Xbox Series X Review: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Can the Viking era give new life to Assassin’s Creed?

I’ve been a fan of Assassin’s Creed since the original game, I loved that and playing as Ezio in the following games but then I felt a bit disconnected when it switched from Ezio to Connor and while I’ve played each game, I haven’t felt that connection to the character since then. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Black Flag, Syndicate, Origins and Odyssey but I just didn’t become as invested in the plot of those characters as much as Ezio. Can Valhalla put this right for me?

You play as Eivor, a Viking warrior who leads a clan in Norway as they head to the shores of England. Eivor can be either male or female like in Odyssey, but there’s also an option to “Let the Animus Decide” for gender which changes the story and gender depending on the in-game canon. Valhalla handles like Origins and Odyssey with the change in gameplay, which was a welcome change to a formula that had grew a bit predictable by the time that Syndicate arrived.

Valhalla improves upon this with a more refined combat system and vast open world that is huge in scale. I spent days just wandering around gathering resources, admiring the amazing landscapes and doing side-quests without even diving into the main story. It’s a world you can easily find yourself lost in as you try and find every little secret, or take part in mini-games like drinking or flyting which is a contest of trading insults, much like the “I am rubber, you are glue” insults from the Monkey Island series.

As with the past two games, you can equip and use many different types of weapons so you can play however you wish. You can choose to be stealthy with your Hidden Blade and arrows or you can go on a full-on attack with duel-wielding axes and even get your clan to help with raids. The RPG elements such as XP and skill trees are also still here and are bigger than ever, so choosing the right perks for you is even harder since there are so many to choose from.

Valhalla itself is a huge game and there’s so many activities and secrets to find that its hard to even put a timescale on it. I’ve done the majority of the game at this point but I know there’s still a lot I have to do and I’ve spent a lot of time on it already, so you definitely get your value for money here.

This is the first Assassin’s Creed game on new hardware and simply put, it’s breath-taking. Everything from the tracks in the snow you make in Norway to the hills of England are out of this world, the character models look great and the game runs at a solid framerate consistently. Load times are very short and both the voice-acting and soundtrack are both superb.

It’s truly a next-gen experience that pushes the Series X far and as for Eivor, while he/she can’t hope to have the same impact as Ezio did on me or the fans of the series, they are by far the best protagonist since then and I felt invested in their story more so than past protagonists.

The Verdict

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the best game in the series since Assassin’s Creed II in my opinion. It’s the culmination of the changes made in Origins and Odyssey, refined for next-gen with a protagonist who I actually gave a damn about. Oh, Assassin’s Creed, you old dog…you’ve still got it!

Score: 9.0