Welcome to Valhalla
We’ve been treated to some wonderful adventures in the past
few years, visiting Egypt in Origins and beautiful Greece
in Odyssey. This year we take on the role of Eivor in Norway
and England, set in the middle ages time period.
Valhalla is taking a bit of a different approach this time
around compared to the other games previously, where stealth
has been in a bigger role, but as you can guess Vikings
prefer to do it the rough way, hand to hand and eye to an
eye style instead. And I can say that the new combat system
is ever so enjoyable, specially for me as I have never been
“let’s say good at stealth”, it always fails for me at some
point and then I go in all guns/fists blazing after all,
so this change is a positive for me from the get go.
I won’t talk about the story per se here as usual, as story
intense games should be enjoyed by yourself, and this story
is one you should listen to and watch, it will keep you engaged
and focused for the +40 hours you will spend on Valhalla,
it’s got more twists, plotting, revenge.. than in an episode
of Emmerdale (English TV Soap show). Plus add countless hours
of exploring for uncovering all the secrets Valhalla has to
offer on top of that, also with future DLC you will add
considerable gaming hours to the total whilst traveling
to other countries such as Ireland and France. It’s not a
short game by any means, but it’s not Odyssey length either.
I’d say it’s just about the right length to keep you engaged.
Starting the game will let you choose which Eivor you want
to play as, Female or Male / Animus option, choosing one
over the other has no impact on the mechanics of the game,
The animus option however has you change character a few
times during your gameplay, and will let you experience
the full story so to say.
Before I continue, here’s the answer to an important question.
Can you pet the dog? Yes, why yes you can pet the dog, you can
also hold a cat, also ride a giant *censored* (no spoilers).
While spending the first few opening hours of the game in
beautiful snow covered Norway, will have you flashback to
important moments that occurred in your life, and serves as
a get to know the game (tutorial) and characters, familiarizing
yourself with close melee combat, ranged weapons, skills and
abilities, getting more or less ready for what lays ahead of
you later on in England.
Political/family problems on the horizon is what ultimately
leads you to leave Norway with your half brother Sigur whom is
a major part of the game. Your journey then takes you to
England in hopes of creating a new settlement on rich and
ripe lands for the taking.
This is where truly all the fun begins at (Ravensthorpe)
an abandoned settlement, that is now your new home.
Besides settling in on new territory, you will need to find
allies, and without spoiling too much.. you will most likely
remember names such as Lothbrook, Rollo.. etc from the TV
series Vikings. This sets things into a fantastic start
meeting the characters.
One of the great things about Ravensthorpe is that your new home
is upgradable, with materials liberated from raids around your
new home in the Mercia region, the only sad thing
is that there is only so much you can raid per region.
Fret not, forging allies with other people in different regions
open up new areas to explore and loot. Nothing more satisfying
than sailing in with your boat, activating a raid and charging
at the enemy with your Dual Sword, Hammers, Shield Sword combo.
Whatever you’ve chosen to wear.
Levelling up and acquiring new skills / abilities / power levels
also increase the enemy difficulty, so your raids also get more
challenging as you progress through the game.
Skills and Abilities can be learnt from hidden books of wisdom
around the map (see above pictures for map), weapons can be
upgraded as you find materials, pouches as well for carrying
ammunition for your bows, and as Vikings believe in Thor and Norse
mythology, Rune stones are present also for upgrading weapons
giving them abilities such as more health, damage etc.
One thing that I found a little bit confusing in the beginning
is that you cannot create ammo or health yourself, so you are
relying on shops/merchants in the region, or just plainly
robbing everything in sight to stock up. A tip here is that
you should upgrade all your pouches for carrying stuff early on.
Once you get used to the system it’s not so bad in the end,
though it can be frustrating as the enemies do evolve and
introduce new types of enemies as you progress. And nothing
worse than running out of ammo for your bow this way.
These guys can take a big chunk out of your health in a jiffy,
and if your upgraded health pouch isn’t filled up with berries
and food, you won’t have a fun time. Luckily the game auto-saves
often and not much progress is lost if you would happen to die.
A tip while using the bow, enemies have hit points you can
attack, shooting them in the arm and leg for example, results in
them going down on their knees, and you can execute a finishing
move this way. Brutal and swift, just the way Vikings like it.
As you have settled by a river, and came sailing in from Norway
you have at your disposal a long boat, that is handy for
traversing the coastal line of your new home. Not limited to
only a boat, as in previous Assassins Creed games, you have had
trusty companions, birds, and Valhalla is no different, your
trusty companion is a raven, that works as a scout for finding
out where to head, very handy indeed as Valhalla has less markers
on the UI cluttering up things than it’s predecessors.
The map overall is huge, and even if England might feel a bit
flat at times compared to the opening act in Norway with
gorgeous snow covered mountains and Fjords. It is quick and
handy to travel with the auto travel function, that let’s you
even shift to a panoramic view of things, while your horse
or boat is taking you to your intended mark.
England is a fun playground, with tons to explore and
sights to go wow at. And if you explore hard enough,
you will find monuments that still stand to this day,
and even Thors *censored* itself.
Valhalla delivers a great Assassins Creed title, that is worth
your time and money, It’s gorgeous, brutal, and you’ll have a
blast playing it, mowing your way through England.
So how does it run?
As you can see from the above chart ^
Valhalla requires some serious horse power under the hood
to run at 4K with all the juicy details and RTX on, and even
lowering the detail levels and such, results in needing to
have a pretty powerful computer / gpu combination.
For example, at 1440p with my i5/16GB 2080S (8GB) combination
I only manage to get about 60-80fps with a mixture of
High and Very High settings.
The combination of High and Very High detailed settings,
already result in jaw dropping visuals, but one would hope
that Ubisoft could work out a patch to squeeze out even more
frames, as the frames do dip at certain parts in the game.
The game also during my playtime had some weirdness in bugs
and a few crashes, but that will definitely be ironed out
as soon as possible, like I mentioned earlier on, the game
saves a lot, so even if you experience a crash.. there is
a high chance you will just restart from the point you where
at when it crashed.
Another great thing that needs to be mentioned here is
the new Ubi connect and it’s cloud save functionality.
Play it on any platform, and you can pick up from where you
left off on another. This is truly cross-play-platform, and
one would hope that everyone implements this as soon as
- Epic story
- Things to do
- Gorgeous open world
- Combat is satisfying
- More content coming over time
- Hardware requirements for solid +60fps
- Frame dips
- Bugs & crashes