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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla to touch: new Vikings, old tricks

It’s been almost two years, but Ubisoft is finally preparing to release a new one Assassin’s Creed Game. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is called “the ultimate Viking fantasy” Not in the fjords of Scandinavia, but in the fields and rivers of England during the Viking invasion in the 9th century. The players are placed in the role of Eivor, a Viking from Norway who tries to lead his people to build a settlement in England.

It can have new Nordic traps and some updated game modes and features, but can run around after three hours Valhalla̵

6;s open world, it feels much more like an iteration of 2018 Assassin’s Creed Odyssey than a drastically different experience.

I was able to try out an early version of Valhallato play part of the game’s history as well as explore the open world. The demo I played was streamed through Parsec as the ongoing pandemic made normal personal participation impossible. Despite these limitations Valhalla looks absolutely stunning; while Odyssey had already set a high bar to bring ancient Greece to life, ValhallaThe replica of England is perhaps the best the series has ever seen, with rolling fields, foggy forests and beautiful sunsets.

If you played too Origins or Odyssey – the two previous “modern” Assassin’s Creed Title – then a lot of Valhalla will be known despite the new card. The weapon, equipment and skill tree system introduced in Origins makes a return in Valhallaand continues the customization and RPG trends that the series has followed in recent years, albeit with some new folds. Instead of the Ability (Hunter), Warrior (Melee) and Assassin Ability trees Valhalla has “wolf”, “bear”, and “raven” trees that loosely match these categories, although they were less strictly defined in previous games.

Different weapon and armor sets also work in conjunction with these categories, so “raven” armor sets get a boost if you’ve invested heavily in stealth-based skills, while a pair of wolf axes get a bonus if you focus more on those skills .

Valhalla is also less obviously geared towards being an RPG – for example, less emphasis is placed on weapon damage indicators or percentile perks for items (although each hit still has a pop-up damage count over its head). It is even more important that there is no leveling system anymore. Instead, players have a “global level of power” based on the number of skills unlocked. The skill tree also has one amount More nodes need to be unlocked, with more incremental upgrades like melee attacks or ranged attacks mixed with bigger new skills to allow a more customizable and continuous rate of progress than tying all new skills to upgrade.

The fight is also practically identical to the previous one AC Title. Players have the choice between heavier two-handed weapons, faster one-handed axes and flails, and the additional option of using smaller weapons with two weapons (I quickly chose a pair of axes that felt like the setting). As in previous games, a big focus is on confusing your light and heavy attacks with parades and blocks to dispatch your enemies.

OdysseyThe system of special abilities tied to the face buttons when the left trigger (for ranged weapons) or the right trigger (for close combat) is held down is also back. Old favorites like the Spartan Kick or Multi-Shot have returned for Valhalla (albeit with new, Nordic inspired names), although there are also some new options like the incredible Satisfaction of rapid fire throwing axes.

The exploration loop in the open world is also practically identical to the two previous games. Some of the main pillars of the series will never leave: There is still the “go to the top of the building / pillar / tall object” to “synchronize” and reveal points of interest in the surrounding map before going into an incredible one diving soft hay bales. The compass wheel from Origins is still present and gently guides players to new destinations, as does your bird companion (this time a raven named Sýnin), which allows players to explore new areas and mark enemies.

Players also have a Viking longship that they can use to navigate the streams of England, including those that are now required Assassin’s Creed Boat huts and a second option for God of War– Retelling epic stories and battles while traveling. Unlike previous games, however, the longship is primarily meant to be traversed – and to get your crew to raid settlements to get resources for your own base.

To like Odyssey, Valhalla provides an interactive dialog where players can make important decisions about their progress, e.g. For example, whether they want to kill a rival leader, recruit an ally, or romanticize a companion. (And also like in OdysseyAll romantic characters are partners for both the male and female versions of Eivor.) In an interesting improvement, players can not only choose between male and female versions of the main character Eivor at the start of the game, but also switch at any time in the Play freely between the sexes.

Even if all of these core elements are largely the same, there are some new and interesting features in Valhalla. The game goes a few steps back to the roots of the franchise, with the return of the classic hidden blade for assassinations. And other than OdysseyPlayers have the ability to instantly kill almost every enemy – including some bosses – with a single strike, although there is an additional element of time to successfully complete the task that I was unable to pin down in my attempts.

One of the most interesting changes in Valhalla is the size of some battles. While before Assassin’s Creed The games have focused on the player’s idea of ​​a smaller one-man army. Valhalla emphasizes larger battles with NPC companions. “Raids” are an important new element here; I was able to let go of my longship full of Viking warriors against a fortified church or base and fight side by side with my crew against a battalion of soldiers (which you need to keep an eye on and revive if necessary). Raids are not required: Stealth players can still infiltrate, park, and push their way through their goals. But they are an interesting new option.

A longer “Assault” level based on this concept in a story mission. There I carried out a full invasion of a castle and evaded the defenders while leading a fleet of long boats before struggling through successive gates, each of which had to be broken by a battering ram (able) controlled by your troops with your instruction). The whole mission culminated in a final boss fight against a rival Viking leader, which I could have optionally killed by sneaking around the back of the castle.

There are also some minor changes. The health system has been revised Valhalla: Passive non-combat regeneration has been replaced with a set number of “rations” that players can use to restore part of their life track at will. These rations are replenished by harvesting the numerous edible items (such as berries or mushrooms) across the game world. However, they add an extra dimension to the fight by giving players a new management system. In practical terms, player access to health means that combat encounters can be longer and enemies can be more deadly.

Valhalla also offers obvious in-game memories of today’s frame story (where the players are) technically plays as the modern protagonist of the series, Layla Hassan, who experiences these memories of the past with a machine called “Animus”. in the ValhallaPlayers can now encounter a deliberately flawed area where frames stutter and objects go in and out, where you can activate an Animus Anomaly challenge. It’s practically a slightly more difficult parkour run where players are responsible for Hassan (instead of Eivor) and provide more information about the current plot.

There are also a host of other puzzles and mini-games scattered around the world, including world bosses, legendary beasts, and elite Drengr warriors for players looking for even tougher combat challenges. You can test rhythm skills with Viking drinking competitions and insulting mini-games to “fly”. There is even a new fishing mode.

Obviously, Valhalla promises to be a formidable game, and it is difficult to make real judgments from the comparatively short excerpt I have played. (One of ValhallaThe biggest new features – a customizable Viking settlement that also serves as the main customization center for Eivor – weren’t available for testing in this demo.)

But in essence, Valhalla feels very similar to the titles that were before, which is not a bad thing: both Odyssey and Origins were fresh and deeper takes the classic Assassin’s Creed Style. If you are looking for so more of it Valhalla will absolutely provide.

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