Exploring Valhalla offers vistas that are jaw dropping in their beauty. Purple shadows across amber fields, castle towers on cliff tops, waterfalls pouring past ruins of ancient temples, fully explorable waters. It might be the prettiest game with graphics closest to concept art paintings that I’ve ever seen.
But dammit for the life of me all I can think about is what if their was an ogre or giant spider in those fields? What if there was the fear/promise of a necromancer in that castle tower? What if a dragon lit on the waterfall covered ruins? What if there were sea monsters in these waters? What if these living paintings held magical treasures and mythical beasts? What if Ubisoft made an open world classic Fantasy RPG?
So then I realized that Ubisoft already has the groundwork for this! They have:
Valhalla already presents options for thief and warrior combat and gameplay but this could be expanded. For instance thieves could pickpocket and pick locks of course. They can scale as many surfaces as Eivor can currently. They can sneak and assassinate and are viscous with a bow. Thief could even have multiple arrow types to expand possibilities.
The warrior would be more brute force and vitality. They can climb also but only up certain routes like the older AC games. Their climbing is also slower. They can bust doors and chests open but that will damage items and call the attention of guards. They can also move heavy items that the other classes can’t, wield the heaviest weapons/armor, and have the most extensive combat move set of all. They can carry more which means more crowbars, ropes, rations, treasure etc. (more on those later).
Ubisoft would just need to add a wizard class. They have the usual assortment of spells but also utility spells. They can levitate (though they can’t attack while levitating until much higher level). They can cast knock on simple locks only. They can freeze water to walk across it. Heal. Buff themselves temporarily at a price to stamina and health. They can charm animals. Control flora to hold enemies.
The story could be simple leaving the character properly motivated to adventure and gain in power and money. They were wronged (family killed, etc) and find old abandoned outposts that they have to rebuild in order to build up power influence and manpower to take down an evil warlord, etc. This would carry over the settlement idea from Valhalla, but each place would be unique (a shipwreck that is centered around thievery allies, a mage tower, etc).
Cinematics would further utilize class characteristics. While there would be fewer cinematics, the ones that are here would often have branching choose your own adventure segments with choices based on your skills and equipment. If the thief has an extra dagger in their boot they can throw it with a surprise attack, a wizard could freeze someone to calm a situation or charm an animal that was about to attack them. The warrior could challenge them to trial by combat or use his crowbar to get out of a dungeon trap. These would work similarly to Pillars of Eternity’s text adventure portions.
Other Gameplay Elements:
-Since your goal is to fix up these outposts and gain power, you are free to explore and role play as you wish to achieve your goal.
-Treasure maps lead to gold and relics that you can choose to keep or sell, but the more rich and decked out in gear you are the more of a target you become to bounty hunters and bandits. These items will offer unique abilities like speed and leaping while sacrificing stats.
-There is no level scaling but you can figure out which areas might be too tough to survive. But again if you have the right tools and are clever it don’t ever be impossible.
-Gear and tools are important. You can buy or crafts grappling hooks to swing over chasms, shovels to dig for treasure, climbing boots to speed wall scaling, crowbars to break locks etc.
-Traps in dungeons will be deadly so you’ll have to be very aware and clever. But there will always be some hint that a trap is present (skeletal corpse etc). Some traps the wizard can freeze, some the warrior can bash, some the thief can disarm.
-law and order. Getting arrested will give you a choose hour own adventure cinematic to see if you can escape. Once you do you’ll have to pay off the guards, do favors for them, or avoid that town for a while or else get thrown back in with fewer options. You’ll also lose some stats. Or find a disguise if you’re a thief (only works around certain level guards), cast a shape change spell as a wizard (so long as your mana holds out), or join the guards as a warrior to help clear your name.
Anyway, just having fun with the idea. The landscape of Valhalla just woes me every time I play it and I just hope Ubisoft is considering something like this since the groundwork is largely there.
I know folks claim they are tired of classic fantasy but I also can’t name too many AAA third person open world RPGs games especially with that classic D&D look. Especially one that gives you the ability to solve problems in unique ways.
Until then I’ll just go back to enjoying Valhalla and hope they put more mythical beasts in there in the future.
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