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Assassin's Creed Valhalla Review: Reshaping the Viking Legend

The work “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla” in the “Assassin’s Creed” series. In the new game, players will play as Viking warrior Ai Woer leading his companions to gallop through medieval England, Norway and other places, expanding their power through plunder, alliances and other means, while using the obtained resources to establish their own base. On the other hand, the excellent sales results of the first two games make “Valhalla” continue the previous production ideas naturally, and the game mode is increasingly inclined towards the open world RPG type. Influenced by the Viking theme, the combat style and experience of this game appear more wild.

Crossing England ①

The story time of “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla” is around the end of the 9th century AD, when it was still in the “Viking Age”. Vikings looted all over the European continent. In the plot, the Golden King Harald aims to unify the entire territory of Norway, so the protagonist Ai Woer and some clan members decide to leave and go to England to explore new territories, and the story unfolds from this opportunity.

Compared to the previous two games, “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” provides players with a larger game stage. From snow-covered Norway to river-lined England, the game reshapes the terrain and unique medieval architecture of these areas. You can explore dilapidated castles, steep and towering snow-capped mountains, crisis-ridden swamps, and even the bottom of rivers and lakes … Although the main stage of the game is located in England, players can also explore Norway and four regions in the Nordic nine realms, such as Asgard and Jotunheim, to a certain extent. The overall map area of this game can be said to be the largest in the history of the “Assassin’s Creed” series.

It is worth mentioning that the map of “Valhalla” has cancelled the previous question mark design and replaced it with different colored light spots such as yellow (wealth), blue (mysterious legend), and white (artifact) to identify collection elements. When players approach, the light spots will become more specific information legends. The large yellow light spots representing wealth are generally special weapons and equipment, strengthening materials, and knowledge books (special skills), etc. These should be considered the most important exploration and collection elements in the game, which will directly affect the experience of cultivation and combat content.

The blue dots contain world events and puzzle games. The world events in this work are not monotonous errands, but some short and interesting anecdotes. Most of them can easily obtain rewards by completing the plot options and interactive operations. Moreover, many stories and characters have left a deep impression on me. For example, there is a Viking couple in Alexstad who need to rekindle their love by simulating looting scenes. When they are in love, you have to destroy pots and pans on the side to pretend to be burning, killing and looting. In the ruins of Wickham, there is a Norse warrior with an axe on his head. Although his life is in danger, he still looks indifferent. You can choose to pull out the axe to help him out… The various small characters and stories make the whole process more fulfilling and vividly reflect Viking’s tough folk customs.

In addition to the regular exploration content, there are still some legendary creatures and powerful wild bosses lurking all over the map. Defeating these strong enemies and clearing an area of wild bosses can get skill points, task props, and other rich rewards. The background design of these bosses is often related to some legendary or mythological stories.

Valhalla continues the smooth and seamless parkour and climbing experience of the previous two works. Almost all buildings, mountains, and branches in the game can be climbed, and the player’s activity space is very three-dimensional and free. The character’s connecting actions will also change when facing different interactive objects. Although it still lacks the operation and puzzle-solving feeling brought by the planned route in the previous old works, this mode does make the exploration experience more convenient in open-world games. As for mechanisms such as Odin’s Eye, Raven, and Synchronization, except for changing their names, their functions are basically the same as those of previous series works, and they are still important auxiliary tools used to confirm the location of surrounding facilities, treasures, and enemies.

Crossing England ②

Longships are a very important part of Viking culture. These warships have slender hulls, light speeds, and shallow drafts, making them very suitable for raids and raids. In the game, players can directly summon longships as long as they are close to the water’s edge. In addition to raising sails to speed up the ship’s navigation, the operation mode of longships is not much different from using mounts on land, and it is very easy to get started. Eivor sitting at the bow of the ship can command the crew to sing or tell stories. High-level song performance combined with humorous and witty stories makes the water journey always very lively. The stone bridge stands on the rippling river bank. When the longship passes by, the crew will lower the mast. From the autumn forest to the crowded town, the scenery on both sides will constantly change with the journey… The game ensures that the player’s sailing experience will not be too monotonous through the processing of graphics and details. In addition, players can customize the bow, sails, and assistants on the ship to create a fleet that showcases their personal style. However, with

The intelligent pathfinding system makes the operation experience of the long boat very convenient, but occasionally there are still some situations where obstacles get stuck

Relying on the superiority of Viking longships, Vikings once plundered and ravaged Europe everywhere. In “Valhalla”, plundering is a relatively important gameplay mechanism. Because the construction of residential areas requires a large amount of supplies and raw materials, and the important source of these two materials is plundering. When the player’s longship sails to settlements, monasteries and other locations, they can choose the plunder command. As the horn sounds, the soldiers on the ship will automatically start attacking. The player’s job is to lead them to defeat the surrounding militias and guards, and search for the materials hidden in the Treasure box. After obtaining all the local raw material supplies, the plunder is considered complete.

Compared to siege warfare, the battle process of looting is relatively simple. Due to the lack of tactical instructions and mechanisms, both sides’ AIs often fight independently, so most of the time the experience is to chop people and scratch their heads. Although it may be more in line with the realistic Viking looting scenario, there is indeed not much tactics and operability to speak of.

The location of supplies and raw materials will be marked on the map. Generally, a looting point does not have too many Treasure boxes of supplies and raw materials, so a looting often does not take too much time.

In the Assassin’s Creed series, morality is constrained by synchronization conditions. Therefore, as the protagonist, Ai Woer cannot kill civilians during the looting process.

“Valhalla” is a work with a large number of mini-games. The game of fate, which is played with dice, is one of the main projects. The gameplay of fate is somewhat similar to the card battle game of round-robin rotation. There will be different actions such as attack, defense, and stealing favor on the die surface of a die. Both sides need to go through a cycle of rolling dice, holding dice, and rerolling to settle the attack and defense. The health point of both sides is fifteen points, and victory can be achieved by reducing the opponent’s health point to zero. In addition to attacking and defending, players can also reverse the situation by consuming favor cards to activate the favor of the gods. How to hold dice, obtain favor cards, and activate the favor of the gods are all tactical points of the game. The rules of the game seem complex, but it is actually very easy to operate. The duration of a game is basically maintained at about 5 or 6 minutes, and the overall rhythm is relatively light.

In addition to the game of fate, “Valhalla” also includes a variety of mini-games such as a drinking showdown that tests the rhythm of the buttons, a stone tower that simulates real-life physics effects, and a stone formation puzzle, parkour, and note chasing. The quantity and variety are quite rich.

Although Vikings are often portrayed as savage and warlike barbarians, their culture was very rich and colorful during the Viking era, and poetry was an indispensable part of it. Viking poetry is full of combat glory, heroic deeds, family affection… In “Valhalla”, the protagonist Eivor is not only a brave Viking warrior but also a poet. In the plot, he will also show his love for poetry. In addition, players can experience the Viking’s [rap] tradition through the game of fighting sentences. In the game of fighting sentences, players need to choose neat and rhyming sentences from the sentence options to counterattack. The selection process is time-limited, so it is necessary to read and respond quickly. However, because most of the poems are complex, it is often inconvenient for players with poor memory to review the previous records to see the opponent’s words and phrases.

[Battle and Homeland Mode]

Due to the Viking theme, this work can be regarded as a true “frenzy creed”. In terms of visual effects, “Valhalla” has a more violent amputation and bloodshed effect. When facing different types of enemies, the execution animation is also extremely diverse. For example, when facing human enemies, Ai Woer will insert the opponent’s weapon into their body; when encountering wild boars and wolves, he will take out the dagger and short axe from his waist to cut his throat or cut his neck directly.

Valhalla basically continues the combat mode and thinking of Odyssey. Players use evasion and defense actions to avoid enemy attacks, and then counterattack through light and heavy attacks. Compared with previous Assassin’s Creed works, Valhalla has added an endurance slot system, which requires endurance for a series of actions such as attack, defense, and evasion. However, after a light attack hits, endurance can be greatly restored, so the planning and use of endurance slots will not be as strict as some hardcore action games. On the other hand, this also encourages players to take the initiative to attack more.

This game cancels the automatic and skill healing mechanisms in “Odyssey” and instead adopts a mode similar to ” Horizon: Zero Dawn “, which restores health by collecting wild fruits, herbs, and other food on the map. When the health is full, the excess food will be stored in the food bag, which players can use at any time according to the situation. This mode requires players to collect food resources more frequently, which is more troublesome to operate. However, storing enough health resources can also make it easier for players to face various battle situations, overall reducing the difficulty threshold of the game.

The heart-shaped logo in the lower left corner of the screen is the food storage tank. The numbers represent the number of times the health can be restored. In the game’s wilderness scenes, there are often a large number of wild fruits and herbs, so the pressure on survival is much smaller.

There are many types of weapons in this game. In the process, players can experience several weapons such as single/double-handed axes, spears, swords, chains, shields, etc. Each weapon has its own independent action module, and its performance characteristics are also completely different. Players can equip any single-handed weapon combination such as axe shield, sword shield, double axe, etc. in the main and auxiliary hands. However, in the case of dual-wielding, the action module is based on the main hand’s weapon, and the auxiliary hand only plays a role in increasing damage, and the action experience will not change too much. After clicking on specific skills, Aiwo can also dual-wield two-handed weapons. In these cases, the weapon combinations that players can try in the game are quite rich.

In “Valhalla”, enemies have added a concept similar to a posture slot. After emptying the defense slot above the health bar, the enemy will fall to the ground and become unbalanced. At this time, players can move forward to carry out execution attacks. Anti-counter is an important means of reducing defense slots in the game. The anti-counter judgment in this game is relatively loose. The enemy’s normal attacks and yellow judgment attacks can be anti-counter, while the red judgment attacks can only be dodged. This is similar to most similar action games on the market.

Bows and arrows can still play a powerful role in combat, with significant damage and interrupting effects.

In “Odyssey”, the dynamic level system that requires players to forcibly level up and cannot explore freely has been criticized by many players. This game changes the previous level mechanism. Level changes will not bring substantial attribute improvements, but only provide skill points. The player’s combat power is determined by skill points, and the more skill points added, the higher the combat power. Each area on the map is clearly marked with combat power levels, but these combat power levels in this game will not change with the player’s level. On the other hand, as long as the player’s game experience and equipment accumulation are sufficient, it is not difficult to challenge enemies beyond levels.

Due to the cancellation of the level system in this game, assassinations have become easier, and most miscellaneous players can handle them easily. In addition, when assassinating some powerful elite enemies in this game, a special QTE slot will be displayed, and players need to press the button at the right time to increase the chance and damage of assassination.

The sleeve arrow is back, and the process will explain why Ai Woer wears the sleeve arrow on the back of his hand. There is a setting option in the game that assassination must kill enemies.

The skill disk of this game is still divided into three branch routes: melee, shooting, and assassination. The way of adding points is similar to the crystal disk of Final Fantasy 10 . Each major skill often needs to point out a certain crossing point to unlock. However, the skill disk is filled with a large number of crossing attribute points, which makes the skill disk very bloated and inconvenient for players to view. In addition, this game can reset skill points unconditionally anytime, anywhere, so it is very convenient for players to adjust their combat style.

Some skill points will enhance the corresponding type of equipment attributes

Each weapon and equipment in “Valhalla” can be said to be “unique”, with unique attack effects and set attributes. The game no longer drops equipment by brushing enemies like in previous games. Weapons and equipment are mainly obtained through exploration points, tasks, stores, etc. Players can spend strengthening materials to improve the quality and attributes of equipment, but the early acquisition of quality-enhancing materials is limited. In the process, players generally need to focus on strengthening several sets of commonly used equipment.

The residential point system is an important gameplay feature of this game. Players need to plunder resources to build their own residential points. The functions of the residential points are very rich. Stables can change the appearance of mounts and ravens, and can develop and improve the ability of mounts to move and cross rivers. Mercenary camps allow players to hire the assistants and crew of long ships. Players can customize the appearance of the assistants and even recruit mercenaries from other players. If your mercenaries are recruited by other players, you will also receive certain tribute rewards. In addition to facilities with different effects, players can also modify the appearance of the stronghold by adding various decorations, and they can also receive many interesting Side Missions from their resident partners in the stronghold.

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