Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is almost upon us, and I’ve been let loose in the video editor again. I’m sure you know what that means, but I’ll tell you anyway: the words down below are boring, but the video up above is good fun. It’s got key info, fast cuts, and crap visual jokes. It’s what I do. I know my part around here and I’m happy to play it. Enjoy!
It’s the first Assassin’s Creed game set in Viking times
This one is obvious, but there are too many good jokes to make to not mention the fact the game is set in Viking times. I’ve recently watched all three seasons of Norsemen on Netflix – a comedy series set during Viking times – and I’m here to show off my silly Norsemen voices (in the video above).
The last few games have taken us to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, not so ancient Paris, and a relatively modern London. Fans have long begged Ubisoft to let them run around as Vikings, and we’re finally getting our turn.
Valhalla takes place in the year 873AD, and that’s quite the time jump from Origins and Odyssey, which both pre-dated little baby Jesus by quite some time.
There’s still a modern-day story
Yep, we’re still getting a modern-day story, and just like the previous two games, we’re back with Layla Hasaan, the lady who has been our present-day connection since Origins. Not much has been said about the modern-day story, probably because Ubisoft knows that a vocal minority are sour suckers who don’t care for the modern-day story. But us hardcore Assassin’s Creed fans, the ones who were here since Altair’s days, not just those who jumped on once the series became an RPG, enjoy the bigger picture provided by the split narrative. Who were the ones who came before? What’s their purpose? How have past events influenced the world we see today? Will Abstergo reveal itself to be Google, or will Google jump first and reveal itself to be Abstergo. C’mon, Google is run by Templars and you know it. Still, they own YouTube and I’m obliged to say that Google is lovely and please don’t kill our channel/strike us away from search results.
You can be a man Viking or a lady Viking
Just like in Origins and Odyssey, players will get to choose the gender of Eivor, the game’s playable character. You can deck out your character in a number ways, customising war paint, clothes, and even tattoos.
Eagle Sight is still in the game, but with a twist
Eagle Sight, the assassin ability to see more than us mere mortals has been a part of every Assassin’s Creed game to date, and Valhalla will be no different. Aside from the fact it’s now called “Odin Sight”. There’s a good reason for the change, too, because Valhalla won’t be as fantastical as Origins and Odyssey. Which brings me onto the next point.
Less fantasy, more history
Origins and Odyssey took the series in a new direction. The previous games were open-world action-adventure games, but Origins and Odyssey shifted the series genre to open world RPG. With that change came some of the traditional trappings of RPGs, namely, fantasy. Origins and Odyssey leaned heavily into Greek and Egyptian mythology, often turning a corner into the ridiculous. C’mon, magic? What next? Altair on a flying carpet?
Valhalla will still have some mystical moments, but the developer have said that it’ll be heavier on history rather than on mythology, but it will incorporate some of the latter. So, when Eivor and their mates see something strange, they’ll attribute it to one of the many Norse gods. “Double rainbow? My my, looks like Loki has learned to copy and paste.”
Social stealth is making a comeback with
Players have been asking for this feature to return for a long time, and we’re finally getting it back. Social Stealth will be a viable option ni Valhalla, with players being able to duck into the crowd and blend in with everybody else. It was a big part of the very first Assassin’s Creed game, and it featured heavily through the sequels until Assassin’s Creed Origins saw the future and decided we should be practising social distancing instead. Always knew that game was ahead of its time. On the other hand, Valhalla will let players pretend to be dead. So, maybe that’ll be a useful tool for us five years from now?
Instant assassination is back, but as an option
The first Assassin’s Creed game and those that followed all allowed for instant kills with the hidden blade, but somewhere along the line, Ubisoft decided that the favoured tool of the Assassins was no longer as powerful as it once was. Enemies are now given levels and if you’re a lower level, you might as well be stabbing them with a spoon.
This is changing in Valhalla, but it’s an optional change. In the game’s accessibility settings, you’ll be able to toggle one-hit assassinations if you want them. And why wouldn’t you? Sure, it’ll make the game easier, but it’ll also make it a bit more like the classic Assassin’s Creed games, which I’m all for.
You’ll be doing Viking rap battles – It’s called “flyting”
Among the side-activities that you’ll be doing in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, like fishing, fighting, drinking and hunting, you’ll also be flyting. But what is flyting? Good question and Wikipedia is here with the answer.
“Flyting or fliting is a contest consisting of the exchange of insults between two parties, often conducted in verse.”
Basically, this is the Viking equivalent of a rap battle. Dissing one another in verse is a brand new feature to, well, gaming, and I hope it goes a little something like this. (Honestly, this is best watched in the video up above.)
Your beard is short and your teeth are blunt, everybody says you’re a useless ^&*£
You haven’t had poon in many many moons, you can’t lie about it bro, it’s written in the runes!
Loki laughs at your face, Odin sighs in disgrace, holla at the gods and maybe they’ll fix your face!
Do you even Viking? Bow to me, I’m your king, now pucker up and kiss it, cus imma show you my ring.
Naval combat isn’t a big part of the game
We got our first taste of naval combat in Assassin’s Creed 3, then we got a whole pirate-themed game in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, and ever since then, naval combat has been in each game in some form, excluding Assassin’s Creed Unity.
Valhalla will still have some form of naval combat but it won’t play nearly as big a role as it has in previous games. Instead, boats are used for travelling from place to place, and for doing a runner after doing a raid on land.
Buy on PS4, play on PS5 for free
Ubisoft is leaning into the cross-generation free upgrades, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be eligible for a PS4 to PS5 upgrade. It’s completely free and it won’t cost you a penny. There are some conditions, though. If you’ve got a PS5 Digital Edition on order, you’ll need the digital edition of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla if you want it to carry over to your PS5. If you have the PS5 with a disc drive, you can either use your disc, or a digital version of the game. Bear in mind that if you opt to upgrade your game by using the PS4 disc in your PS5, you’ll need to keep the disc in the PS5 console to play.