Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Review

assassins creed valhalla video game review

What do I think of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla? It may surprise you, here is my Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Review.

After the underwhelming Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, I put down the Assassin’s Creed franchise for a while. Trailers for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla came and went and although I thought they looked amazing; I was reluctant to buy into the hype.

Ubisoft tend to put out high-production value trailers with no gameplay elements, making it hard to decide whether the any game they release is actually any good.

Eventually though, I bit the bullet and took up my axe.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Trailer

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Review – Open World and Map Size

Ubisoft seem to care a lot about map size as each outing of the Assassin’s Creed franchise has a larger map. Valhalla has the largest map for landmass and second largest map behind Odyssey (which doesn’t really count as it is mostly water).

A large map is great for players who love exploration, but the map size presents challenges that Ubisoft has yet to get to grips with.

  • The world doesn’t have enough variance in location and after a while it becomes a grind of running from one location to the next and completing whatever basic loot/kill quest exists there.
  • The Valhalla map (like all Assassin’s Creed titles) is overpopulated with military NPCs and vastly underpopulated with general NPCs.
  • The lack of NPCs makes the world feel largely unlived in.
  • NPCs that populate the world are just copy-paste zombies with only a token effort to create any interaction.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Review – What the Map does Well

There are a few positives about the open world of Valhalla which shows Ubisoft is making progress:

  • The game main storyline encompasses almost the entire map, meaning you will have to venture to all locations in order to complete the game.
  • There are a couple more location objectives added compared to previous titles adding a little more variance to that inevitable grind you come to expect from the franchise.
  • Saxon England is recreated relatively well with only a few glaring problems.

Once again, I find myself wanting a map that was limited to just England (smaller overall) that was more immersive and intimate.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Review – Combat and Assassinations

It seems at this point, Ubisoft has completely done away with creating in depth assassination missions in favour of traditional hack and slash combat.

For the most part, in the world of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, hack and slash is fitting. The combat is much smoother than previous iterations and the gameplay seems much more fluid.

I do miss the more detailed assassinations though, part of me wishes any main targets had the same interactive assassinations from Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.

These assassinations flesh out the profile of each target, setting them apart from normal bad guys and helps to solidify them as genuine bosses.

Saxon England in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

I can’t speak for Norway, as I have yet to travel there, but England is recreated well with locations being in roughly the positions they are today.

There are some problem areas such as cities or towns being placed incorrectly, but I suspect this is more to meet the confines of the map rather than a deliberate mistake.

The weather is mostly accurate except for some reason Ubisoft seem to believe anywhere north of the midlands is a snowy tundra.

Overall, I was impressed with the location work on the game, and it even inspired me to travel England last year and visit most of the places in the game (which I will get round to blogging about).

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Storyline

In the past, the storylines of Assassin’s Creed have been a bit confused to say the least. I remember being really annoyed that Assassin’s Creed Origins had a whole host of targets to take out with no common goal – they all muddled about doing bad things with no common objective.

With Valhalla, the Order of Ancients has a fairly well aligned common goal and the way the story plays out is enjoyable.

There is still a lack of finesse with the storytelling, much of it lacks depth beyond the surface level and the twists are predictable. Some of this is because Ubisoft are retelling historic events which doesn’t allow for too much variance if you’re faithfully recreating things that happened.

But there are plenty of creative additions that could be fleshed out – specifically around the character of Eivor.

The Loss of Paganism and Rise of Christianity

My absolute favourite bit of the game was how it handled the religious upheaval of the time. There is a moment at the end of the story (don’t worry, no spoilers) which made me feel a great sense of loss.

It is always easier to evaluate religious change in hindsight and the game did a masterful job of balancing hindsight with contemporaneous sentiments.

Needless to say, it made me yearn for the old ways and I think with the rise of Christianity and Alfred the Great, a diverse and rich British culture died.

eivor from assassin's creed valhalla

Female Characters as Cannon

The last two titles have allowed players to choose their gender. Eivor can be a man or a woman and has different interactions and relationships as a result.

I am absolutely fine with being able to choose gender in the game and this works well except for a disjointed introduction.

My issue is Ubisoft announcing after the fact each time which gender is cannon. If a specific gender is cannon, don’t allow players to choose their gender.

I was frustrated to play through Odyssey as Alexios to be told post-game that Kassandra was cannon. It made no sense considering in my Assassin’s Creed world, Kassandra was the adversary. And, despite Ubisoft assuring fans they wouldn’t do it again with Valhalla, lo and behold once more, female Eivor has been made cannon.

If you want to create a jarring experience for players, allow them to choose their gender and then specify a gender as cannon after the fact.

My Verdict – Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Review

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was in part a return to form for Ubisoft and part true to form. In short, I have mixed feelings about the game. It was very playable, and I enjoyed the story and setting.

But there were also the same problem areas as previous titles and though there was a slight improvement with the open world, it still became a monotonous grind a quarter of the way through the game.

I hope you found my Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review insightful and I will be reviewing both Valhalla DLCs soon. Make sure you subscribe to our free newsletter for updates on that as well as my adventures travelling around England visiting locations from the game.

Jon Logan

Jon Logan is an editorial consultant and author that loves living life without boundaries. Over the past 5 years, his content at Immortal Wordsmith has helped thousands of readers gain new perspectives and discover fascinating stories. Jon holds several professional qualifications and is financially qualified in the UK. He left the humdrum world of financial advice to pursue a career in writing – his lifelong passion. He has partnered with local and global brands to help them grow their businesses and audiences through insightful and innovative content strategy. Jon specialises in creating inspirational and thought-provoking writing that challenges readers to look beyond the confines of “the norm.” He uses dynamic writing styles to convey messages to diverse audiences from all walks of life. He is an avid explorer and loves sharing the world from his perspective with his readers.

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