Content of the article: "45 hours in, “finished” 3.5 areas and I think I need a break from Valhalla. My top issues and gripes with the game so far, even though I still think it’s a good game [minor (marked) side content spoilers]"
Some quick stats to give context:
- I am around level 125ish
- settlement level 4
- finished the story lines of the first 3 areas
- now in the 4th area
- I did almost all the side stuff in the first 3 areas (as in: clearing the map), only missing a couple of "blips" that were too high level (and I don't go after the tiny golden chests anymore)
Even though I like the game I am getting a bit tired of the gameplay loop and all the little issues that add up and start to annoy me.
- The parcour mechanic is a serious step backwards and can be really annoying. Odyssey in that regard felt perfect to me, why did they change any of that?
- The combat system is okay but still a step backwards.
- I am playing on PC with controller and hitting weak spots is a lottery most of the time. At least in combat.
- The itemization system is just plain boring. I am 90% Raven skilled and am still wearing all the (improved) Raven gear from the start of the game and have no reason whatsoever to change.
- I tried a lot of weapons but… they really don't matter, I feel? Eventually I always get back to the war hammer from back in Norway.
- …is a nice idea but a lot of the "improvements" are basically just boring menus to turn in stuff.
- (So far) there is not enough interaction in the settlement and not enough side content. Although I already had a couple of side quests.
- So far it is mostly another number to increase but I expected the settlement to provide more "character". So many people seem to be crazy about the settlement and I just don't see why (yet?).
- …is pretty boring as well. I dislike tattoos for my game characters so this part is a complete loss for me. And that would be okay if there were more other options to gather.
- Management of your crew feels completely meaningless. At least give me the option or illusion to improve some stats like offensive/defensive values.
- Customizing my boat is quite useless so far as well. And I get that it's just optics and that these should not matter, which would be fine if there would be other things to customize that would actually add something interesting.
The "tonal disconnect"
I have a real disconnect with the tone of the game at times.
In terms of gameplay the raids are okay but again the tone is so weird. Obviously we are the good guys and even though my bloodthirsty band of marauders yells about blood and slaughter of course they won't kill any peasants or monks, because… ah yes, we are just peaceful farmers, how could I forget.
Also: Hey we want to build a settlement and live in peace… so let's plunder some monastaries, kill people and steal their stuff. Like farmers, you know?
Oh and then there was this one quest early on in England where we needed to burn down a village of peaceful farmers, just to teach them or some other guy a lesson. Which made total sense…
And then there are…
…the Mystery side quests
Most of them were okay but too many had a weird tone and felt just over the top silly.
- Two quarreling farmers. Eh, just burn down their houses to the ground so they'll have to start anew from nothing, which made total sense to anyone! Well, good look getting your children through the coming winter.
- Oh no, rats all over my fields! You know, you could just go 100 meters down that path from your house to your crazy cat lady neighbor whose house you can see from where you stand!
- Too many crazy people that are just here for cheap laughs.
And the silly stuff goes on. I get that the writers wanted to add some comic relief to the game but I feel that they missed the mark way too often.
Random other stuff:
- The Cult was a topic early on and I found some of them but for the last 15 hours I have seen none of them.
- You have everything all the time. Need to break something? Oh I am pretty sure that you will find some arrows within 10 meters.
- Too many barred doors. I actually like that you need to explore the world a bit to find solutions for small problems but maybe they overdid it a bit with this mechanic.
- Who leaves all these notes scattered around the world? Turns out there are a lot of literate peasants in England. At first I was reading all of them but now I just pick them up, glance over them and move on. And most of the time I probably couldn't even tell you what I just read.
Now, this all sounds a bit harsh maybe. And I still do like the game, I think the world is beautiful and I enjoy the exploration. But I think it might be best to take a short break from the game and come back fresh again later. The annoying aspects are just a bit much at the moment and I might be a bit "overplayed".
If I really had to judge the game right now (which doesn't make much sense because I obviously haven't finished it yet) then I would still rate it behind Odyssey because I enjoyed the tone, humor and side quests in Odyssey a lot more and also Odyssey had a way better flow and the mechanics worked a lot better together, IMHO. But this isn't really about Odyssey and we shall see how I would judge the game once I am done with it.
So far I'd say Valhalla is really quite good but it has its own share of issues. Like any other AC game, I suppose?
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