy filler. Don't even think I am half way! Don't know if I can finish this borefest.
    Putting in "time savers" dlc weeks after release when reviews are done isn't inspiring either. People that grinded to be overlevelled did so for naught. My solace is I did not buy this game day one and for lesser price but if every iteration goes down hill being a borefest MTX laden game, I'll pass. Ubisoft might gain some AC fans back but keep this up they will loose their RPG audience.

  • Karloz1995
    268 posts
    This post is deleted!
  • Karloz1995
    268 posts

    @adarklore ac odyssey is not an ac game, sorry to dissapoint you, is a spin off, for casuals, also u have an altair profile pic (u never played previous titles...), u say u hated previous title because of the lack of "freedom" yeah, u have more "freedom" now, but cliche story and simplistic mechanics, very appealing to the casuals ofcourse... feel sad for you, but anyways, people love trash, they get trash, also trying to learn history from an AC game? ofcourse.... casuals




  • TaleraRis
    21 posts

    @adarklore

    I promise you my friend it is not jumping the shark. You need to play the earlier games. The events of Valhalla are well in line with things we've seen in previous games about the underlying mysteries around Those Who Came Before.

  • TaleraRis
    21 posts

    @devinite

    I agree with a lot of what you said. I'm an OG fan who was completely turned off by Odyssey. I enjoyed Valhalla very much. While not completely Assassins versus Templars, I felt the spirit was there in the same way as Black Flag.

    I also can live without the RPG elements. I do play both western and Japanese RPGs. It's one of my favorite genres. But in catering to that genre to sell more, Ubisoft is sacrificing what made AC unique.

    I also agree with another commenter about wanting to deliver something that shows dedication. Odyssey felt like a complete cash grab. Valhalla makes up a lot for that, but still unfortunately has that air. People praise something like Ghost of Tsushima so much (and compare it to AC) because it shows the care and the craft and the love toward what they were doing like AC of old did. Valhalla was a very good step back in that direction, but they need to keep going.

  • Netspook
    261 posts

    A game review with nothing about the gameplay.

    Ok.

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