4 Great (and 2 Not So Great) Features in “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla”
I’ve been spending a lot of time with female Eivor over the past few days. From the frozen peaks of Norway to the rolling plains of England, there is plenty to see and pillage. Undeniably, the gorgeous vistas make every moment of Eivor’s journey breathtaking. However, there is far more under the hood of this game than a simple pretty face. So let’s take a look at some of the good and bad features i’ve discovered on this adventure.
- Customizable Loot:
I’ll admit it, when I first heard there would be less loot in this title I was hesitant. Thankfully, it turns out that it makes the game a far better experience though. Each piece of equipment you discover can be upgraded using materials you gather across the world. Best of all, you can also add special buffs to these pieces by equipping runes to them. So while you have less equipment overall, what you do discover can be modified to fit your specific play style.
2. Settlement Building:
There’s something about building your own Viking village from the ground up that feels fulfilling. As you explore England, you can raid monasteries for the various riches they hold. Bring these treasures back to your village and you can use them to upgrade various features. Do you want the best weapons and armor? Focus on upgrading the blacksmith. Want all of the tattoos and cosmetics you can get your hands on? Well time to gather supplies for the Trading Post. You can build your village to fit your needs and conquer your enemies.
3. Skill Trees:
The skill tree system in this game is absolutely MASSIVE. There is literally a skill to fit every scenario. As you explore areas and complete quests, you can earn points to purchase these skills. Whether you favor melee, ranged or stealth mechanics- simply choose a path and start purchasing. Luckily, you don’t have to commit to a specific path for your entire game. You can dabble in all of the pathways if that’s what you desire. Personally, I have chosen to emphasize melee skills so I am always ready for the next raid.
I’ve never quite felt as badass as I do when I initiate a raid. From the moment I blow the horn, I become immersed in the Viking way. Watching as my clan scrambles off the ship and into battle is awesome. It’s also a massive help when taking on stronger enemies. Your allies provide a nice distraction so you can slice your way through massive crowds. Sure you might have to pick your allies up from time to time, but overall the system proves to be simple and effective. Not to mention, the awesome loot you obtain at the end of the raid makes it worth it every time.
- Inconsistent Traversal:
Exploring the world as Eivor is not as simple as it should be. While I love climbing mountains and riding my horse across gorgeous landscapes, I find myself plagued by inconsistent mechanics. Sometimes, Eivor gets stuck on a mountain with nothing blocking her path. Other times, she leaps the exact opposite direction I am trying to go for no reason. Meanwhile, my horses randomly decide they cannot vault over a few inch high ledge with no explanation. These same issues apply to combat as well. It can be really frustrating when you are trying to tell Eivor to do one thing and the game suddenly has other ideas.
2. A Ton of Glitches:
I know, I know-glitches aren’t a feature unless it’s a Bethesda game. However, the sheer amount and variety I have encountered in this game should count as a feature. Sometimes the audio cuts out for absolutely no reason. Other times, the characters’ audio is sentences ahead of the text. I’ve had cutscenes restart and characters pop into existence. Best of all, at one point I had someone from my settlement fall out of the sky. Of course, Ubisoft will likley address many of these issues in future updates. However, it does not change the fact that they frequently interfere with my immersion in the game.
Overall, I am having a fantastic time pillaging and plundering everything I can across England and Norway. While minor issues do take away from the experience, I can easily overlook them while decimating my enemies. After all, nothing beats the open road and some fresh blood on your gear.