Assassin's Creed

In defense of Valhalla.. and with the help of trainers

Big disclaimer: I had a terrible experience with Odyssey and know ubisoft's dirty shitty tricks, I have no intention to play by their progression rules (designed purely to frustrate you into buying boosters, clear as day), so even before starting valhalla I already set up a trainer with the following parameters (I know console users can't use trainers and it's sad, but I play on PC and I will take advantage of them):

– for the whole playthrough, 3x XP (later reduced to 2x and then removed) and 2x damage dealt

– for the last 30 hours or so: defense multiplier to 0,5 and later 0,2, very high damage taken

This translates into Valhalla feeling like a normal game with normal progression instead of a grindy RPG, you don't have an obligation to do content you don't want to do purely to grind EXP, combat looks realistic (spear in the gut? dead) and is extremely lethal later in the game: enemies die fast and you die faster than them, reaction time and knowledge of weapons and their animations is key (I only use spear and shield, and sometimes greatsword), you can go into high-level areas and have fights that look like fights, and not hitting giants with a stick 400 times without them dying

I don't know if I would have liked it otherwise, but with this setup Valhalla truly felt like a step in the right direction and the story was excellent at times, it feels like some soul has been breathed again into the franchise and I played every single game since I was 10 year old, I truly love AC but felt that after 3 the plot got completely lost, now they tried to bring it all back and I think they did a good job, coming from the absolute narrative mess they were in. I'll be constructive and avoid talking about the usual issues that everybody already knows, but in the next AC I hope they get this stuff right:

– give us less characters, but with much longer screentime. You could have had the same insane amount of arcs in the game, but when you meet 6/7 new characters every 2 hours and these disappear until the end it really sets fatigue and makes you want to skip all dialogue, because it feels meaningless. there isn't enough space to make a character develop in 3 hours of gameplay, and when they do it's all too quick and feels like BS, certain arcs needed to be longer

– conversely, certain arcs needed to be shorter: don't be afraid to make some arcs short, some missions were utterly useless and it makes you feel like like the game is wasting your time, condense the stories and don't make the player do busywork, let us participate in the story actively and not go off on basic "kill these" missions, let the NPCS do the busy work and US the meat of the story

– reduce travel time! this game needed at least 40 options to "I'll go there with you now" or "I'll meet you there", instead they always make you waste time by having to move yourself and with a scarcity of fast travel options, again it feels like they want you to waste time and stretch out the game

– give the players who just want to continue the story the option to do so, I hope this doesn't conflict with your microtransaction policy, but it's completely fine to give both options to players: many want their game to last as long as possible and many others want to get to the end quicker, this could have been done very easily by making most of the alliance arcs optional but fundamental to a "good" ending for example, extra work for better payoff maybe? but surely give the option to enagage with the main storyline without having to do the side stuff, it makes your stories feel worse than they are because of the broken pacing

– AC should make you think, the "enemies" of the assassin's shouldn't be big bad brutes, they should be cunning and intelligent people who make you doubt yourself and truly make you think, they should shine a light on how the methods of both organizations are violent but you as the player feel justified because you are "the good guy", AC1 had a lot of this and since then we've seen very little of it, this game does sometimes present grey situations, but too often the enemies are cartoonishly evil and lacking in virtue, and very often they're too dumb and easily defeated to really make an impact

– same goes for the enemies you fight physically: stop with the 9 feet tall men, stop with the fodder enemies attacking like children wielding a sword and telegraphing so much, stop with the complete dehumanization and dumbification of the enemy and take a lesson from mextro exodus: just because you can kill anyone, doesn't mean you should, sometimes talking with the enemy and beating them with intelligence can be more satisfying than killing everyone and feeling like a god, it gives your game 50 times the depth when you feel like your enemy is intelligent, lethal and as courageous as you, stop sucking the player's d*** so vehemently, victory doesn't taste like victory if you enemies are all dumb, slow and inferior in combat..

and that's it, tell me what you think and if you agree

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