Valhalla is a bridge game, a game that exists between the last-gen and the next and playable on both. A game expected to showcase promise and at the same time rekindle fond memories, an experiential advert of-sorts that hopefully can result in you spending a large pile of your savings on a shiny new gaming machine in an ongoing pandemic. For major parts of the experience Valhalla offers, it fulfills its role with aplomb. It exhibits all what ray-tracing can offer and the game’s lighting, reflections and shadows are the most photo realistic I have ever seen.
In direct comparison Valhalla is significantly ahead of Odyssey. This is the first game where I felt the beams of sunlight wafting through the trees blind me, offer warmth and the fog surrounding me blind me at times. As you cut through hordes of enemies (as is wont in an AC game), the enemies hurl slime and muck and the effect of partial blindness is significant as you struggle with the ensuing disorientation. In terms of technical design Valhalla is flawless and wonderfully crafted; its problems though lie within it legacy.
This game is the farthest from an Assassins creed offering and, in a year, where we were offered the Ghost of Tsushima the gap is not merely a fault-line but a crevasse. With its detailed RPG elements, numerous weapon combos and deep integration of Norse mythology Valhalla is more Witcher 3 and God of War than Assassins Creed. The classical Templar versus Assassins contestation of the world is increasingly irrelevant in the plot and the delightful subversion of historical events almost forgotten. The transformation that began with Origins now seems complete and while Valhalla benefits, the franchise loses due to a loss of identity.
In terms of gameplay, the game traces a plot where Eivor and his/her brother Sigurd leave Norway when it unifies in the quest of pacifying England and its four kingdoms. As you forge alliances, partnerships and make your mark in England the game offers you board-games, mysteries and puzzles to unravel; the inspirations from Witcher are clearly apparent. Similarly, when runes magic and special abilities enter the fray Valhalla is more fantastical than a plausible reality or a re-telling of historical events. Narratively Valhalla in its essence is two games one in England and Norway and the other in the mythical Asgard, the ambition and scale here is significant.
The gameplay is quick and responsive but demanding of the hardware. It regularly consumed over five GB of my dedicated graphic card. Despite, its superb design the usual glitches, errors and problems remain as the game crashes, NPCs get stuck and interactive cut-scenes hang. Similarly, the use of bows was a problem as when you zoomed in the character moved forward simultaneously and there are moments when all movement ceases and controls become non-responsive. It will take a lot more updates to perfect the gameplay for this scale of ambition.Give it a try to experience what Ubisoft and other developers envision for us in the next decade of gaming. Let’s go Viking then?
Title: Assassins Creed Valhalla
Game Type: Action Roleplaying
Game Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo
Switch Price: INR 3,999 PS4 & Xbox One, USD 43 on Epic
Innovative Gameplay: 4
Game Handling & Quality: 3
Value for Time: 4
What Stands Out
- The ray-tracing is phenomenal, this is by far the best-looking game. Period
- The detailed skill trees, choice of weapons and the unique weapon combinations make this a detailed action RPG
Fails to impress
- The assassin part of the franchise has taken a significant back-seat as the assassins v templar conflict almost seems unnecessary.
- The glitches, crashes and snags are several and despite large sized patches haven’t been overcome.
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