Since the game just crashed again (what a new development 🤥 ) and I only have Hamtum...thingy left, I thought I gave my thoughts mainly to vent.Some areas do look prettyThe fighting (core gameplay) is fun! A lot actually, attacks/actions are clearly telegraphed and messing up is actually mainly your fault.
Let me start with the two good things about the game in my opinion:
CRASHES, so many crashes...Broken Physics if you exceed a certain framerate which is just so stupid. Especially since games that suffer from these stupid limitations have the decency to cap the framerate but for some strange reason Ubisoft doesn't.Ridiculously bad low res assets which make the game look so weirdly inconsistent and old. As an example please take a look at the PC you can see in these superfluous "modern times" sequences. For some reason it reminds me of the telephone asset used in Kingpin Life of Crime, which impressed me a lot when I first saw it... in 1999. Well now it makes me just sad. Those low res and low quality assets are sprinkled throughout the game and stick out like a sore thumb.AI: Wow... who here as ever seen a member of your raiding party fall in battle? I sure didn't, but I saw them constantly on the ground. Why? Because they set something on fire and stood in the flames. It's funny, but also really sad.
Now to the bad and boy oh boy is there a lot. Now please keep in mind that I spent more than 100 hours in the game despite these many many problems (granted at least 15% of that time was replaying passages, because the game crashes CONSTANTLY in some scenarios, especially those like raids, where you can't save) which shows how good the gameplay loop is.
Getting down a ladder should not be a challenge, it is in this game though. I've died a lot in my game so far and I think once or twice in battle and roughly 50 times because the game decided I want to jump down somewhere and not onto the ledge I was aiming for. No visual cues or consistency as to where you can climb and where you can't. This Ledge? Sure you can climb that, this identical looking ledge? ARE YOU CRAZY!? Of course not. Why? Because the game decided this was the case. Please take a look at games like Dying Light where you can see from 100 meters away if that's the case or not. That's good visual design, maybe you should look into this foreign concept.
This is a big one for me. Minigames are supposed to be fun distractions to change up the gameplay from time to time.
Well fun is something Ubisoft clearly didn't have on their radar and from my point of view they managed to cram in the worst minigame I have ever seen in any game ever. And there is another that should be considered the runner up.
Cairns: The worst minigame I have ever "played". Fun clearly wasn't the intention here and is nowhere to be found, the controls are atrocious and it's just a tedious punishment.
Drinking game: Terrible and my runner up for worst minigame ever. Far too drawn out, monotonous and the visual cues for pushing left and right are on the wrong side. Instinctively you will press to the wrong side for the first 100 times, because other games and your instinct have taught you: if something is on the right side you press to the right side. The decision to brake with this convention is just so stupid, because I'm 100% sure it will screw me over in games I play in the future, since other games tend to be well designed. If you intend to introduce challenge, maybe just mix up the button prompts and don't try to screw with intuition, instinct and reflexes for the sake of avoiding creativity.
Broken Economy because you want to make more money:
This speaks for itself, this time it's titanium that was crippled because you want to coerce even more money out of players. You had the choice: make a balanced game or MORE MONEY and the decision you made is very obvious.
Story and Characters:
Modern Time stuff and the actual game feel so detached, I ignore the modern times stuff completely and fast forward the whole way through.
I didn't play all the games so I don't get anything that's going on. It's very alienating for players who aren't completely invested in this "storyline", but since it's so sparse, detached and has no bearing on the actual game, I can happily ignore it and torture my space bar for a few seconds until I can finally continue playing the actual game.
The story and characters in this game are just not good. The obvious psychopath turns out to be a psychopath, Characters get introduced and dropped a couple of minutes later.
I played the game a lot and I can exactly remember 6 names of characters: Eivor, Sigurd, Randvi, Ceolbert, Fulcae(?) and Ivarr (the obvious psychopath, rivaling the obvious psychopath from Red Dead Redemption 2 with his oh so unexpected betrayal). Your characters are NOT memorable or at least not for the right reasons. There is no real development, no real depth and especially no investment on my part.
Ceolbert: WHEN will he die was the question that plagued me, not if. I didn't care though when it finally happened.
Eivor: Okay... the traits are: loyal, stupid and FIGHTING!
Sigurd: Don't care, I'm supposed to like him, but I don't see a reason why
Randvi: Is basically just a tool to progress the story
Fulcae: Obvious betrayer is obvious
Ivarr: Psychopath and that's all there is to him
I literally cared more for every NPC in a Legend of Heroes game than any in Valhalla, since they have personality and a natural Arc.
The closest any character comes to an arc is when Eivor and Sigurd suddenly start arguing for NO relatable reason. Somehow Eivor thinks they should hurry and "don't have time to find Fulcae(?)", no build up, no apparent reason as to why Eivor thinks that and suddenly there is supposed to be tension. This would work if there actually was a reason for it, but it ended up feeling forced and just stupid. It wasn't there because of natural progression, but somewhere on a checklist there was the point "Tension between Sigurd and Eivor" and something had to be made up.. and not much care went into it.
I also want to mention that there is no motivation for helping Eivor and Sigurd throughout the game for that Loki(assassin dude, forgot his name since he isn't memorable) character. Why didn't he just kill Sigurd and Eivor if he is so hung up on what their former incarnations did to his wolf kid? Why did he "build them up"? I don't get it, but there had to be some form of conflict according to the checklist I guess.
Why should I - as someone who doesn't really care for the modern times / assassin templar thingy - assume that the "order" is and each member is bad/evil? Eivor goes around killing people just because they are part of the order. Sometimes there is a reason for killing them to some extent, since they are in parts terrible human being but very often there is no other than they are part of the order. Eivor has to kill them, because she found three documents saying they are members. It would be nice to give a reason as to why the Order is evil and why the assassin guys aren't. There is no basis for me to assume that one is better than the other, but for some reason Eivor is really commited (which is the main reason I have to assume one of her/his character traits are supposed to be: stupid).
An honorable mention has to the made at this point for the baseball cameo. I don't know crap about baseball players, but I know it was a cameo and I cringed so hard it physically hurt me.
I mentioned some stuff before, and I will repeat: some areas do look really pretty.
But I'm exclusively talking about parts in nature. Cities/Towns all look EXACTLY the same. There is no personality, no distinguishing feature and they all bleed together. The tendency to reuse the same 10 assets over and over again is the main reason for that. There is not a single memorable place in this game and considering the size of the map and amount of towns/cities, that is a real accomplishment.
I could say more but let's leave it at that. I personally would feel ashamed for publishing a game like this, since there is soooooo much wasted potential.
I blame greed, lazyness and a lack of creativity, but the execution of this game shows me, that Ubisoft can't feel shame. Please let me know if you want to know more about shame, I can point you to some definitions that could help you.