Assassin's Creed Valhalla

A 30 minute gameplay video where the character didn’t do a single assasination.

I’ve liked the last two games but this is a completely different series now that has nothing to do with Assassins creed.

Right - they should rename for next gen. Fun with Swords and Drinking. Or something.

I assassinated badguys, guards, and everyone else in Origins and Odyssey in ways that didn’t feel particularly different from previous games – hiding in bushes, around corners, behind boulders, whatever.

But the core assassination gameplay loop of the first 5 games – AC, AC2, Brotherhood, Revelations and even AC3 – was starting to feel pretty tired. With AC4 and Rogue, it felt like UBI recognized that and they were trying to do anything but emphasize the assassination play.

I don’t care what the series has become, honestly. I loved Odyssey so very much for the world it created. If they can create a similarly amazing world for Valhalla, I’m going to be in heaven. Seriously, if they can just competently execute the basics for this, I’m likely to play it more than Cyberpunk this fall.

Couldn’t agree more, and the open world stuff shown in this video puts this game at the top of my fall wish list.

I do agree though that the wooden longship bursting through a stone wall was silly.

Tangent: did you feel like Odyssey was a significant step up from Origins, or just a slight refinement?

I’m about halfway(?) through playing Origins very thoroughly, but losing steam. If Odyssey is a big step up, I might switch to just speeding through Origins to start Odyssey, but if they’re similar I might keep chipping away at Origins but then give the franchise a rest again before coming back to Odyssey.

I felt like it was a significant step up, but probably not for the reasons you might be looking for. :)

  1. Setting. When it comes to setting, I’m not sure any videogame setting I’ve ever experienced has quite possessed the beauty and wonder of ancient Greece. It’s so perfectly realized here, even if they take some liberties with historical geography as needed.

  2. Character. Bayek is simply…not real exciting. I never felt like I connected with him, nor cared too much about his story. It just never came together for me. On the other hand, Kassandra as a main character is one of the most memorable, and incredibly realized characters in recent gaming history. I found myself just wanting to play the game to hang out with Kassandra, to see what happened to her and how her story evolved.

What has changed is in regards to dual wielding. Now the right and left bumpers control attacks with your right and left hands. Right bumper is your light attack with your right hand weapon, Right trigger is the heavy attack with that same weapon, similar to Origins and Odyssey. The left bumper is where it gets a little interesting: If you have a shield in your left hand—yes, it can be equipped in your right hand and be used to attack—tapping the button brings up your shield to parry, and holding it blocks, similar to Bayek in Origins. If you have a weapon in your left hand, tapping the bumper parries and holding the button does a combination attack. If you don’t need the defensive capabilities of blocking and can get by on parrying, you gain more offensive power.

Parrying and heavy attacks chip away at enemies’ stun meter, which sits above their health bar. (Blocking does not seem to affect the stun meter.) Once normal enemies are stunned, they get opened up to Stun Attacks, which are instant kill moves based on what you or your enemies have equipped. There’s also a little dismemberment in Valhalla now; I hit a guy with a flail and watched his head pop right off.

There’s also a skill that lets you swap which weapon is in which hand while dual-wielding by double-tapping A, letting you switch between, say, an axe and a flail as your primary method of attack. It’s another series of options in combat. Not an overhaul, but bringing together blocking and parrying works once you wrap your mind around it.

Other changes include moving Assassination to the left bumper, meaning once you enter open combat, you can’t assassinate at all, because tapping the bumper is your light attack. This was a change I immediately turned my nose up at, but I quickly got used to it. There’s some fuzziness in the moment where you’re about to assassinate and someone sees you, but that’s always been in Assassin’s Creed.

As promised, there’s a skill that allows you to one-hit assassinate targets that would otherwise be a critical hit. When you assassinate a higher-level target with the skill active, you’re presented with a timed mini-game where you have to press the button again within a certain window. The thing is, the timing is fairly open, making it very easy to land the hit; I assume this was for the demo, because as it stands I never missed. If it’s going to remain as simple in the final version, I’d almost rather they take it out and just let it be a one-hit kill.

Point 2 might be exactly what I need. Thanks for the quick explanation.

Is playing one of these very thoroughly ever going to work well? I play the parts that work for me to avoid being overwhelmed with similar stuff :)

As Uplay is free for a few days you could dabble with Odyssey for a bit? It has quite a large and well defined intro area you could probably get through, although tbh the real scope doesn’t become apparent until you move on from there.

@WhollySchmidt I felt Odyssey was a big step forward. The characters were cooler, the world was just as awesome, buy the game play mixed things up quite a bit, so that it never felt overly repetitive, which is a big issue I have with the series. Also, you can play Kassandra (because why would you not pick her she is awesome) as a melee, an assassin or a ranged build and get pretty varied results with most battles. I also liked the fact that I got pretty sweet armor much earlier in the game, and not at max level when it was basically useless (ala Origins). Why games wait until the last minute to give me the good stuff is beyond me =)

I’ve played most of them to near 100%, and the temptation is still there in Origins. Sometimes the mindless checklist of collectibles, tasks, and side missions is satisfying to me. Going section by section on the map can be relaxing for a while. But yeah, I’m just not that invested in Bayek. I don’t think the writing was that strong in any of the AC games so far, so I doubt it’s actually a step back here, but the missions in Origins are really dragging for me. I think the errand-boy vibe in particular is grating. As a Medjay, everyone has a problem, and I blindly help everyone with no question. I don’t know why that should feel different, the missions themselves are pretty much the same sort of homicidal work I’ve done throughout the series, but it felt different when the context was different.

I already own Odyssey from when it was on sale at some point, but I think if I start it I won’t go back to Origins at all.

For the completionists, Origins could be your white whale :)

One thing Odyssey does a lot better than Origins is integrating the various systems, particularly around hunting down the Cult and to a lesser extent whatever those named ranked enemies are called. It really motivates you (or me, anyway) to engage with them, rather than just being cruft. The mission system I was less enamoured with, as it felt very GAAS to me.

That…would be terrible, for their bottom line and for us. A lot of us have just gone through a period of upgrading, as the price of video cards fell to something more or less reasonable. And I’m not sure there are any looming CPU great leaps forward on the horizon either. A generation for PC gaming hardware these days is a lot longer than it was a decade or two ago.

Not only that, but really, stuff is so complex now and the hardware so capable even with the current gen that I think developers are better served spending time figuring out how to design and build games that actually make full use of what is out there rather than kicking the can down the road and relying on more horsepower to do stuff for them.

Sold.

Well I meant next gen console / current PC power…

I didn’t see anything more graphically intense in these videos than what you can find in Odyssey already.

Yeah. Presumably the next gen consoles will get some extra fps or 4k. Hopefully the PC version allows all such stuff from the get-go.

One thing I didn’t notice in any of the gameplay stuff yesterday is any climbing. The last one I played extensively was AC: Revelations, in which I climbed around the Hagia Sophia. Has climbing stopped being a core part of the AC games since then? The brief time I spent in AC3 didn’t have much climbing as Haytham Kenway, since Boston is pretty flat in 1760 or whenever it was set.

Pretty much, yeah. You still do a tiny bit of it, to climb over fort walls and such, but it’s not a major mechanic. Even the fast travel towers aren’t really climbing puzzles any more.

Climbing’s certainly been de-emphasized in the modern “RPG” versions of the game. There are still “synch points” throughout the landscape that can be climbed, but they’re no longer required to fill in the map, and they’re not generally anything more than holding a button and pushing up. They’re also, by and large, not very high up, since these are ancient environments.

I can’t imagine that’ll change much in Valhalla. There’s a shortage of really tall construction in that era.