Thoughts on Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

As someone who recently completed 100% of this game, here’s what’s what!
Off Topic

It took me almost 4 full months and about 150 hours of gameplay, but I finished Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla through and through! It’s no secret that I’m a fan of video games and this series in particular, but there’s a lot of negativity surrounding Valhalla in the gaming community. It seems every time someone as much as mentions this game online, there are people ready to comment about how much it sucks. And though it’s true that the game has many flaws, I’m here to tell you it’s not all bad.


  Valhalla is not without its moments and there’s a lot of fun to be had in this Viking-oriented game. That said, I also understand why it left many people disappointed. So, to cover both the good and the bad, I’ll go into detail about each aspect of the game. Starting with…


The Story

Valhalla starts with an intense intro where we meet a child named Eivor, our main protagonist. The game lets you choose between a male or female version of Eivor, and although the developers consider the female version to be canon, I felt this story suited a male protagonist better. I also enjoyed the voice acting behind male Eivor more than his female counterpart, so there’s that… Either way, the story remains the same.

The Long Hall

  It's 9th-century Norway, Eivor’s clan is attacked, and he barely escapes with his life. There’s a time jump and we’re reintroduced to the character as an adult Viking who seeks to restore his family’s honor through an act of vengeance. This storyline, however, isn’t the overarching plot. In fact, this story wraps up by the time you’re done with the game’s prologue. The intro arc didn’t feel rushed as much as it was lackluster, and although I’m glad the main plot of the game wasn’t just another vengeance story, I felt there was a lot of unused potential here. What’s more, this is the first sign of how disjointed the story progression in this game can be.

  So what’s the actual story about? Well, the Raven clan that had adopted young Eivor leaves Norway in an attempt to settle in England. Ever loyal to his new family, Eivor follows and does everything in his power to create alliances that will make the clan’s new settlement strong and stable. The game presents this through a dozen or so storylines, where we see Eivor travel across England and handle everyone’s problems, be they political, trivial, or military.

The Alliance Map

  This narrative structure received a lot of hate from the players, and yeah, if you’re just doing the story missions, things get repetitive. And the story is bloated. There are too many of these alliance quests, and although none of them are bad, most of them are completely forgettable. The same could be said of a lot of side characters… The important and emotionally gripping moments are few and far in between, and I feel the overall journey would’ve been more exciting had Valhalla restricted itself only to the major plot points.

  That being said, there’s another crucial aspect to the story and that’s Eivor’s visions. The Norse god Odin speaks to him and even shares memories of his legendary sagas. All of this is depicted through a veil of mystery and Eivor’s warped interpretations, which might confuse players who aren’t familiar with Assassin’s Creed lore or Norse mythology. As a fan of both, I for one really enjoyed this aspect of the game. I love that the developers kept things vague but left enough clues for the players to connect the pieces themselves and draw the line between myth and history (such as history is in the AC universe).


  I also loved the ending of the game… it made me excited for the modern-day story of the Assassin's Creed series again. This came as a big surprise, given how the modern story was something that the previous game, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, royally fucked up. In Valhalla, the present-day sections of the game were minimal and streamlined, but they were used effectively and relied on well-established characters that were sorely missed in Odyssey and Origins. I hope that the developers keep building this story up going forward. After all, the modern-day story is, in many ways, the connective tissue between all the different games in the series (or, at least, it's supposed to be...).

Modern-day Story

  As for our protagonist, Eivor, I ended up really liking the Viking. For a seemingly simple character with minimal growth, he has a lot of depth. His poetic cadence grew on me, I enjoyed his journey (bloated as it was), and I liked how his story touched upon many different elements from the previous AC games. The ancient civilizations, lost histories, Norse mythology… all were implemented and merged in an interesting way, while the finale of the main story subtly, yet impactfully, explored Eivor’s humanity among all of that.

Eivor and Basim

Overall, I’m glad for having experienced the story Valhalla has to offer. It leans more into the sci-fi/fantasy side of things, but I don’t mind that at all! And though the narrative certainly could’ve been put together better, it’s a pleasant journey as long as you’re not rushing to the destination. For me, part of the reason I was in no hurry to get it all over with has a lot to do with the next topic.


The Open World

Say what you will about the RPG trilogy in the Assassin’s Creed series, but their world design is nothing short of spectacular! The visuals are stunning, the exploration is rewarding, and the atmosphere is always on point—in no small part to yet another outstanding soundtrack in the series.

The Open World

  The scope of the open world and the number of activities in it can be overwhelming, but I went about it at my own pace and never felt like it was a waste of my time simply because I was enjoying myself. Also, like in the previous AC games, there’s a photo mode in Valhalla, which might've left me with a few hundred screenshots… I don’t know. I just find it very relaxing and inspiring to interact with the world presented in this game.

Building Cairns
One of the side activities Valhalla offers is building cairns at gorgeous locations :)

  When it comes to side activities, the most important are divided into mysteries, artifacts, and treasures. Mysteries mainly act like very short side quests. They are often humorous and quirky, and I enjoyed some of them more than the previously mentioned alliance storylines!

  Artifacts, on the other hand, are simple collectibles you can trade in for cosmetics for your settlement, or tattoo designs for Eivor. I didn’t find these all that rewarding, but they were trivial to collect and they were often hidden in some interesting places to explore, like Roman ruins and such. Lastly, there are treasures and this is where the game misses the mark a bit.

Exploring Dungeons

  Treasures can contain crafting materials, gear, or abilities. Out of those three, the abilities are the most important as they make combat more dynamic and fun. So why scatter them across the world map? Depending on the playstyle you’re going for, not all abilities are useful, either. So even if you know where an ability treasure is, it might not be an ability that you want… The same goes for the treasures containing gear. It might be a cool weapon that you wanted, or it might be yet another irrelevant shield…

  I mean, it’s not terrible game design if you’re playing like a completionist, but if a player wants to focus on other things and ignore the treasure hunts, an important part of combat will be unavailable to them and that astounds me. Developers, this isn’t your first game. What are you doing?

Angry Review

  Anyway… there are also some mini-games in Valhalla. They don’t count toward much, but I still played a round of Orlog wherever possible. Orlog is a fun little dice game, definitely worth a shot if you’re into tabletop stuff. Another thing that positively surprised me was flyting, where you basically have rap battles against NPCs, but with poetry!

Flyting like a champ

  Oh, and one last thing about the open world… Remember how I said Eivor has visions and talks to Odin? Yeah, well some of those visions take place in their own separate regions. Like, you know, Asgard!


All that being said, I don’t know how much enjoyment someone would get out of exploration if they don’t enjoy the gameplay loop. So let’s tackle that next!


The Gameplay

The core AC gameplay is still here and, to me, still very much engaging. There’s parkour, there’s stealth, there’s stabbing people… However, much like in Odyssey, it will take good ten hours or so before the game fully gets you there.

360 no scope
Don't listen to people who say you can't play as an assassin in this game. You absolutely can.

  At first, your weapons and armor are weak, there are no combat abilities, no character skills of great importance, fights are basic and stealth not really effective. Only after you progress through the story a bit and reach a certain character level does the game equip you with the necessary stuff that make the gameplay loop click. Again, I don’t know what the devs were thinking waiting this long to get things going…

Flaming Sword

  Anyway, once you’re out of the rut, the game is great fun! Particularly so if you customize your skills and abilities so that they suit your approach to combat and stealth. Before I start talking about the RPG mechanics, though, I should mention what’s new to the gameplay: raiding, settlement development, and stun finishers.

  The stun finishers are a great addition to the combat! Every enemy has a stun bar (including bosses) and by hitting their weak points with a bow and arrow, or parrying their attacks with perfect blocks, you can stun them. Once an opponent is stunned, you can usually finish them off in one hit—berserker style! Good stuff! Gory stuff…

Stun Finisher

  As for raiding… You use your Viking ship to traverse the calm rivers of England and find monasteries to plunder. Your crew will sing songs or narrate sagas along the way, but none of it hits like it did in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag or even Odyssey. I never cared for my crew members in Valhalla, and I was annoyed that they were necessary to complete a raid. I’d much rather sneak in and solo the entire town, but the crew is needed to get the loot…

Burning Houses

  Raiding in general felt a bit off. It’s a stark contrast to the rest of the game, where Eivor and his clan are portrayed as good folk. Everything Eivor does in the story is to ensure his people live in peace, but then they just go and burn down an entire village… I get killing guards and robbing monasteries, but maybe leave plebs their homes? Vikings were savage and the game about them wouldn’t be complete without raids, but this should’ve been explored more or presented with a different spin to it. Perhaps a morality/reputation system would’ve been in order here? Or at least an option to recruit defeated enemies, as we’ve seen in Black Flag.

  Either way, raiding is necessary if you want to upgrade your settlement with new shops and services. Unfortunately, I hardly used any of those upgrades, so those two aspects of the game weren’t all that rewarding. There are some side quests you get from the clan members after certain settlement developments, but most of them left me indifferent.

Taming and getting to name a wild wolf was the only settlement quest that I absolutely loved.

  What Valhalla does 100% right regarding gameplay are the difficulty settings! Almost everything about the gameplay is customizable. Combat, exploration, stealth… each of these areas have many important options that you will probably want to tweak so they suit your playstyle and desired level of challenge. For example, regarding exploration, you can hide the locations of all side activities from the world map and discover them only by running into them. Alternatively, you can make it so all activity icons in the area are shown after you reach a vantage point. Or, my favorite option, show icons after scanning the area, but don’t divulge what kind of activities await you!

Synchronization Point
No AC game is complete without synchronization points, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

  The same freedom of choice is given to stealth settings, and even more so to combat difficulty. My advice for combat is to make enemies weak (so you wouldn’t have to hit them ad nauseam), but also give them high damage (so when they hit you, it hurts). That sort of balance makes for fast and engaging combat, where you’re deadly but also vulnerable. But again, that’s just my preference. I advise anyone to play around with these options. Default settings are probably too easy, while the harder ones might be too punishing at first, but at least you can change them at any point in the game, and there are many presets to choose from.

Difficulty Settings
Some of the combat settings, as chosen by the hardest preset the game offers. You can tweak anything!

Ultimately, Valhalla left me baffled with some of its game design choices, but the core mechanics are solid and there’s definitely good fun to be had here. Meanwhile, the most unfortunate mistakes were made with the RPG elements of the game…


RPG Mechanics

First off, the good stuff. There are no item drops from enemies—not when it comes to weapons and armor pieces. For gear, you either have to go on a treasure hunt, finish specific quests, or visit shops. What’s more, each weapon and armor piece you encounter will be a unique item. All of that is a huge improvement over Odyssey where every enemy and their mom dropped weapons to the point where all of it was junk.

Weapon Throw
In Valhalla, when enemies drop weapons, it means something else. And I think it's beautiful.

  Mindless loot in Valhalla is replaced by runes, which are used to slightly improve your stats, but you probably won’t think about them much. There are a couple of fun runes, though—like the one which engulfs your weapon in flames on critical hits!

Flame On!

  As for the unfortunate downside of the gear system in Valhalla… each weapon and armor piece can be upgraded a bazillion times. Ideally, you’ll want to do this to become more powerful, but the crafting materials at your disposal will likely be limited. Meaning, you won’t be able to upgrade multiple weapon and armor sets, so those items you choose to upgrade first will likely be the ones you keep using and upgrading until the end of the game. At least, that’s what happened to me…

  The game offers you a way to revert the upgrades at a blacksmith, then use the reclaimed materials to upgrade something else. But seriously, who’s going to go through all that trouble? I wish that the devs handled this better… The variety of armor and weapons in this game is great, while most upgrades also change the item’s appearance! A lot of work clearly went into these details, but most of it was for nothing because the upgrading system discourages changing your gear.

Fancy spear
It took a while to acquire this magical spear, but I never used it because the first sword I had found in the game was upgraded and therefore stronger...

  Another thing that keeps you from experimenting with different builds is the armor system. In Valhalla, you get the full benefits of armor only when you wear a full, matching set. So when you mix pieces of different armor sets, you’re at a loss. Pair that with the earlier mention of finding gear mostly through treasure chests—chests that are scattered all over the world—and you quickly realize that completing a set is unpredictable and it might take forever. That’s bad game design… add atop it the upgrading issue and you have downright terrible game design! Devs… how did you screw this up so badly?


  Luckily, the starting armor set is perfectly fine in both stats and cosmetics, so I didn’t need anything else. But yeah, what a waste of resources and potential… As for the weapons, there’s a similar, although not as detrimental, problem.

  To focus on the good stuff first, it should be noted that there are many different weapon types in the game. Want something fast? Go for a dagger. Want strong and brutal? Dane axe. Need that extra protection? Shields. It’s all well-balanced and you can even mix different weapons in your main and off-hand. There’s also a skill later in the game that allows you to dual-wield two-handed weapons, and you can even go into battle with two shields!

Two Shields Pro

  So, what’s the issue? Well, other than the upgrading nuisance, there are a few very useful skills in the game that only work if you have no item in your off-hand… If you aim to use those skills, as I did, this limits your options only to one-handed weapons. Developers… why do you keep doing this shit? Help me understand!

  The combat is fun overall, but because the game design locks you in where the gear is concerned, there are good chances you’ll be swinging the same weapon, wearing the same armor, for the majority of the game. To make things just slightly worse, unlike in Odyssey or Origins, here you can’t switch between two weapon sets while in combat. Why the downgrade? That mechanic is something that would’ve benefited Valhalla greatly! The option to switch between weapons mid-combat would’ve made the players experiment more, while the offered versatility would’ve helped keep the combat fresh.

Throwing Axes
As things stand, special abilities are the only dynamic thing you can effectively experiment with in combat.

  And since I’ve mentioned downgrades, you can’t use your melee weapons while on horseback like in the previous games. You can only kick and punch. Don’t ask me what influenced that decision, I’m just as confused as you are…


  The one thing that Valhalla did right in the RPG department is remove the unnecessary dialogue options from trivial interactions. Further to this point, when choices do appear, they clearly just offer different approaches to the same outcome, allowing the player to add some personal flare to Eivor’s character.

Dialogue Options

  It’s all straightforward. There’s no illusion of choice, no fake morality system, no branching paths for irrelevant quests… There are but a few key moments where you get to decide how certain storylines will progress, and those were done well.

Odin be like...
In Odin's case, certain dialogue options were done excellently!

  All that being said, as a whole, Valhalla does have strong RPG vibes—stronger than Odyssey, even. I suppose having a fun skill and leveling system helps in that regard, as well as the huge open world that you could lose yourself in. Then there are the mythological/fantasy aspects of the game—elements common for many RPGs—so yeah… Despite its atrocious flaws, Valhalla is probably the best RPG from the AC series.

Spectacular Atmosphere
Don't tell me this setting doesn't inspire some fantasy adventure vibes!

By now you’ve probably noticed a running theme in these ramblings of mine… Valhalla is inconsistent in so many ways, but enjoyable nevertheless. The same could be said for most updates and DLCs that Valhalla offers. And yes, I’m going to talk about those too…


DLC – Siege of Paris

I didn’t like this DLC, almost at all. You get to explore France a bit, which ended up having a dark setting and atmosphere, but a serious lack of substance. The story wastes both the player’s time and that of the characters involved. And speaking of characters in Siege of Paris, almost everyone had the charisma and the energy of a dead cow. I felt like this entire DLC was written by interns or something…

Grim Francia

  The only good missions were the ones covering the actual siege itself, with everything else being meandering bullshit and failed prose. This DLC also introduces two new types of enemies: the cavalry and the rats, but both ended up being really annoying… The mounted enemies just run around you, making the fight boring, while avoiding the rats merely slows down exploration.

Exploring Tombs

To end on a positive note, the soundtrack was all right, while some missions brought back the assassination opportunities from Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (perhaps the most underrated game in the series). These optional opportunities involve discovering a strategical approach that allows Eivor to assassinate his target in a unique fashion, so that was cool to play with. Still, I can’t recommend paying for the Siege of Paris. The next DLC, however…


DLC – Wrath of the Druids

I loved Wrath of the Druids! It takes you to Ireland and the vibe was on point, from start to finish. The story was cool (even though the ending got kinda silly), and the side characters were memorable.

Night tunes
Soundtrack, again... fantastic.

The world design was gorgeous, and the new enemies that this DLC introduced were tough but very fun to battle! Essentially, I have nothing negative to say about this DLC… If you liked the main game, you’re going to like the Wrath of the Druids.



Free Update – A Fated Encounter

Are you a fan of Odyssey? Do you miss Kassandra from the previous game? If so, this free update has you covered! It’s a relatively short storyline where Eivor explores the Isle of Skye and meets a familiar face. The new region was cool to explore, the story was enjoyable, and the character interactions were fun. Perhaps not everyone cares much for this update, but it was a sweet little adventure that didn’t overstay its welcome.

Kassandra vs Eivor
Also, I'll never not love Kassandra...


Expansion – Dawn of Ragnarök

Now, this is a big one… Much like the main game, Dawn of Ragnarök left a lot of people disappointed, and although I get why that’s so, I still had a ton of fun with this expansion.

Fantasy Vibes
Time for some high-fantasy stuff!

  The setup is simple. Through Eivor’s most intense vision yet, we follow Odin (more frequently addressed as Havi in the game) as he goes on a quest to rescue his son from Surtr. All of this takes place in yet another new region, where you get to battle frost and flame giants, and help some dwarves. In addition to your old skills and abilities, as Odin, you now also have access to some (upgradable) superpowers! Sounds good if you’re into that sort of stuff, right? Well, it can be…

Havi with an attitude

  The thing is, despite the high-fantasy theme and visuals, most of this expansion still plays like the main game. The new powers are mostly used for traversal or to solve environmental puzzles, whereas the combat doesn’t rely on them. In battle, the powers become fun only once you upgrade them (which might take a while), but even then, you can do without them.

Frosty Odin
Still, the powers are a nice addition. There are also some new, really cool Valkyre runes that enhance the gameplay experience.

  As for the story, there are some cool moments, though for the most part you’ll be hunting magical artifacts and dealing with boring dwarves. The pacing was all wrong, as well. The first story arc was not only slow but also pointless by the end of it. Meanwhile, the finale was oddly emotional, but also very rushed… The thin line between Norse mythology and AC lore was also missing here, as this expansion was heavily focused only on the mythical side of things.

Lifting Curses

  Luckily, the world design knocks it out of the park again, and so does yet another incredible soundtrack! Those two aspects of the expansion excel at instilling a sense of wonder and mystery. It was great fun just to run (or transform into a bird and fly) around the dwarven kingdom.

Dwarven Cave

Lastly, Odin as a character is quite a dick, but I was entertained by his egotistical ways and ulterior motives. So, in the end, I had a good time with Dawn of Ragnarök. Like the main game, this expansion could’ve been more focused, but it was still an enjoyable adventure for what it was.


Free Update – The Forgotten Saga

Did you want a rogue-lite mode in your Assassin’s Creed game? Did that concept even cross your mind? Probably not, but now that mode exists, and it’s called The Forgotten Saga.

By Odin's Loins!

  I was very skeptical about this idea, but I ended up loving it. Like in any rogue-lite game, you have mostly-random generated levels set before you, bosses that keep you from progressing to the next stage, and a gameplay mechanic that resets your progress when you die, but lets you try again stronger. Once again, you play as Odin, but this time you’re stripped of your powers while your weapons are randomly selected at the start of each run.

  In your attempts to reach the final boss, you’ll find various upgrades and decide whether you want to fight for them or not, and since the consequences of death are more serious in this mode, that’s not a decision you’ll always make lightly. The upgrades in question are better weapons, stronger abilities, bigger health bar, new overpowered runes… all of which can be useful and perhaps necessary to survive the next fight.

How To Train Your Dragon
The high-fantasy continues!

  Some weapons and abilities in this mode now deal elemental damage, while some enemies are vulnerable to certain elements. This new mechanic doesn’t come across merely as a simple gimmick either. Since fighting mobs in The Forgotten Saga can be tough, those elemental plays can really come in handy. What also makes combat fun is the randomness of your starting weapons and abilities. This mode is where I finally got to explore different character builds and weapons, and I had a blast with it! The boss fights were also cool, as were the four unique stages.

Going down...

  Perhaps the only downside of this free DLC is that, despite its intensity, you can beat it relatively quickly. I defeated the final boss on my 3rd run, and I don’t know if I should even count my first run seeing how I accidentally jumped into a chasm and died at the very start of it… Yet, I’d much rather have this mode require only a couple of fulfilling takes to beat than span into an endless number of attempts. Especially since, unlike in most rogue-lite games, even the failed runs in The Forgotten Saga can last well over an hour.

Nod of respect
Good stuff, devs!

So, overall, this mode took me by surprise. The story was irrelevant (and I can’t talk about it without spoiling the events in Dawn of Ragnarök), but I loved the gameplay. In my opinion, The Forgotten Saga was the perfect length, and it offered just the right amount of thrills!


Free Update – The Last Chapter

This was supposed to be an epilogue to Eivor’s personal story, but it was rather unnecessary. What’s more, it slightly muddies the waters of the game’s main ending. It felt like the intent of this update was to show how history played out, but seeing how we’re dealing with actual real-world history in this case, it’s not like any of it was a mystery… As for Eivor, the muddied part was resolved by the end of this chapter, but again… it would’ve been fine if they’d just left it as it was prior to this update.

Eivor keeping it cool

  The only somewhat interesting bit was one cutscene with a side character named Basim, who will be very important for the next game in the series, Assassin’s Creed: Mirage. Basim was an intriguing character in Valhalla, so I guess seeing more of him was cool, but The Last Chapter in general isn’t worth your time. It’s a free DLC, and it only lasts an hour or so, but it isn’t fulfilling in any way whatsoever…

Odin having no chill
Looking at you, devs...

There’s no gameplay here other than traveling to familiar locations, while the cutscenes were made awkward due to some strange cosmetic choices… During cutscenes, my armor was replaced by some bullshit with glittering feathers. What the hell was that? What’s more, in some scenes my male Eivor was replaced with the female Eivor, so none of it felt like the epilogue to the story I’ve been playing… In short, this update was a miss.


Things I skipped

Yes, I know I said I 100%-ed Valhalla, and I did, but some trivial stuff in the game doesn’t count toward the overall completion rank (thank God). So, here’s what I ignored or didn’t see through to its end.

Treasure Maps

Throughout the game and most of its DLCs, there are maps and riddles you collect that point to hidden treasures. However, the reward for solving these are mostly irrelevant cosmetic items, so I decided not to pursue them. (Also, scrolling through your inventory to open the collected maps was a pain…)

Bonfire easter egg
All these hidden treasures had some mini-tales attached to them, but with a game this vast I had to cut corners somewhere...

Rebel Missions

In the Siege of Paris DLC there’s an ongoing quest where you help rebels in the area. I didn’t bother with this since it would require 40 or so of these minor missions to complete. Also, you can’t select multiple missions at once. You must select only one mission, finish it, return to report on your success, and only then do you get to pick up another mission... and all of them play out as trivial enemy camps, simple fights, or sneaking bits. Nothing we haven’t seen and experienced before throughout the main game...

Mastery Challenges

These are actually good! Very akin to the challenges in the Batman Arkham games, if you’re familiar with those.


  Mastery Challenges were added to Valhalla as one of those free content updates. They're structured like arcade-type stages with their own set of rules and goals focused either on melee, archery, or stealth. You score points by working toward those goals and are rewarded with medals based on your success. If you’re aiming for the gold medal, you’ll need to approach every challenge tactically and keep the mistakes to a minimum. What’s also fun is that each challenge comes with pre-selected gear and abilities, which is constraining, but it lends itself to experiencing different combat situations.

Brutal stuff

So, why didn’t I finish these challenges, then? Well, medals can be traded in for new armor, weapons, and cosmetics, none of which I needed since I had already finished the rest of the game… Meanwhile, the 150 hours I had invested in Valhalla have already left me satisfied where the gameplay was concerned. If you enjoy this type of content, though, you should give Mastery Challenges a try!

River Raids

River Raids also came as a free update. In this one, you get on your Viking ship and explore new rivers that come with their own new regions. The raiding mechanics remain the same, but the execution is different. Whereas in the main game you’re done with a raid once you sack the targeted location, here you have multiple locations as part of one raid. So, instead of one monastery being the goal, for example, in River Raids that monastery is just one stop along the way.

Sail up!

  The more you raid the same shores, the more alert your enemies will become, so your next target in that region will be better guarded and harder to conquer. Meanwhile, the overall goal is to collect as much plunder as your ship can carry, and hopefully find some unique items along the way like weapons, armor pieces, or even abilities.

Fishing like a Pleb
Talking of rivers, this is a good time to mention that you can also fish in Valhalla.

In conclusion, I can see how River Raids can be great fun for someone who enjoys the raiding aspect of Valhalla, but as I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m not that guy.

Fishing like a Viking
P.S. There's more than one way to catch a fish...

Discovery Tour

Like some earlier AC games, Valhalla also has a mode in which you can explore the open world like it was a history museum. There’s no combat here, and it used to be that there were no real goals either—you just walk around and interact with historically important locations, buildings, or personas to learn more about them. However, Valhalla changes that a bit by giving the player simple-to-do quests that take you through the lives of ordinary people who lived in the Viking era.

Discover Tour missions

This is a great way to learn about the Norse and Saxon cultures and their history, so props to the developers for putting this mode into the game and upgrading it with a narrative structure of sorts. That being said, I’m not that much of a history buff or a museum guy, so… maybe some other time.


I’m listing this here as something I completely ignored and had no trouble doing so. A lot of gamers are quick to point out that there are microtransactions in Valhalla, but few go on to explain how they are irrelevant and take nothing away from the gameplay experience. The shop in the game mostly revolves around cosmetic items, and I didn’t care for any of them. Most looked immersion-breaking, anyway.

The Grind

Same as microtransactions, a lot of players trash Valhalla because it forces players to grind levels so they can beat the story, but that wasn’t my experience with the game whatsoever. Doing all the side activities didn’t feel like an endless grind, and as a completionist, I was never under-leveled for any story quest. Halfway through the game, I became over-leveled


Maybe the players who are doing only the story eventually run into a mission that’s too tough for their level… but, by fully ignoring exploration they’re also ignoring some of the best parts of the game, so I don’t see them having much fun either way. Meanwhile, the difficulty settings can also help balance things out if you’re underpowered and outright refuse to level up by playing around with any of the possible side activities that the game offers.

Impressed Doggo
In any way, I ignored the grind and still 100%-ed Valhalla. Make of that what you will...


Final Thoughts

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla can be overwhelming. Progression can also feel slow at times. The sheer amount of content is daunting, while not all of it will be to everyone’s liking. The main story is bloated, and many aspects of the game are either flawed or explored merely on a surface level. All of it would’ve been demotivating had I not enjoyed the gameplay loop so much.

  But that’s the thing… the core mechanics are fun, the leveling system is addicting, the world design is spectacular, the music is outstanding, while Eivor is a poet and a badass. I had more than a good time with this game! Meanwhile, everything Valhalla added to the Assassin’s Creed lore reignited my passion for this universe.

Party Odin

  I get all the criticism and I hadn’t shied away from calling Valhalla out on all its shortcomings, but there are definitely a lot of positives here, as well. So much so, in fact, that I appreciate this game and the ridiculous number of hours I spent with it.


As for my final score… an 8 seems too high given how many mistakes were made, but 7 is too low when I consider how much fun I had. So, I suppose the only choice is to split it and give Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla a fair 7.5/10! That’ll do...


All right, much like with Valhalla, I don’t suppose anyone made it to the end of this post, but if you’re here, I salute you.
Until next time!

Vladimir RadojkovićVladimir Radojković

  A long time ago I made up this universe and now, among other things, I write stories for it. When I’m not working on Order of the Spirits, I'm usually busy running a small hotel in a small town. Or programming. Or playing games on GOG. Yeah… Mostly playing games on GOG

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