November 25, 2020
The Assassin’s Creed Franchise is a collection of AAA (Triple-A) games that are set in historical time periods like the Renaissance, the Victorian Era and even the French Revolution. In my opinion, though, the best part about the franchise is how they intertwine the secretive Assassins and the game’s fictional civilizations with those in our history books. What fanatics like myself like to talk about is how well the games’ stories incorporate actual moments of history to make the experience feel real to give more satisfying explanations to very famous events like the deaths of Julius Caesar and the American Revolution. Even though it may not be real, just being able to experience history in colour and sound can be fulfilling for a player.
Assassin’s Creed is Ubisoft’s most successful franchise, being it’s best-selling franchise overall, and even had a 2014 game, Assassin’s Creed Unity, be the most popular game in Europe, Africa and more places in February 2020. The franchise has even been awarded multiple Game of the Year awards. Ever since Assassin’s Creed Origins, set in Ptolemaic Egypt, was released, the franchise made the big change from the action/adventure genre to the action/RPG (Role-Playing Game) genre. Since then, they made each game that came after Origins even more like traditional RPGs, with more character customization and an abundance of quests scattered across the world.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the third and latest addition to the RPG era of the franchise. Coming just after Assassin’s Creed Odyssey which sent you to Greece during the Peloponnesian war, this game is set during the Viking Age, following the story of the main protagonist, Eivor Varinsdottir.
Currently, I’ve played for around 6 hours and have noticed a fair amount of things that may sway your opinion on buying this game. The story has been dragged out due to the abundance of fights, but what can you expect from a game about Vikings? This is also the first Assassin’s Creed game that lets the player use the mechanics of stealth and the weaponry with it in an unusual way. Eivor, being the fighter they are, decides to be as noisy and visible as they can by wearing the usually-stealthy hidden blade the wrong way around, and has the option to wear a cape and hood or not. Those were additions I wasn’t really the biggest fan of, but there are other things that took my interest, the biggest one being raids. Raids were incorporated into the game to let the player and their in-game companions fight a captured island head on and axes blazing. Another feature was that Ubisoft decided to split the upgrade sections of abilities and skills. A fine addition to let grinding players like myself get the higher advantage of stepping on enemies faces, to throwing 6 axes at one large opponent quickly.
As for how the game is outside of combat, upgrading settlements are back now. People that have played Assassin’s Creed II will remember upgrading the town of Monterigionni and will definitely be just as happy as I am with the ability to work on their settlement. My favourite part of the game are the little things, like the flytings (ancient Viking rap battles), drinking challenges and “board games” you can play in your settlements to increase reputation. One thing I noticed is that unfortunately, Ubisoft hasn’t listened when it comes to map sizes. For this game, they didn’t make just one large map: they made FIVE. That means a lot more playtime, but it can also make the player slowly lose track of the story as they venture.
Overall, the game is extremely fun and educational. It is similar to the older games, and die-hard fans will be pleased that they’ve brought back old mechanics like the one-hit kill for the hidden blade. Still, this game is somewhat different from the rest. To get into the franchise, I would still recommend starting off with its first release, Assassin’s Creed. Although it wasn’t the best of the series, it is still the foundation of the lore for its successors.
You can take the helm of a Viking longship on both current and past generation consoles- there, the Assassin’s life awaits.