Review Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: a Viking tale of light and shadow [análise/vídeo]

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla marks the debut of the new chapter in the Ubisoft action-adventure series, two years after the previous title, Odyssey. This is also a Assassins Creed important for another reason, as it was launched for a huge number of platforms, including in the new generation of consoles: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC (Windows) and still on Google Stadia, via streaming.

The Viking world appears in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

But it would be Assassin’s Creed Valhalla a game worthy of the new generation? A big debut in the Ubisoft saga amid a sea of ​​other games that also land at this time of year? Follow the review Tecnoblog to find out.

For this analysis the game Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was tested on an Xbox One S and also on the Xbox Series X, afterwards.

Video review of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Ethics Notice

And let’s go to our ethics notice. O Tecnoblog is a technology-independent journalistic vehicle that helps people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our product reviews are opinionated and have no advertising intent. For this reason, we always transparently highlight the positive and negative points of each product.

No company, manufacturer or store has paid the Tecnoblog to produce this content. Our reviews are not reviewed or approved by external agents. O Assasssin’s Creed Valhalla was provided by Ubisoft by donation, in version for Xbox One and Xbox Series X. The Xbox Series X was provided by Microsoft on indefinite loan and will be used in future content.

Game: the game

There is a recurring joke on the Internet that says Ubisoft is responsible for creating the concept of “Adventure Game: the Game”. This is due to some games that the company launched that were not the most inspired in the world and that were even decent, but generic.

This happens because, for many years, Ubisoft defined as its main market strategy to have a great representative of game type in the market. For car games they created The Crew. A weighted SPF is in the series Far cry. The open world games in third person stayed with the saga Assassins Creed, sharing space with Watch Dogs some time later. And so on.

This made the company comfortable for some time, as it allowed it to act in various genres of games and appeal to all types of audiences. But changes were necessary and, thus, the games started to receive special attention and many changed drastically. It happened with the brand Assassins Creed.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla comes after Ubisoft's strategy with the series (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla comes after Ubisoft’s strategy with the series (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Instead of annual, biannual releases. Starting with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, from 2015, the company would take extra time to develop its games in the series, in favor of better quality.

This worked quite well for a while, even though we have the launch of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in 2018, just a year after Assassin’s Creed Origins, 2017. Still, it was two highly praised games that preceded the arrival of the current Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, that we are receiving in this year of 2020.

It is necessary to punctuate this part of the story for a simple reason: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla it seems to show that Ubisoft’s strategy has lost some strength. Technically? Impeccable. Creatively? Not so much.

Return to roots

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla it goes back a long time in history and focuses on the time when the Nordic people planned their expansions to other territories, around 800 AD after Christ. The focus of the game, moreover, is precisely this: to show what happened to the Viking clans, as they tried to dominate other lands.

Valhalla brings an expanding Viking scenario (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Valhalla brings an expanding Viking scenario (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

I call it “return to the roots” because it is a story that takes place just a few years before the very first Assassins Creed, that stays there around the 1000s after Christ. The choice of scenery, however, is more commercial than anything else.

Vikings are in fashion. There is a series with that name, including, which is a huge success. The Viking theme goes hand in hand with the European medieval theme to translate “good sales” when we talk about games, especially RPG games, be they table games or electronic games. But Nordic warriors are becoming more and more popular, whether by famous characters from the mainstream media or simply by the Eurocentric appeal that this type of culture has with young people of the 21st century.

This does not mean that the choice was bad. No, it’s not the dream yet Assasin’s Creed that goes on in feudal Japan, as many have asked, I know. But it is interesting to see how Ubisoft approached the Viking people in this game, deconstructing some concepts that are more popular than the truth.

Game deconstructs some truths about the Viking people (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Game deconstructs some truths about the Viking people (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Yes, the Nordics are still shown as a warrior people and that does not escape the fight, which was even true. But the game also positions itself as a mediator to explain that Vikings were not mere mindless barbarians, but a very well organized society, with its own socio-cultural policies, alliances, debates and strategic plans.

It is even curious how, in some scenes, the producers of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla try to include small references to modern problems, but in the context of characters who lived more than 1200 years ago. It should bother anyone who has studied a little more about the history of Vikings, but it is worth remembering that this is a video game, which works with fantastical and exaggerated themes in many aspects.

Fight like a viking

The gameplay of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla it is very good, but not very innovative. There are unprecedented elements, but not as many as we saw in the past two games. In fact, for the most part, Valhalla looks like an Origins or Odyssey skin, which might not be all that bad, if you think they are great games.

Even though innovations are not a bad idea, when well implemented, you cannot complain about the “more of the same” of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The game is technically impeccable, it gives you a taste for controlling the characters through scenarios or fights. The controls are fluid and everything works very well.

Technically flawless, Assassin's Creed Valhalla brings good fighting (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Technically flawless, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla brings good fighting (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Climbing a rock wall has never been easier. Climbing an entire mountain with your bare hands seems to be a formidable challenge, and when we get up there, it is very rewarding to see the results. Riding a horse from one point to another on the map can also be rewarding, either automatically or controlling everything along the way.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla it also looks good in combat. The controls work just as well here. The game was well balanced in terms of difficulty and the objectives vary beyond simply “kill enemy X to advance”. The player will have to constantly think about whether to attack or wait for his allies, to destroy a barrier or to corner opponents, everything is very strategic.

Combat is also valued in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla due to the raid system, or “raids”, in the original in English. He borrows the fame of barbaric Vikings to give the player the plate full of invading islands, terrain, camps and cities, docking with his ship – which can navigate to almost any corner of the map, by the way.

Raids are high point in Assassin's Creed Valhalla (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Raids are high on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

The raids will make you spend a considerable amount of time exploring, as they can yield exclusive rewards, which are not found anywhere in the game. It is also always good to be able to count on your Vikings clan to deal with enemies. Soldiers will almost always be present in this type of combat alongside the player, which is why we have a completely new mechanic for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla fights.

Speaking of “spending time”, hardly anyone will be bored with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The game simply has a lot to do. Only in the first area of ​​the adventure, which is part of your prologue, can we spend up to 10 hours to complete all missions, tasks, searches and secrets – when your normal duration should be a maximum of two hours, if the player does everything running.

The entire content is complete with minigames, challenges, legendary animals, additional modes of exploration and also the numerous dialogues recorded with the various characters that are scattered around the map.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is packed with minigames and extra content (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is packed with minigames and extra content (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

It is really a huge game that will not leave you standing for long. In addition to the main missions that make history go, there is much to be discovered in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

The creative part …

Now let’s go to the bad side: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla it looks generic. It could be any game, “Vikings The Game”. There are elements of the murderers’ story, but they seem to be very much in the middle.

It’s a good game, technically flawless, with incredible gameplay and very much inspired by its predecessors. But he just didn’t click at any time for me.

I didn’t know how to define if the problems were the characters, the scenario, the time when the game is set. I just did not absorb the necessary excitement that the adventure should offer me, and that made me a little uncomfortable.

Eivor, the main character, who can be male or female, is a well without charisma. It refers to the figure of the generic blond Viking, with some marks on the face due to a history of the past and the stoic behavior that is expected of a character of the type.

Eivor, whether male or female, is not a good protagonist (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Eivor, whether male or female, is not a good protagonist (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

All supporting and tertiary characters do not help. Another one, here or there, is part of more interesting subplots, but that never really take off.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla it even tries to present interesting twists in its plot, especially involving Eivor, but it is not enough. As a matter of fact, as in all Assassin’s Creed, this one also has a playable portion nowadays, outside the Animus machine, but which I prefer not to detail in order not to spoil the surprise of some players and also to respect embargoes of information requested by the producer.

But it is worth mentioning: what I say here are mere personal opinions. Maybe I’m thinking that the Assassin’s Creed series has stagnated a bit, again, as it was before Syndicate. That’s why I started this analysis by remembering what was the path that Ubisoft traced to get here. But the game could offer a “something else”.

Game has good elements of mythology, but they seem free (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Game has good elements of mythology, but they seem free (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

One of my problems, yes, has to do with the issue of the theme. Despite being a commercial success, “Vikings” are not exactly at the top of my interests. But beauty. Even highlighting this point, we still run into the obstacle of characters that are not so different from each other and one, or one, protagonist who borders on the concept of “without salt”.

The power of the new generation

Now speaking more on the graphics side, I played the new Assassin’s Creed Valhalla a good deal on Xbox One S. Then I started the story again and played entirely on Xbox Series X, the new console from Microsoft.

The technical praise continues to apply to the graphics. The game was already beautiful in the old generation of consoles and is even better on the latest device. They are not only light effects or higher resolution, but also the smoothness and loading time much faster, practically eliminating screens of “Loading” – and we know how they usually take time in the series game.

The vast world that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla creates with its graphics and visual elements that are generated with enormous quality is noteworthy. At the beginning of the game, for example, the snow impresses a lot, although it is not something so unprecedented – who played the recent God of War, another game in the “Viking” area, you know what I’m talking about.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is really beautiful (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is really beautiful (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

It is gratifying to see the difference in the game between the two generations. Enjoying the game on a really fast and powerful console makes you even happier when it comes to controlling the character or sitting and enjoying the story, even though my criticisms are directed to this second point.

I didn’t have access to the PS4 or PS5 versions, but most likely the games will also maintain the same quality on Sony platforms.

Conclusion

Don’t be fooled by my probable bitterness at the topic, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla it is suitable for those who like the Nordic subject and who would love to spend some time in the Viking lands, expanding their domains throughout Europe.

Expand Viking territory in the game (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Expand Viking territory in the game (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

But it is a fact that the series shows some signs of tiredness. As technically flawless and flawless as it is, with good gameplay and controls, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla fails to deliver a creative story and even gets stuck in some clichés, relying on surprising plot twists that happen in the plot – and expect real ones surprises out there, no spoilers.

Playing in the new generation is another level of delivery. The game simply shines on the Xbox Series X, literally. It is a good option for those who are buying the console now and want a game that will last a long time, since there is a lot to do here, inside and outside the main campaign and plot.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Pros

  • Technically almost perfect
  • A giant world with lots of content
  • Extremely beautiful even in the old generation

Cons

  • Little charismatic characters
  • Somewhat general history
  • Not enough innovation in the controls
  • The theme didn’t capture me that much

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