Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: First Impressions on the Latest AC Game

Reviews

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the 22nd installment in the acclaimed 13-year-old franchise by Ubisoft. From a third-person perspective, a brand with 22 titles under its wing seems overrated and saturated. But in the world of video games, an overrated brand or franchise means that it has a solid fanbase. And they are willing to consume whatever the developer or publisher throws into them.

A good example would be Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Despite its lack of single-player content, the game topped the charts. Having the core gameplay elements of the games we love resold to us repeatedly in various presentation types or with new elements is not so bad. After all, sequels are supposed to satisfy our thirst for more of the same gameplay in another setting that continues the narrative or idea.

With that said, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla carries the same basic gameplay elements the Assassin’s Creed franchise has been known for. One example is the iconic Animus machine, which is the core element of the entire franchise. Without the Animus, the game would be very different. Another example is the signature combat system. Despite the major changes in Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey, it has finally evolved to become less complicated again in Valhalla.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is just another mediocre installment developed for fulfilling the franchise’s expected annual entry. That would be correct if not for the various changes, adjustments, and improvements Ubisoft has done in this entry. As to what those changes are is something that we are going to focus on in our first impressions of the game.

Also, do understand that if you are looking for a technical breakdown of the game, you are on the wrong page. Take note that this is done by a casual player who is not into technicalities but the fun and immersive properties of the game.

 

Assassins Creed Valhalla Trailer
Image from Ubisoft

 

Graphics

Graphics is an attribute that depends entirely on the platform the game is running. Although the most powerful consoles are now available, playing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on PC is still the best. If HP tags Assassin’s Creed Odyssey as the “most graphically demanding game of 2019,” you will be glad that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will run perfectly on a basic PC setup.

In terms of visuals and audio, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla still carries the same brilliance as the previous installments. The cinematic cutscenes, highly detailed open world, and brilliant ambiance still provide the immersive experience expected in an Assassin’s Creed title.

Compared to its predecessors, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla features a more breathtaking open-world experience. Synchronizing with the game’s vast open-world provides a picturesque view that will put other open-world titles to shame. On top of all that, the game’s exploration system allows you to go anywhere using the game’s waterways using various types of watercraft.

In summary, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is by far the most gorgeous installment in the series. Expect to overuse the game’s photo mode when playing this awe-inspiring game.

 

Assassins Creed Valhalla Combat System
Image from Ubisoft

 

Combat System

One of the main selling points of the Assassin’s Creed franchise is the combat system. From the iconic one-button system of the first Assassin’s Creed title to the intricate and less interesting mechanics of Assassin Creed Odyssey, the franchise’s combat has evolved and devolved. Now, it finally became fun again in Valhalla. Those who were disappointed with the Odyssey’s combat system will now have a reason to jump back into the franchise.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s combat system is a product of retaining Origins’ best mechanics and eliminating Odyssey’s flawed mechanics. Since Origins’ huge system overhaul, the combat system in the franchise has been in disarray. This left the community baffled as to which direction Ubisoft is taking the game. Luckily, it is the redemption of the franchise’s worsening combat system. The new and improved system, which includes weak spot targeting, reworked abilities, and the shift in focus from enemies to weapons, is enough to wash the bitter aftertaste left by its predecessor. Combat has become more engaging, skill-based, and less RPG-like. And this is the system that the franchise needs and kept as the base system until the next overhaul.

Narrative

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla features a narrative focused on redemption, revenge, ambition, and faith. Compared to its predecessor, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla comes with a more solid narrative that is both engaging and immersive. The game begins by taking control of a young boy named Eivor Varinsdottir, who witnessed his father’s death and his hometown’s destruction at a very young age. To make matters worse, a large wolf will attack Elvoir, which will earn him the “wolf-kissed” title.

Spoilers aside, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla brings back the in-depth narrative and character-driven gameplay fans of the series loved. Ubisoft made the right decision to shy away from the overarching narrative seen in Odyssey. Furthermore, the game proves that a straightforward and well-written narrative is still the best way to present an intricate plot like that of the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

 

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Game Trailer
Ubisoft North America Official YouTube Channel

 

Overall Impression of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla features what should have been the gameplay mechanics of both Origins and Odyssey. Ubisoft did an awesome job in pointing out and eliminating the flaws and keeping the best elements of both titles. Ultimately, it is a great blend of the best elements that fans of the franchise were looking for since Origins. Like most titles, Valhalla is not a perfect game but it is by far the best installment in the series.

With the game’s launching at the dawn of the next generation, combined with its success, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is going in the right direction. And so, the success of the next Assassin’s Creed game will depend entirely on Ubisoft. As long as they stick to the original Valhalla mechanics, there’s no doubt that the community will accept it. But if they decide to introduce a new mechanic in the next game, let’s just hope that it’s better than the current one.

To that end, let’s just enjoy the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla for now and re-sync ourselves to the franchise once again.

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