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  • Ingel_Riday
    Original poster 9 posts

    I know they were a bit contentious on ye olde internet, but I wanted to offer some after-the-fact river raid praise. Odd, slightly off-kilter praise, sure… but praise nonetheless.
     
    So, here it goes: playing the river raids reminded me of a “vertical slice” demonstration; a chunk of a game shown to investors / shareholders / potential funders to whet their appetite and get them to sink some cash. From what I’ve heard, they’re an absurd amount of work and utterly impractical; to show off a “vertical slice,” you’re going to have to have basically completed the lion’s share of game development in the first place. Combat, movement, enemy AI, texture-work, so on and so forth. You’re not showing off “a portion of the game.” You’re showing off the game with some frills still pending.
     
    That’s what this felt like, and it showed me that the core components of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla are pretty rock solid. The combat is fun, stealth is fairly amusing (no longer the path of least resistance, but you’re a Viking. Makes sense you’re not skulking about as much), the climbing / parkour mechanic works well, character animations are smooth (during gameplay), raiding with a crew of miscreants is a blast, the longship handles great, the open world maps were beautifully rendered & designed, the soundtrack is impeccable, and I could keep rambling.  
     
    Point is, river raids reminded me that this game franchise still has a solid foundation and got me to start playing AC: Valhalla again after quitting two months ago. A lot of the little details and “frills” of this game had burned me out. I couldn’t look past things like:

    •      The awful Bioware conversation trees that break pacing during key scenes & rob Eivor of the solid characterization Ezio, Bayek, and other past leads have benefited from.
    •      The strange character animations during cut-scenes and conversations. The 180 in quality from combat animations to dialogue / cut-scenes is still jarring.
    •     Odd politics seeping into the game (censoring all topless Roman female statues with clam-shell bras / mastectomies via selective erosion being the most egregiously bizarre example I care to rattle off at present)
    •      Yet another Assassin’s Creed game that heavily markets with the male version and then insists the female version is “canon.” Believe it or not, knowing my playthrough is just a giant “what-if” scenario that has no bearing on the over-all lore of a game franchise with over a dozen entries that I’ve been following since 2007 is profoundly unmotivating. Sinking 150+ hours into something overtly pointless and meaningless kind of sucks. Heck, you can’t even preview the DLC costumes with the male Eivor and the hair-styles you can buy all have the female Eivor head. Charming. I’ve never played an “RPG” before that so brazenly insists that my character choice is wrong, non-canonical, and not to be humored. Thanks for the fireside chat, Basim?
    •     Frequent crashes and bugs
    •     An overly large open world that feels like it has absolutely no focus.
    •    Bla bla bla


    The river raids never crashed on me once. They ran perfectly fine with none of the lurking bugbears above in sight. I enjoyed them enough to actually decide that I want to finish beating the game… which, to be frank, I wasn’t planning on doing beforehand. This was going to be the first Assassin’s Creed I didn’t finish, and I was perfectly fine with that. As a fan, you were totally losing me.

    So yeah, thanks for the river raids. Nice to get a reminder of what’s underneath the proverbial hood, and I had a genuinely good four hours doing it. I doubt fans like me were the intended audience for it, but if so... it worked.

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  • kreutzgang
    635 posts

    @ingel_riday Well, for me the RR crashed on my very first one, and just like in the main game, if you don't do it in the specific way the game wants you to, it bugs the heck out, and they actually made me quit the game, as they are just more grinding for stuff I never actually even looked at after picking it up and tedious time-wasting mechanics, which is the last thing this game needed - plus once you've done them, why would you keep doing them? I can see how they may be more interesting if you avoided the grindy content in the main game and stopped playing after the story, or do them bit by bit while playing through the actual game though. Aside from the Jomsvikings that is, who are a complete liability.

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