Assassin's Creed Valhalla

It has a ton or two of content, and those are metric tonnes! I’m replaying it, on Hard, with a male Eivor, and it’s still throwing up things I didn’t see the first time.

Siege of Paris on August 12th. Need to get through Bloodline before then :)

Finally one handed swords! Sword and Axe combo time!

Finished up Lunden this past week, no idea where I am going next after I report back in.

I’ve never bought an AC expansion before and the trailer didn’t do anything to illuminate me. What do AC expansions typically consist of? Is it more story or do they add mechanically to the game?

Looks great

There’s some more story in a new setting plus some tweaks to mechanics.

This one isn’t getting the greatest reviews (I read 2) but the previous one in Ireland was pretty good.

For the past couple of AC games, yes to both, but only in the second DLC. So, for example, in Origins, the first DLC just added more story missions to a small new map area - very optional. In the second Origins DLC, they added roaming mummies and magical mini-bosses. In Odyssey, the first DLC just added more story missions to Greece, but nothing mechanically changed. In the second DLC for Odyssey, Ubi added a whole new fantasy-based map with different enemies and powers.

Oddly, the pattern seems to be disrupted in Valhalla. The main game already has the fantasy map and weird stuff. The Ireland DLC just added more baddies to fight in a new map, but not much else because even the story stuff felt very side-quest optional, if you get my meaning. The Paris DLC apparently adds more essential campaign story, but mechanically adds a return to a more urban setting.

That was helpful, thank you!

So far the only good DLCs in AC series were for Odyssey, and they still weren’t great story-wise. So I’m hesitant about trying Valhalla DLCs. It seems like more of the same deal and the main game was already bloated.

The Druids DLC was good, I thought, though Ireland looked a fair bit like England (which, to be fair, is not that far from the truth in many ways). The story was ok, the missions were pretty similar to what you already had but I found the Celtic flavoring kind of nice. And you get some decent gear and income producing perks out of it too.

Like all of these things though unless you beeline the main story, you will be rather overpowered compared to the story challenges by the mid-late game. The latest patch seems to add a changeable scaling option for enemies at least.

So, finished the main storyline in the Siege of Paris DLC. All in all, not quite as good as the Druids one, IMO, though it has its moments.

The map is a bit weird, as it scrunches a large area of France into pretty much one big zone more or less. The sense of scale is odd, with cities seemingly very close together and no real sense of regional diversity. Paris is kind of disappointing, as well, as it doesn’t feel much different than any other city in the game.

OTOH, Siege adds some new bad guys, like the cavalry dudes, who are quite nasty, and a ton of morning-star wielding guys who can hurt. Most of all, though, it adds one-handed swords (which the game dubs short swords). Fast and reasonably effective, they are a welcome addition. There are also a couple of new armor sets it seems.

Where the Druids expansion had you setting up trading posts and running errands for kings, this one has you taking on repetitive missions for a sort of resistance movement fighting against King Charles the Fat. It’s the usual stuff, go here, kill this person or take this thing, etc. The rewards, other than the stuff that is only useful for those missions, include one of the new sets of armor (eventually), runes, and tattoos it seems.

The plot and the characters, for those interested in that sort of thing, are fairly well done I think.

Overall, I can’t say whether it’s worth buying if you don’t get it with the season pass (which I did, though I really don’t recall buying the season pass, but w/e). If you like the basic gameplay, a lot of the improvements (swords, new skills, etc.) are probably in the 1.3 patch.

Oh, there is one thing that may be available only in France, though it could be found in England maybe, I don’t know. It’s a Book of Knowledge for an ability to fire an arrow that summons rats. Yes, rats. Swarms of rats. That’s the single most deadly adversary in the game, introduced in this expansion. You can slay the most legendary beasts, best the most powerful champions, topple kingdoms, but no matter how hard you try, you cannot even harm a single hair on the head of a rat in a rat swarm. No, all you can do is wave your weapon at them and drive them into gutters and stuff, sometimes pushing something over the hole to keep them down there for a bit. If you don’t, they kill you. Full stop.

The ability you get fires an arrow that spawns one of these swarms (which you otherwise encounter mostly when trying to get to treasure in tunnels or caves or basements). Especially when upgraded, it will destroy an enemy lickety-split. Even the big elite types will take 50% or more damage, and a repeat application of Rat will finish them off. I’ve wiped out entire camps of enemies shooting rat arrows from stealth. It’s fun, but kind of game-breaking.

The Outsider has marked Eivor.

I had to look that up, actually, not being a Stephen King fan. But good call, good call!

I didn’t know about Stephen King book. I’ve meant Dishonored series. Among other things, you can summon rats in this game and it’s a fairly important part of the game - rats make some places dangerous, you can lure enemies in rat traps, rats dispose of bodies etc.

Lol. I was thinking you were referencing the TV series, which while not involving rats per se does involve an entity that marks people with cuts or bites and Bad Things happen. I never played more than about ten minutes of Dishonored, so that went right over my head!

But yes, I definitely think the Ubi developers may well have been fans of Arkane Studio’s work.

In general I’d say modern AC games owe more to Immersive Sims than to Witcher that people always quote as inspiration. Witcher 3 has very simplistic combat, you have some consumables you can use but you never rely on them. AC trilogy feels more like Deus Ex or Dishonored to me; you combine stealth, variety of combat styles and environmental interactions to crack open big locations full of enemies.

Nicely put! I like that analysis; I would tend to agree. The stories in the latest AC games are, well, let’s just say kind of wonky. The world-building is great in a physical sense (the worlds look fabulous) but ultimately shallow; Egypt, Greece, England are all theme parks, albeit gorgeous theme parks. And the focus is definitely on combat, combat, and MORE COMBAT ROWWWRRR!

Just bought the full game for $32 last night and reinstalled it. I didn’t realize there was so much new content released in the last year, so I’m curious if the season pass ($40, really?) is worth it or not.

I found both the DLCs released so far to be worthy additions, and got my money’s worth, though I don’t recall how I ended up with the season pass. I think I got it on some sort of sale as a bundle or something, I can’t recall. So whether it’s worth forty clams or not is a tough one to answer.

I’d suggest playing the game for a bit, getting over to England at least and doing one or two of the main quests to see if you really dig the basic formula. If you do, then I’d recommend getting the DLC. You will get a lot more out of the rewards/loot from Ireland and France I think if you are in the low to mid power levels than if you go back with a maxed out character after finishing the main questlines.