Only a couple of weeks ago, the team here at Respawning uploaded our top 10 games of 2020 (BOO HISS!). Now at that time I was more than happy with my list, giving Hades the top spot felt right. However, this was before I had a chance to get to grips with the latest installment of Assassin’s Creed…Valhalla.
Surprising no one at all, It seems I have enjoyed roleplaying as a Viking warrior… Taking the reins as Eivor, yet another lead character in an Assassin’s Creed game who isn’t actually part of the actual Assassin group; I have been having a blast stomping, stabbing and at times sneaking my way across the English countryside all in the name of building up my precious Viking hamlet of Ravensthorpe.
Eivor is an incredibly engaging character with a grounded sense of duty and honour that sets them apart from most other characters in game. Even their fellow Vikings find them a little off at times. Notice too that I have stuck with gender neutral pronouns. This is because at the start of the game you are given the choice of what gender your Eivor will be and if you change your mind then don’t worry, you can switch on the fly at anytime in game! I played my first hours as a male Eivor since he is voiced by Magnus Bruun and I would listen to that man recite a dictionary, but more recently I have switched over to a female character and actually found her to be a little more engaging than boy Eivor.
My knowledge of Norse mythology has been tested several times throughout the game too. While trying to keep things in the realm of science fiction rather than the supernatural, Valhalla still plays around with the gods and their world quite often with Eivor having several moments chatting with chief god of the pantheon Odin while your adopted brother Sigurd runs all over the place believing himself to be a reincarnated god, I mean who hasn’t pulled that move eh Sigurd?
Gameplay was the biggest hurdle for me. I haven’t played the previous 2 Assassin’s Creed titles which had totally shaken up the formula from the original titles, Taking the series in a much more RPG direction. I was used to gear being acquired by story progression and a main campaign with a few fetch quests here and there.
What I got was a sprawling open world with hundreds of hours of side quests and rewards to be found. Without a care to level caps at times either! While some sections of the map have a recommended skill level, some quests don’t follow this recommendation and give you a challenge far beyond your level. E.g the side boss I encounter in the 55-skill level East Anglia who came at me with a whopping 360 skill level! Safe to say she beat me into the dirt before I had a clue what the hell was going on…
Overall Valhalla has so far eaten about 86 hours of my life, with the promise to take many more, hell I haven’t even made it to the 2 major city hubs of the game yet! I can’t stop myself playing and this could even become a problem as a 3rd lock down dawns and I need something to spend my evenings on… If I don’t respond, give me a Viking funeral.
I’m not here to give a proper review or a score for this game, I just felt like writing a piece on what an incredible experience I’ve had so far and that if i could go back, this would easily have been my game of the year!