Assassin's Creed Valhalla

That would be nice, yeah.

The real problem with Valhalla is that England in the year 900 was mostly just dirt and some broke-down ass buildings leftover by the Romans. Odyssey and Origins had fantastic architecture to look at, which added a lot to my enjoyment of the game - as did some of the older AC games like AC2 in Florence. Valhalla was nicely rendered, but I didn’t stop to look around or randomly climb buildings just to see them.

Though the actual climbing on those crumbling forts was cool in Valhalla, and the old Roman ruins were kind of cool. But yes, no comparison with Greece in the Peloponnesian War or Egypt in the time of the last Ptolemies (though it would have been even cooler if it had been during, say, the Middle Kingdom).

I would love to see an AC in late Republican Rome, around the time of Origins but, well, in Rome. Or during the Japanese Shogunate period–AC: Nobunaga!

Funny you guys mention that, because every time I come across another building or mountain to climb, I just think to myself, oh god, another one. I’m kind of over that whole scaling simulation thing, especially since it hasn’t been much of a simulation in quite a few games. It’s just a perfunctory ‘push forward, hit A occasionally’, there’s no real planning or skill required. Maybe Assassin’s Creed should just move beyond the whole climbing thing.

Kind of an exaggeration, but I get what you mean. Of course, if they had really wanted to, they could have had Eyvor visit Paris, Cordoba in Al-Andalus, Rome, Miklagård… pretty much anywhere in Europe would be fair game. But that would require a coherent narrative to tie things together of course, which seems to be something these games are abandoning.

Well, you do go to Paris. In the DLC. I am not sure how accurate their rendition of the City of Lights is, but you do get to run away from a lot of rats there.

I’d also add that Dark Ages England is basically a template for generic fantasy. When I first saw Valhalla leaked gameplay video for a few seconds I honestly thought it was a prank and they were showing Witcher 3 before I saw UI differences. I’ve played Skyrim, I have climbed high snowy mountains and cleared out stone castles of bandits. That world was smaller but more detailed and diverse.

So I think I’ve asked before; is this worth getting while it’s on sale, or is it better to wait until they give it away for free on Epic later this year or turns up in a bundle (I’m assuming it’s coming, because I have every single game, and I only paid for I think 3 of them).

Or should I just go back and finish Odyssey. On the one hand, I keep thinking I should love this game, simply because of the time period. On the other, I hear stuff like “fail the mission if you kill anyone on raids” and I kind of wonder who came up with that stroke of inspired game design.

Wait what? I’ve been on a bunch of raids and killed all kinds of people. Unless you mean killing civilians, you can get kicked out of the simulation for doing that, but that’s pretty much been the case in every AC game.

Yeah, that’s what I meant. Which one can - kind of - justify in at least some of the other AC games. It’s just several layers of absurd in a game about Vikings. Granted, they were by no means indiscriminate slaughterers (at least no more than any other warriors of the time), but the main reason why they’d not kill civilians was so that they could enslave them. Which was pretty much the main reasons they raided in the first place.

Oh yeah, there’s very little enslavement in the game, no rape (at least as far as I’ve gotten). It’s a very “Pirates of the Caribbean” coat of paint on the viking mythology. If that’s a thing that’s going to bother you then yeah, this might not be the game for you. On the other hand, who wants to play a slave trafficker or rapist? Wait, don’t answer that, I know they’re out there.

You definitely get warned before you get kicked out. I’ve uh…accidentally put an axe through the head of more than one monk in the monastery - that was especially true when I was just starting out and had no idea who was who.

You forgot child murderer. There are some weirdos who are always SO MAD when they can’t murder a 4 year old.

Yeah you can definitely kill one or two civilians before you get kicked out. Or, you know, that’s what I’ve heard. Cough.

For sure. But on the other hand, I’m not sure it’s much better to pretend that the Norse were not who they were. I think Expeditions: Vikings shows that it’s fully possible to make a game of the period without white-washing the historical reality down to the point where the game becomes akin to Nordicism propaganda.

Still and all, it is an AC game, and they’ve never been good at this.I guess the question becomes, given that I still could go back and play more Odyssey (and several other unplayed AC games, for that matter), is there enough in this game to make it worth getting?

The Expeditions games are not full 3D third-person action games where you are directly swinging an axe into someone, though. That makes a difference.

Also, while I agree there is a lot of weirdness in how the game handles a lot of things, particularly religion, they had to make some hard choices. Having monastery raids be realistically destructive would have opened up a whole big can of worms that in the end would IMO not have contributed much to your experience as a player. So I can see why they did what they did, even if it becomes really odd at times.

There’s certainly a lot of unfulfilled promise in the way Valhalla treats cultural and religious clashes. Sometimes Eivor scares someone promising to make them thrall but most of the time his settlement is a happy hippie commune.

Also in Odyssey you could kill civilians all you want, this would put a bounty on you.

The setting for Odyssey was the ancient world, literally ancient history. And few of the players of AC:Odyssey are likely to claim ancestry going back to those times, or associate themselves personally with it. With anything involving England, though, there are lots of people who can (honestly or otherwise) trace their ancestry back to the region. Also, it’s a lot closer chronologically and a lot more familiar. Plus, Christians.

Though it does make me think how cool (and how impossible) it would be to have an AC game set in Jerusalem where you run into this crazy rabbi giving sermons from a hilltop. “The meek shall inherit the Earth? What kind of crap is that?” says the assassin as she rams the hidden blade into some Roman’s back.

The game takes no issue with portraying Christians as bastards. Every Christian you meet is your enemy. I imagine in this scenario the issue was that it would be weird if monks fight back. In Odyssey civilians do fight back, I often got into interesting situations when I started a fight with some soldiers in the middle of a city and local citizens grabbed weapons from the fallen soldiers and attacked me. This is believable cause you expect people in a Greek polis to be hoplites on leave. It wouldn’t work in Valhalla outside of Norway.

So I understand why they did it but I don’t think it’s a good solution. In general, all these compromises make the game look like pro-Viking propaganda. They come to a vacant place to just trade and make alliances. Raids? Ok, they raid monasteries but they’re polite about it and don’t kill civilians.

It’s especially bizarre in the Siege of Paris DLC. An evil king doesn’t like Vikings who came there for some reason. Eivor is worried that when this evil king kills all the local Northmen he’ll go to England to kill Eivor’s people there. The king’s irrational hatred for Vikings raiding his country can only be ended with the Siege of Paris, he really forced Eivor’s hand there.

Oh, I agree with you. I’m just playing Devil’s Advocate from the POV of the developers as I construct it. The whole treatment of religion in the game is bizarre, and warps the historical framework quite a bit. If the monasteries were not the only places to get necessary resources, they might have been able to pull it off, but by sending you to raid them, then sanitizing the raids, you get a rather bizarre view of things.

Were 9th century Norwegians (or 4th century B.C. Greeks) any more militarized than the Anglo-Saxons, disregarding modern viking fetishism?