Three o'clock Norns, legendary keepers of Yggdrasil and weavers of the tapestry of destiny, according to Norse mythology, depict those who since the birth of time have established the development of the life of every creature in the universe, weaving the threads in their eternal loom. Assassin's Creed Valhalla, which today probably represents the absolute project more ambitious for a chapter of the by now historic brand, it highlights one of the most splendid threads of the Norn tapestry, that of Eivor Wolf Bite, narrating his epic exploits through the fragmented England of the XNUMXth century AD
When Ubisoft announced that in Assassin's Creed Valhalla the player would really feel like a "Viking", many users expressed doubts about it at the time, given that the previous iteration of the saga - Assassin's Creed Odyssey - instead of making us feel like a Hellenic warrior, he often gave the feeling of being real gods among men, with magical powers and mythical weapons capable of crushing any enemy without too many compliments. Fortunately, once you have tried the pad in your hand and even after tens of hours of play Valhalla first of all proves that (fortunately) Ubisoft is wanted get your feet back on the ground in this chapter. Eivor is first of all a man in fact, and in the combat system, perhaps for the first time in this brand more than ten years, you can feel the physicality and heaviness of every blow inflicted or suffered.
In its main structure, Assassin's Creed Valhalla continues to follow the path traced by the last two chapters of the saga, catapulting into what is now the consolidated formula of the open world "a la Ubisoft", chock full of side quests, secrets to uncover and points to sync. Taking up these pillars once again, however, the developers seem in some situations not to have learned from the mistakes made in the past, and although the Eivor adventure presents important innovations compared to its predecessors, it often falls into the same flaws that had already made us turn up their noses at public and critics in the past years.
A legendary Saga
La plot in the "historical" section of Assassin's Creed Valhalla puts the player in the shoes of Eivor Wolf Bite, a Viking warrior who adopted from the Crow Clan due to the massacre of his family when he was just a child, he becomes a de facto nonblood brother Sigurd, son of the clan leader. Seventeen years have passed since that tragic night, the two, now adults, decide to leave Norway due to internal discords in the Viking community and to leave for theEngland with the aim of forming a new Norse settlement and thus starting a new life in a vast, verdant land full of riches and villages to be raided. During the ninth century AD England was in fact a kingdom that was anything but united, and all the various counties and small fragmented kingdoms of which it was constituted represented an absolutely delicious opportunity for the Viking armies who were willing to put their hand on new domains . Although Assassin's Creed Odyssey, the previous chapter of the saga, had often been criticized in the past because accused of having very little of Assassin's Creed, the historical fans of the brand or simply the most passionate about the lore of the saga, will be decidedly relieved to find in this new title much more meat in the fire, since behind the feuds between the English kingdoms there is also what is the eternal struggle between the Occult (the Assassins ante-litteram) e the Order of the Ancients (the Templars).
Obviously in parallel to the historical sections played within the Animus, there are also moments in Assassin's Creed Valhalla when the player exits the simulations and is put in control of Layla Hassan, the protagonist we learned about from Origins, in current timeline. Layla, whose events in this title continue practically immediately after the events of Odyssey, does not yet have the space that Desmond Miles had in the first five chapters of the Assassin's Creed brand and for the particular admirers of those who are the modern events in the lore of AC, it is necessary to know that several tens of hours could therefore pass before "returning to the present" if one does not dedicate oneself solely and exclusively to the main missions. A little curiosity is that even the modern world in which Lyla lives was affected by the pandemic of Covid, is the title Ubisoft therefore does not fail to refer to it in various emails in which the protagonist communicates with her contacts.
Without making any further spoilers on the very long main storyline of Assassin's Creed Valhalla (which takes more than forty hours just to finish the main quest), just know that this is divided into several Sagas, in which Eivor has the task of forging real political alliances between the Viking settlement and the various English kingdoms and city-states. Each Saga therefore has a sub-plot within it, often made up of political intrigues, plots and conspiracies, thus presenting the player with a vast cast of more or less well-characterized secondary characters. Furthermore, England and Norway are not the only maps in which Eivor finds itself operating, and at this juncture Ubisoft has really been able to surpass itself, because I don't want to spoil the surprise, but I personally happened to stay more than once. really amazed at some of the places where Assassin's Creed Valhalla catapulted me.
An improved gameplay compared to the past
A very welcome novelty in this new iteration of the brand are the various options present at the beginning of the adventure. In addition to being able to select the classic level of difficulty in combat, the game also offers the user to choose the complexity in the stealth, and therefore the ease with which the enemies identify Eivor, but also the level of the indicators present on the game map. By putting this option to a minimum, the exploration of the environments will become engaging like never before in an Assassin's Creed, and they will not be visible on the map all the classic pointers of secondary missions and treasures, providing an absolutely new sense of discovery by the standards to which the brand has accustomed us over the years.
Il combat system, although it has not been radically changed compared to the two previous chapters of the "RPG turning point" of Assassin's Creed, it still presents important innovations, which demonstrate how this represents the final evolution of this well-tried gameplay scheme, which unlike the embryonic state of its two predecessors, here corrects the shot where necessary, thus making the clashes more fun and satisfying. The management of bunting this time it is really essential, considering that the latter will empty quickly almost as if it were a soulslike. Enemies are also a real threat, especially when attacking in groups, and if we play at a combat difficulty higher than the standard one, two hits from an ordinary soldier are really enough to send Eivor's health bar to zero.
It is commonly known that the Vikings were a legendary warrior people and that they did not spare brutality and violence in their assaults, thus wanting to maintain an accurate historical reliability of the facts as always (albeit fictionalizing them), the Ubisoft team has transposed this toughness as faithfully as possible, making Assassin's Creed Valhalla the most raw of the whole saga. The ferocity of the Norse people is transposed into spectacular and brutal executions, with a wide range of animations that vary according to the type of enemy and the weapons Eivor is currently holding.
Speaking weaponry it is necessary to point out that the equipment system has also been completely revised, not filling the player's inventory with virtually all the same objects with marginal differences as it did in Odyssey. Weapons and armor are in fact not easily found, but are often hidden in chests that also require the resolution of original environmental puzzles to be unlocked and opened. Each piece of equipment is only e upgradeable by the blacksmith, who will also change its appearance in addition to the statistics, and Eivor's fighting style changes radically depending on the type of tool that is wielded in the right and left hand. Another novelty introduced in Assassin's Creed Valhalla is in fact the feature of the dual weilding, which allows you to wield different weapons (or even shields) with both hands, allowing special combos and unique actions with each single different combination.
also the ability, although present, they definitely deviate a lot from the supernatural moves of Odyssey and although they allow you to inflict excellent damage even to more resistant enemies, they are linked in their use to the adrenaline bar, which requires that a fair number of attacks be sent. to be loaded.
Lo skill tree by Eivor is absolutely mind-blowing, so extensive that it almost resembles the legendary Final Fantasy X spherography, and in addition to the different skills that can be unlocked by leveling up, there are also passive upgrades that increase resistance, life, damage with the different weapons and stealth attacks.
Lo stealth by the way, for the most hardcore fans of the series, it returns to be a very present option in the gameplay and, although the Vikings were not famous for their discretion and silence, Eivor succeeds in the arduous feat of being a proud bearer of the Hidden blade, the most iconic instrument of the Assassin brotherhood.
A fluctuating technical sector
In this November 2020 the new generation consoles have officially arrived on the market, and although Assassin's Creed Valhalla propose itself as a title cross-gen, the heaviness of the latter is certainly felt on older generation machines. In fact, Valhalla pushes the now-old hardware to the maximum seven years of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, dropping the framerate also below 30 frames per second in the most heated battles or with many elements on the screen. Excluding these more frenetic moments, however, the game manages to stay around 30 during the exploration phases and the cutscenes, offering the player truly spectacular views of medieval England.
The well-kept settings and the artistic sector are in fact some of the absolute best strengths of Assassin's Creed Valhalla, with some of the most beautiful views ever that the Anvil Engine ever offered in his honored career. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said aboutfacial expressiveness of the characters, which seems to have been once again almost completely neglected by Ubisoft. Although in fact the model of Eivor is well made and full of details, during any dialogue with all the other characters in the game it really seems to be talking with wooden logs, which barely show any signs of life. Luckily the excellent Italian dubbing try to put some pieces in this situation, managing to a minimum in providing a shred of personality to our interlocutors thanks to the intonation of the voice.
Impossible not to mention the return of the legendary Jesper Kyd (Assassin's Creed 2) as composer of the colonna sonora of Valhalla. The one who had enchanted millions of players with the music of the beloved first chapters returns to direct the soundtrack of this new title, which between Norse songs and medieval music manages to galvanize the player, making him really feel like a Viking warrior in the most excited actions.
Before coming to the conclusion of the review, however, it is also necessary to touch on what it turns out to be the most sore point of all the new Ubisoft work, the bugs. Although in fact it is a gigantic open world, and it is therefore natural that there may be glitches and bugs within the title, in Assassin's Creed Valhalla the presence of the latter is so much overwhelming which risks to negatively affect a product that does not deserve it. The brand now no longer follows an annual cadence in the release of a new chapter and it is therefore inexplicable and unjustifiable that in the several tens of hours of my adventure I had to find myself over and over again having to restart missions for an NPC to get stuck or simply for the prompt on a door or object not to appear. During my gameplay it has also happened to me more than once that i save files become corrupted by themselves due to bugs, but luckily a copy of them in the cloud is enough to avoid losing all progress. However, the fact remains that a quality control so bland in one of the most prominent Triple A of the year it is absolutely unjustifiable, and I just have to hope Ubisoft does a huge one mea culpa and fix as many problems as possible with post-launch patches.
Concluding therefore, Assassin's Creed Valhalla it is without a doubt the apotheosis of the RPG formula of the new chapters of the brand. The mammoth medieval open world offers truly breathtaking views and is full of activities of all kinds and secrets hidden in every nook and cranny. There longevity is once again skyrocketing for completists, and even here as Odyssey we speak in the scale of hundreds of hours to get to know every corner of the various worlds that can be explored with Eivor. Although Ubisoft's latest great work corrects the tune on some of the problems that the saga had recorded in the past, unfortunately it often falls into other serious errors that risk damaging the experience in a highly negative way. Therefore, if you have been passionate about the latest chapters of the brand you will surely find many positive sides in Assassin's Creed Valhalla, which nevertheless winks even to the most historical fans of the epic of the Assassins, recalling some of the elements that have characterized the success of the series in the past, while laying a solid foundation for the future of the latter.