All you need to know about Assassin's Creed Valhalla
Brought to you by Ubisoft
Assassin’s Creed is back...
This time we are in 9th century England as Eivor, a member of the Raven Clan, who has left the warring lands of Norway to build a prosperous settlement in bountiful, dark-ages-era England.
The story of Valhalla develops the tale of why Vikings travelled, raided and settled in so many places away from Scandinavia and encompasses many elements from the Assassin's Creed timeline and Nordic myths and legends.
During a roundtable discussion with the game's developers, we learned the importance of historical accuracy in the development of the game and how they wanted to avoid clichés, such as Vikings having horns on their helmets, and instead focus on how life was actually lived in the dark ages.
This is not to say that the game is all factual, as there are blurs between reality and mythology throughout; there is even a short encounter with Odin the all-father early on in the game.
The developers also told us about taking inspiration from obscure Viking movies and from TV shows such as The Last Kingdom on Netflix and the Vikings series on The History Channels, which will add to the many cultural references in the story of Valhalla.
Set around the time of The Great Heathen Army invasion of England, the game sees Eivor take part in many real historical events and meet real characters from history. These include Ubba, Halfdan and Ivar the Boneless, all sons of the legendary Ragnar Lodbrok, who was the lead character of many Norse sagas and the Vikings TV series.
For those unfamiliar with Norse mythology, Valhalla is Odin's long hall, where warriors who have died in battle are carried to feast, drink and celebrate all night and fight all day in the courtyard outside in preparation for Ragnarok, the end of the world in the Norse sagas.
Choices are everywhere in the story of Assassin's Creed Valhalla and the choices that Eivor makes will define the game that you play, so be careful whom you choose as allies and foes along the way.
Valhalla also comes with an option that allows you to change the gender of Eivor at any time in the game using the animus.
When you initially pick Eivor's gender, there is a third option titled 'Let the animus decide', which will change Eivor's gender to best suit your story. According to the developers, this is the best option to get a complete feel for the story, especially for seasoned Assassin's Creed players.
However, you'll discover that there are many ways in which you can change the shape and story of the game.
When you spend some time playing the game, you will feel and notice the time and precision that was spent on creating the world that Valhalla is set in, from the icy fjords of Norway to the rolling hills and cities of England, and you will very much feel a part of it.
There has been an incredible amount of time spent on the buildings, ruins and city layouts, so much so that you will feel like you have stepped back in time.
When you first arrive in England, Eivor takes over the settlement of Ravensthorpe. The building and maintenance of a settlement is a new feature in the Assassin's Creed games and one that plays a pivotal role in Assassins Creed Valhalla.
Ravensthorpe is nothing more than an Anglo Saxon longhouse, but building onto your settlement, adding the blacksmiths and the fishing hut amongst other things, will open many new options for Eivor.
One of the most important buildings to add to your settlement is The Hidden Ones Bureau, which will unlock Assassins quests and where Eivor will meet the mysterious Assassin Basim.
Music is an important part of the Viking world in Assassin's Creed Valhalla. From Skald musicians to drunken tunes sung in long halls to Sea Shanties sung on Longships as you travel the world of Valhalla, the music of this world is something that players will be captivated by.
The music of Valhalla has been composed by Sarah Schachner and Jasper Kyd and features music by Einar Selvik, composer and Nordic folk musician with Wardruna. One of our favourite parts of the game is travelling in the longship listening to the chants of the crew, which will bring back memories of the amazing soundtrack of Assassin's Creed Black Flag.
Einar was a big part of the music created for the TV show Vikings and has written an original song for Valhalla called 'Hrafnsmál'.
Clip via wardruna
One of the features in Assassin's Creed Valhalla that you will spend way more time on than you might think on are the mini-games. From Poetic battles, called 'Flyting', to drinking competitions to cairn stone stacking to hunting and fishing, you will have plenty to do.
As enjoyable as all these extra games are, they pale in comparison to a Viking dice game call Orlog. Orlog took us a few goes to get all the rules right but don’t let that stop you; it is incredibly enjoyable and will be a feature that we can see people returning to a lot.
We were also excited to discover that a mission to Ireland will feature in post-launch content for the game. The Season Pass will include ‘Wrath of Druids’, where players will journey to Ireland and unravel the mysteries of an ancient and mysterious druidic cult.
From the time we have spent with the game we can tell you that you that you are in for a story full of twists, turns and intrigue.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla goes on release on 10 November. Keep your eyes on JOE for a full review of the game in the coming days.
In the meantime, make sure you check out Odin’s Hootenanny, a digital variety show to celebrate the upcoming launch of the game, to be held on 6 November at 5pm . Check out the trailer here.
Clip via Ubisoft
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is released on 10 November and is available on XBOX Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Epic Games Store, Ubisoft Store on Windows PC, UPLAY and Stadia. Also coming to PlayStation 5.
Brought to you by Ubisoft