I’ve been waiting on patches for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla game and finishing smaller games like Alan Wake before tackling this monster game. The word was Ubisoft was trying to create their own Witcher 3 tier game with this Viking iteration.
It was going to take at least 40 hours to finish the main story of Eivor the Viking, but there was plenty of side content worth taking more time on. This game will likely take up my whole February.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Game Graphics
I was disappointed there was no ray tracing in this game, at first. Youtube videos mentioned ray tracing, but it was a just a reshader mod. The good news is that the lighting still looks really good.
The rays of light over the horizon of the snow and ice look great. It is a very beautiful game without the ray tracing. Snow drifts are just as good as they were in Red Dead Redemption 2, packing under Eivor’s feet as he walked.
Animation transitions are done very well, whether I was climbing up or down, fighting or just traversing terrain. The contextual way it smoothly changes between all the animations is great and rarely breaks the flow of the game (at least not enough for me to notice/mention).
The fight animations are much more brutal than any Assassin’s Creed that I remember playing. It’s worth mentioning the last one I played was Syndicate.
Valhalla also has stun attacks with several kill animations of straight executions or dismemberment of enemies. My first boss fight ended with me squishing the guys head between his own hammers.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Gameplay
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Game Movement
The movement was very similar to other Assassin’s Creed games, only smoother. Climbing up the snowy peaks was actually a fun way to explore mysteries or wealth opportunities.
When I took the first axe swings, those were the few times I was not impressed. It seemed like it was an overswing where I would aim at a box and swing over it, instead of through it. That took a bit of getting used to, but the heavy swing was nice in the fights.
Raven and Odin’s Sight
I learned advanced recon using Eivor’s Raven, Synin, to fly over an area and mark targets or points of interest. This Odin’s sight mode, also highlighted places of wealth, mysteries and objective areas. It was useful for strategizing how to attack.
Ranged weapons like bows allow me to hit targets at a distance and useful for hunting later. I’ve even received a flail that I could spin around and cut enemies with at medium distance. I’m sure I’ll run into more.
Melee Weapons and Shields
The axe I started out with is standard Viking kit with a fast attack and a slower strong attack swing. It wasn’t long after that I equipped a shield on the other hand to block and shove.
I have not experimented with other weapons yet, the flail that I can equip to either hand. Dual wielding weapons is also possible.
Blocking at the right time with the shield unlocks the ability to perform a stun attack. That triggers the instant kill animation. I’ve seen stabbing through the stomach, stomping heads in and nailing enemies to the ground with a pike. It was brutal.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Eivor’s Horse
Much like the Witcher 3, I was able to call my horse from anywhere. It can gallop, change directions, jump and there’s an option to have it automatically follow the road. I think the latter will be useful when fighting atop the horse.
Being a Viking game, there’s also access to Eivor’s longboat that I took command of. Closer to land involves the crew rowing and deeper water enables the sail to be opened for faster travel, at the cost of manuverability. The boat can be used to dock and even activate a raid.
Orlog Dice Game
The dice game at the first settlement seemed like a nod to Gwent from the Witcher 3. The faces represented attacks or defenses. There were some god favor rules and the point was knocking down the other player’s health, represented by stones. It is not as great as Gwent, but it was a fun Assassin’s Creed Valhalla distraction.
Flyting was also an interesting little distraction. It is a word game where I had to match the rhyme of an opponent with a sentence with similar length and pattern. Doing in well in these can increase charisma to open additional dialogue options.
The drinking game was another great distraction. It required timing when to gulp so you don’t choke. After a bit of drinking, I had to press a button to keep my balance, while not ruining the rhythm. I had to finish my 3 horns of beer before my opponent by not screwing up the pattern too many times.
Some Story Highlights so Far
For anyone that’s every watched either the series Vikings, or the Last Kingdom, they will feel right at home with this game. The style, mood, story and music could have been plucked straight out of a season of either of the shows. I was actually surprised when I didn’t hear the Viking them song.
The Beginning Game for Eivor
I started Eivor’s story as a small boy in a typical Viking feast hall before all hell broke loose. The camp was raided by Kjotve and Eivor’s father died in shame by surrendering to save his clan.
His sacrifice was in vein when Kjotve ordered everyone killed anyways. Eivor’s mother also died before he was able to escape. Perfect for any start of a Viking series, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla a path to revenge.
After the escape, I made the choice for the male Eivor, but there’s also an option for female, or an adaptive “let the game pick” choice. This is where the real game began.
Rescuing Eivor’s Viking Crew
Years later, Kjotve captured Eivor with plans to sell him as a slave. Naturally, I (as Eivor) escaped and began the whole tutorial for all the gameplay systems I already mentioned. That led me to rescuing my longboat crew after giving the first boss the hammerhead treatment.
This game made it pretty clear the longboat and its crew would be a big part of the game. On that boat, I had a choice to ask the crew to sing a Viking song or tell me a story of the gods. It was a nice bit of story to help with these boat trips and keep close to the Viking theme.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Fornburg Settlement
I spent the first few Assassin’s Creed Valhalla missions visiting the different parts of the Fornburg settlement. The places I visited include the blacksmith, tattoo shop, seer, merchant, stable, etc.
On my way to the Seer, I ran into a sleeping guard who started sleep walking. I could have just moved on, but followed him as he took a zip line before waking up. It was a nice little random bit of extra story.
At the Seer, I was led on a drug induced vision. There was Odin and wolves. It ended with Eivor’s bestfriend Sigurd cutting his hand off and being sucked away by a giant wolf.
The seer translated the vision as Eivor would betray Sigurd. I have a feeling it will be Sigurd who goes against Eivor first, possibly siding with the Templars at some point.
After the game eased me into some of the systems, it was off to some action. Sigurd, the King’s son, arrives home with two Assassin’s who give Eivor his first hidden blade.
The king was not ready to help Eivor with revenge, but Sigurd and the Assassins definitely wanted to help. They even gave Eivor the infamous hidden blade. That led to a quick tutorial on how to use it before I had to quit.
I could tell this was still just the tutorial/prologue and I’m in for a long haul of a this Assassin’s Creed Valhalla game, but I can’t wait to play again.