AC Valhalla is an amazing game, though during my playthrough, something felt off, and it took a while to pinpoint, though I think I've found out the reason(s) why. A lot of what I'll say here are echoes from the community, and I'll be covering most features in the game, so TL;DR at the bottom.
The Map and World
Even though Valhalla is the largest map to date, featuring 5 distinct areas, the map feels insignificant compared to Odyssey's map. The paper, uncolored map, was a large downgrade from Odyssey and Origins. The world feels bland compared to Odyssey, the northern part of Eurvicshire features some of the best terrain in the game, but there's absolutely nothing there, an issue shared by Sciropescire and Glowecestrescire. I spent the better part of yesterday running Hadrian's wall, expecting something, and finding nothing. Odyssey felt dynamic, and traversing the land felt rewarding and exciting. I take no joy in running from village to village in Valhalla, because there's fucking nothing in between.
The cities and villages are boring as shit, London was boring as shit, Jorvik was the only city that was marginally interesting. Argos and Athens were so fun to run around, though I admit Sparta was barebone. London feels empty, and the game doesn't acknowledge 90% of the city. Missions in Athens took you around the city, and they felt interactive with the AI. In Valhalla, the map and world was built around the main storyline, and the rest of the map was told to fuck off.
I don't have much to say about the other regions, mostly because I didn't enjoy them at all. I put off doing Jotunheim for a while, until I was extremely overleveled. Norway was a good introduction area, and all things considered I have nothing bad to say about Norway, except it was only used as a plot device. Vinland was actually surprisingly cool, and it featured some of the best landscapes in the game, though I wish I could keep the weapons from there. Asgard is good, though I didn't and don't have much care for it.
Viking Raids aren't Assassin's Creed. This game tried to have mass appeal, though from what I've seen, most people aren't buying the game for the raiding. Raiding random monasteries and fortresses feels tedious, and upgrading the settlement isn't a worthwhile reward for the effort you sometimes put in. The most fun I had in Odyssey was when I snuck around the fortresses and secretly looted Nation Chests and dropped guards at specific times, and it was so so so gratifying to look over a defeated fortress, and not sounding a single alarm. Charging in and ramming down doors and opening chests with a random AI ally isn't anything like playing an Assassin's Creed game.
Credit where credit is due, Valhalla's combat is amazing. I revisited Odyssey, and I can't believe I used to like it. Dual wielding weapons was a major positive to this game, and without it, I wouldn't have enjoyed the game at all. I personally loved double hammers, and fighting a crowd of enemies feels amazing as you rip through them. The only downside are heavy shields. They aren't very conducive to combat, and the only counterplay is rolling behind them, short of blowing them up. In particular, Heavy shield Zealots are a pain.
Ability Skill Tree and Books of Knowledge
I despise the way the skill tree was built. I would rarely look at the bonuses they gave and only optimized towards skills I wanted. The leveling in Odyssey felt rewarding, and choosing where to allocate skill points genuinely mattered. In Valhalla, now I've maxed out all the skills, I just toss my skill points to a random unleveled thing, and I don't even look at what +4% bonus it gives me. Books of Knowledge were an interesting mechanic, though if I'm honest, I would've preferred the Odyssey leveling system, where you learned abilities through leveling skills, which logically makes way more sense. Overall the skill tree wants to have a bunch of really cool and flashy things, but the rest of the tree feels forgotten and incomplete, which is a trend visible in almost every aspect of the game in general.
Valhalla's storyline is messy, and for someone who could only afford a few hours of gameplay in a week, remembering characters was a challenge, and this was compounded by the fact that every character talked and felt the same. Odyssey characters were unique and memorable. I haven't played Odyssey for a year and I can still remember most characters. I played Valhalla a few months ago and the only characters I remember are Soma, Ivarr, and Sigurd. Odyssey was particularly good with it's story, because it was clearly defined. Though, Odyssey had no mention of The Hidden Ones and the whole Assassin's Creed storyline; at least the Hidden Ones have a speaking part in Valhalla.
I logged an additional 40 hours into sidequests into Odyssey, though every sidequest I've done in Valhalla is random, and unrewarding, with the exception of the Excalibur sidequest. This ties into the map, mostly because there's nothing for sidequests to explore or do. Exploring Asgard to find the crystals is not what I want to spend my time doing, and the rewards are forgettable; same thing with Jotunheim.
TL;DR, They didn't give a shit about the majority of the fine details in the game; the game doesn't feel like an Assassin's Creed game.
- Assassin’s Creed Sale on Xbox (with links and prices)
- Run for 100% on every Assassin’s creed game
- Some Odyssey/Valhalla thoughts.
More about Assassin's CreedPost: "AC Valhalla Rant – Worse than Odyssey" specifically for the game Assassin's Creed. Other useful information about this game:
- Having two playable characters is dumb as hell
- Expansion on Celtic Isu and the Wrath of the Druids DLC theory
- Another take on Ubisoft’s Map sizes.
- looking for early runes
- [AC:Odyssey spoiler] As my meager laptop can’t handle Valhalla, I’ve been pouring lots of hours in Odyssey. What are some of your favorite quests or some “it could have been more!!” in AC:Odyssey?
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