Take a gander at the gameplay for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and one thing is readily apparent: New protagonist Eivor isn’t exactly a subtle person when it comes to dealing with targets who need to be removed from this mortal coil of existence. Whereas previous Assassin’s Creed games encouraged you to be a scalpel that could strike with surgical precision and vanish before anyone was aware of your devious presence, Eivor is pure blunt force trauma and a siege weapon in a knife fight.
The reason why is obvious: The fella’s a Viking after all, a warrior of legend whose people made a living out of raiding villages and conquering other lands over the ages. And that’s exactly the feeling that Ubisoft wanted to stress in this latest Assassin Creed game, before giving players the tools with which to operate better in the shadows when behind enemy lines. “What we wanted from the beginning is really this idea that the character is a Viking, first, you know?” Eric Baptizat, game director of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla said to Games Radar.
It’s something very important, to be sure that we are true to what the Norse were in this time period. We want the player, without telling them directly, to live the drama that a Norse experienced in this time period.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s combat looks heavier, requires more precision and benefits those warriors who can keep an eye on their surroundings as they employ brutal strategy to win an encounter. Special abilities have become the trademark of Assassin’s Creed through the Origins and Odyssey games over the years, and those nearly-supernatural abilities will factor into the overall strategy of combat. “One objective was also to increase the strategy of the player, but also to increase the number of challenges,” explained Baptizat.
Your new skills are really needed for enemies that you can’t easily bypass. So there might be a block or skill you need that you must earn to be able to defeat them. A lot has been done to create a large variety of archetypes that are pretty different compared to what we used to have, but are more rich in terms of fresh strategies for the player.
You’ll once again have a trio of skill branches to pump your experience points into (Bear, Wolf and Raven), with each tree focused on a key aspect of warrior customisation. “We wanted to have some symbolic animal to represent the three directions of the skill tree. If we do a caricature, we could say that the Bear is more of a warrior-oriented element. The Raven is more stealth-oriented, whilst the Wolf is more hunting-oriented,” Baptizat said.
But it’s not only those three branches. Because in each branch, there is already a mix and variety of variable elements. So you can have new skills that are useful in combat, stealth, exploration and navigation, depending on the branch. It’s not restricted.The more you go into a branch, the more than you will see that you specialise in one type of weapon, and one type of track.
You can really define which tactic you think is the best. Then the skills that you’re going to learn will be very, very different [depending on which branch you focus on].
You’ll be able to see some more of that combat soon, as I’m busy slapping together some video of Gavin’s hands-on time with the game. Even though he is completely rubbish at it, so do feel free to give him grief and ignore his valid counter-arguments when that content goes live later this week. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will hit (deep breath now) PC, PS4 and Xbox One on November 17, with PS5 and Xbox Series X versions coming a little later.
Last Updated: July 14, 2020