About Viking time,

long have I awaited to roam Europe as a bearded Berserker. Ubisoft once again have not disappointed. Furthering the departure of Assassin Creed games of old, continuing down the road of Origins and Odyssey. The series has become an open world action RPG. I for one love the change of tone in this beloved long running series. Now lets dive into the details of this new epic adventure.

Step into the boots of Eivor, a Viking hailing from the frozen tundra of Norway. Like Odyssey before it, Valhalla allows you to chose to be a male or female Eivor. I chose to go with the male. Unlike Odyssey, there is a lot more customization for your character this time around. With access to a high variety of tattoos, different hair styles and beards.

Our tale begins with a young Eivor in the great halls of his fathers longhouse. Drinking, dancing and games are everywhere to be seen and truly captures the imagination of what true Viking celebrations were. It is a sight to behold, the attention to detail Ubisoft always provide is in full swing. Through a set of events in the exhilarating cinematic prologue of the game you decide on going to the land of England with your brother Sigurd. Here our tale takes its roots in the dark age land of strife of all four kingdoms of: England, East Anglia, Mercia, Northumbria and Wessex. The brothers Eivor and Sigurd venture forth to a land unknown and begin their adventure.

The land of England has been settled by the Danes and Norse men for some time after years of invasions and conquests all in the hopes of glory, wealth and discovery. Here Eivor and Sigurd carve out a place to call home. You must head out and forge alliances with neighboring areas to seek protection and help expand your settlement Ravensthorpe. In your homestead of Ravensthorpe I was brought back to the customization days of old during the saga of Ezio Auditore De Firenze. It is a much more finely tuned level of customization. The more alliances you forge, the more word gets out about the prosperous homestead of Ravensthorpe and the more people want to relocate to your home. I highly recommend upgrading Valkas home as you can easily miss it.

The biggest departure from the last two games is your new skill tree and how to gain new abilities. Unlocking new abilities from your skill tree is now completely absent. You must now hunt down ‘books of knowledge’, for better or worse it forces you to explore and delve deep into the landscape. I personally relished in the opportunity to scout out these ‘books of knowledge’ not knowing what new ability it would bestow upon me. As for the new skill tree system it opens up a plethora of ways to build your Viking in which ever manner suits you, the player. Combat, range and stealth are your big options, and trust me there are a lot to chose from. No player will have the same Eivor. After reaching level 80 you will have a good grasp on how the tree can be used. My Eivor is pretty much adept in all three aspects of it and is truly a Viking to fear for any foe to cross my path. If you feel like you don’t like your current attributes you can easily reset them with a click of a button to find a build better suited to your needs.

Across your journey you’ll come across world events and mysteries, some of which are dull affairs but a majority are well played out and highly unexpected. From playing hide and seek with children or helping a couple reignite their passion by helping them burn down their home. You never know where these will take you. Some of which are full of intrigue or sinister plots. The excitement of it all is that you never truly know what you will get and I implore you to do as many as you can.

Raiding is a new addition to the Assassins’ Creed franchise, it wouldn’t be a Viking game if pillaging and raiding were absent. Raiding goes hand in hand with upgrading your settlement as the resources and materials gathered after a pillaging allows you to bolster and improve Ravensthorpe. It is always a joy pulling up onto a shore of an unexpected settlement. One thing with this did however break immersion for me, you cannot kill civilians or you will desynchronize. Vikings were known to massacre entire homesteads in search of loot. I feel Ubisoft have taken some inspiration from Shadow of War, it is a welcome addition to the game when you begin raiding fortresses. A true spectacle of warfare as you and your allies launch your attack on an enemy fortress. One such attack has a horde of longships headed sternly for an assault whilst the enemy rains fire down on you, the sky is lit with lightning tearing through the sky as if Thor is beckoning your troops to victory.

Lastly, the voice acting is magnificent. Both Eivor and Sigurd stand out especially, between robust facial animations and the voice actors truly giving it their all you’ll fall in love with the huge staple of characters. A far cry from the issues with Odyssey. It seems Ubisoft have learned from their mistakes.

Now for the cons, I did encounter quite a few bugs and glitches. Nothing that crashed my system though. Bear in mind, I did receive my review copy a week before launch and there is a day one patch which will bolster the experience and iron out the few issues I came across. One glitch did leave me in a stitch of laughter. leaped off of a longhouse to bash the skull of an enemy below, hammer in hand I had the power of Thor as I struck my enemy from such a height I found myself breaking through the floor and looking at the map above. It was odd but completely hilarious.

I can’t recommend this game enough whether you will be playing on one of the variations of the Xbox One Series or upgrading to the next gen Series X or S . Valhalla is a sight to behold and something any gamer should enjoy.

Kudos to everyone at Ubisoft for yet another fantastic outing in the beloved Assassins Creed saga.