Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is just a few days away from release, and ahead of the adventure releasing on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia, we’re allowed to show some early gameplay and share a few thoughts on the game. Full disclaimer: What’s written below and shown above is based on my time with the Xbox One X version of the game. We do have a copy of the game running on PS4 Pro, but due to time constraints, we don’t have any PS4 footage in the preview video up above. The full review will be based on time spent across both versions of the game though, so if you’re an Xbox fan who has wandered in – welcome!
So, is it any good? Well, I’m not allowed to tell you everything about the game until November 9th when the review embargo lifts, so I’m going to have to be super vague. What I can say is that for the first time in a long time, an Assassin’s Creed game has hooked me in from the beginning.
I don’t know about you lot, but the transition from the last-gen to current-gen was a little jarring, especially after Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. The series had toyed with being an RPG in Unity before scaling it back a little for Syndicate, only to take another shot in Origins, before finally running through the wall and straight into full-blown RPG territory with Odyssey.
I’ve played and enjoyed Origins and Odyssey, but they ended up feeling like massive maps that I was just a tiny part of, and that my job was to go around and tick off the boxes. The stories in those games were good but stretched out far too thin, and it was so easy to get caught up in 20 other quests en-route to your next main mission. The best way I’d describe Odyssey is as long as a river, as shallow as a bath. I’ve not had that feeling with Valhalla, though admittedly, I’m still in the early hours of Eivor’s journey.
The story is coming front and centre, at least in the early hours that I’ve played. The characters are great and I get the feeling that many of them are here to stay for a good chunk of the story, rather than being cast aside, like in the last couple of games. It feels like I’m being given a cast to care about – something I’ve not really felt properly since Assassin’s Creed III.
It’s still an RPG style experience, mind you, but it’s far more polished and feels a lot more focused than Odyssey, which often felt flat and janky in its effort to mimic the best open-world RPGs around, like The Witcher 3. I liked Odyssey, I bought it on Xbox and then again on Stadia, but I’m big enough to see its flaws. Thankfully, it seems Ubisoft has been smart enough to fix them.
I’m gonna leave it there and just say that if you were a big Assassin’s Creed fan back in the day, but felt somewhat disillusioned by Origins and Odyssey, Valhalla is ready to welcome you, no matter where you play.
Disclaimer: This preview was carried out using Xbox One X, and codes were provided by Ubisoft.