So hands up if you’ve been watching the brutal adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok in the TV series Vikings and been having dreams of decapitating the leaders of England who lied and cheated their way into power and are now crippling the country with their incompetence… oh just me?
Oh well, for the rest of you blissfully unaware of that current disaster maybe you’ve been watching the TV series Vikings and been thinking the only way to make that series any better was to turn it into a video game and to make Ragnar an assassin. Well then you’re in luck.
As you most likely know, Ubisoft’s latest Assassin’s Creed game is being set in England during the time of Viking invasion. You get to play as Eivor and you start off in a small settlement, that you are able to upgrade and enhance, your first stop is going to be chatting to Randvi who will explain how you need to make alliances with the local areas in order to grow your influence.
In my extended hands on the story is based in the county of Ledecestrescire where you are tasked with joining up with Ubba and Ivarr Ragnarsson in their battle against the current king of Mercia and installing someone more amenable to their needs.
But I’m losing the objective here… the story and whether it’s good or not is really not important right now as that’s what we will update you about in the review. But what I can say from my time with the game is that the story appears to be compelling and makes enough sense to be logical so that all seems great.
What about the gameplay mechanics that really make this game stand out?
YOU CAN PET PUPPIES
I mean just look how happy that dog is, he’s such a good boy and while I don’t know if you get to create an army of puppies to help overthrow the errant kings I hope that is the case. Oh you can also pet cats and gets them to join you on your longboat raids.
On a more serious note the game looks and feels absolutely amazing. The fighting mechanic has been fine tuned and I definitely found the battles more entertaining now that you can plan parry’s and counter’s much better, which is extremely handy as one of the largest gameplay mechanics in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is raiding.
In Ledecestrescire alone I stumbled across 5 or more raids ranging in difficulty from “Is that it” to “okay this is totally overpowered”. Raids are large battles which are worth engaging in for the entertainment value alone, wiping out an entire monastery of kick ass monks and soldiers to then relax by fishing off their burning pier is a gaming moment that will last in my memory forever. But for those who are more interested in progressing the story the loot and goods found in the raids will definitely be required to upgrade your character to take on the bigger and harder raids.
I attempted a hidden secret raid towards the end of my playthrough where my character was around level 30 and got absolutely destroyed multiple times before the Ubisoft rep kindly mentioned that they recommend you be at least level 120 before taking this raid on. So there is room to progress.
So I left the impossible raid behind and started wandering the world like the lost Viking assassin I am. It was a world filled with animals like bears, boars, wolves, tigers (I think), pigs, chickens, rabbits, seals and all manner of birds and fish.
Scattered between all these animals are mini quests and side stories that you can pick up and follow that enhances (pads) out the story and experience.
On the weirder side I found myself fishing far more often that I expected, one of the side mechanics in the game is that you need to catch certain fish and then take them back to your settlement for the fishmonger who will reward you for efforts with loot.
On the even weirder side one of the mini side quests revolved around me eating magic mushrooms and hallucinating seals and magical doors and right now I’m trying to remember if that was just a heavy night last night or actually in the game…
Anyway… we will have some epic video content coming out soon with more detail on certain aspects of the hands on.
For those like me who had become bored of the Assassin’s Creed universe this does feel like a great time to jump back into the world, especially if you are one of the European countries going back into lockdown, and for the seasoned Assassin’s Creed fans out there make sure to keep an eye out for our full review coming soon which will detail all the big things coming in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla when it releases on the 10th of November 2020.
Until then here are some desktop quality images to upgrade your wait.
Last Updated: October 14, 2020