IGN Video Game Review: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla recreates the brutal, darker tones of the Viking way of life as you embark on adventure across a massive, stunningly beautiful open-world.

Set in 873 AD, the game recounts a fictional story of the Viking invasion of Britain. The player controls Eivor, a Viking raider who becomes embroiled in the conflict between the Brotherhood of Assassins and the Templar Order.

The player will have the choice of playing Eivor as either male (voiced by Magnus Bruun) or female (voiced by Cecilie Stenspil)and is able to customise Eivor’s hair, warpaint, clothing, armor, and tattoos.The variety of weapons available to the player has been expanded to include weapons such as flails and greatswords. Combat has been changed to allow dual wielding of almost any weapon, including shields and every piece of gear that the player collects is unique. The Eagle Vision mechanic of previous titles will return in the form of “Odin Sight”. The player’s companion animal will be a ravennamed Sýnin (Old Norse for “insight”) who can be used to scout the nearby areas, much like previous avian companions had done in Origins and Odyssey, and other parts of the game world from afar before Eivor engages in combat. There will be more focus on the stealth aspects for both traversing the game world and in combat. The “social stealth” concept from earlier Assassin’s Creed games will return: Eivor can hide from enemies not only in stationary environmental objects, but can pull down their hood and slip into certain crowds to use them as cover. Eivor can feign death, use their raven to distract guards, and can access a hidden blade for near instantaneous assassinations. The game’s key bosses will all, through specific combinations of approach, tactics, and weapon selection, be able to be assassinated through a single attack, but still can be defeated through numerous other routes.

Conquest Battles, a feature introduced to the series in Odyssey, will return. They will be known as “Assaults” and will see the player lead Viking armies to attack fortifications.Raids are smaller battles where the player leads a raiding party to attack a target and secure resources for their settlement.The player will be able to build a raiding party by recruiting non-player characters to assist with these.The player will be able to create a Viking mercenary, or Jomsviking, that can be recruited by other players to act as a non-playable character within those games; the player will gain additional in-game rewards for successful missions that their Jomsviking takes part in.

The game will see the return of settlements, which have been absent from the series since Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. However, where these settlements offered the player passive gameplay bonuses, settlements in Valhalla will take on a renewed importance. Game director Ashraf Ismail described this as being “[because] a lot of what you’re doing in the game world is, at the end of the day, going to feed into the settlement so that it can grow, it can flourish.” Quests will start and finish in the settlement and the player will be able to direct construction of certain types of buildings, which in turn provide benefits for gameplay. To build these structures, the player will need to lead the Vikings on raids to collect resources.In addition, the player can forge diplomatic weddings to form relationships between clans in the community.As with Odyssey, the player as Eivor will be able to explore romance options for Eivor, including same-sex relations.

Though the use of naval transport has returned, naval combat has been dialled back. Eivor’s longship will act more as a means of travel when performing raids and for escaping after land combat, rather than being used in combat with other naval vessels.In addition to these, the player can engage in a variety of activities such as; hunting, fishing, brawls with other Vikings, drinking contests, and flyting challenges, which Ubisoft described as “Viking rap battle[s]“,in addition to a mini dice game called “Orlog” and Cairn construction.

IGN also gave it 8/10, writing: “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a massive, beautiful open-world fueled by brutal living and the dirty work of conquerors. It’s a lot buggier than it should be but also impressive on multiple levels.”

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