Are you an Assassin’s Creed enthusiast? Or even better, are you fascinated by the Viking culture and it broke your heart when the Netflix series arrived at an end? Fortunately, Ubisoft has your back. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is an action role-playing video game considered to have the best storyline. Choose to be a part of this adventure and you’ll engage in a complete experience that will uncover the fearless Viking sleeping inside of you.
This game is an impressive mix, using strategy, combat skills, and the ability to build a new civilization from zero. Unleash the ruthless fighting style of a warrior and use complex weapons to decapitate your enemies in close-quarters combat or assassinate them with the hidden blade. Be an excellent fighter, but also a responsible leader, customizing your settlement and upgrading your building to offer your people the best lives.
Why go through all this trouble? Just hear some game details and you’ll be the one to choose. The storyline follows Eivor, a Viking raider raised to be a brave warrior. Becoming this fascinating character means you will have to lead your clan to a new home, find a settlement and conquer the hostile land of England from its chaos. The rich, untamed land is waiting and the people are searching for their leader. Do you have what it takes to discover the way and launch attacks against the Saxon armies? The prize is every Vikings’ dream: earning a place in Valhalla.
Start your journey
The Prologue – Before actually starting the game, a long Prologue will set the table and prepare you for the next steps. This isn’t a new piece of information. All Ubisoft’s epic games include the complex start of your journey into a tutorial-based storyline. Consider playing the main story for quite some time before wandering around the enormous map. It will probably take you a few hours to even see the title screen, but don’t get discouraged. Enjoy the amazing graphics and use everything the game has to offer.
The main story – Following the main plot is your responsibility, even if it seems harder than you imagined. It’s almost impossible not to be overwhelmed by all the stuff you can do and all the land available for exploration, but this is exactly why you have to be careful not to get sidetracked easily. Discovering this new world around you won’t do any harm, but try not to forget about the given tasks. Complete all of Act 1 “The Battle for the Northern Way” and after that, enjoy new, proper mechanics and find upgrades, skill points, or even new gear around you.
Use Synin and Odin’s Sight – For Assassin’s Creed veterans this may sound like a given, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you go for the default ‘Explorer’ setting to guide you to the next quest, you might find yourself aimlessly wandering and searching for your next clue. Why not make everything easier? Send up your raven and use the focus ability. A blue line shall appear and point the direction to the next area.
Odin’s Sight is here to help you too. Use you for your assassination targets and even for raids. Keep blasting your special vision and you’ll find the lovely gold sparkle of goods to pillage. After that, they will appear as barrels in your compass at the top of the screen.
Upgrade your rations pouch – Being a fearless Viking and a skilled assassin at the same time isn’t easy at all so don’t be surprised when Eivor is going to take some beatings in the early stages of the game. She’s just learning everything and the best help to offer is upgrading the Rations pouch. Fill it with food and berries that you can get literally anywhere on the map. They are so abundant that having an empty pouch is almost impossible if you play the game right. This will restore Eivors’ health and get her ready for the next battle. If you upgrade your pockets, the rations will be stacked, and having some reserves is the best way to avoid death.
Look out for mushrooms – Most pickable food is a reliable resource. However, some mushroom patches can trick your body and take your health. As a rule, the yellow ones are perfectly fine but when you see some black fungo, stay away from that place. Stay alert especially in cursed places. Mushrooms found in raids or in the area of boss fights are more often than not safe to eat.
The Skill Tree – Every aspect of the game can get you experience points, from drinking games to high-level assassinations. When gathering enough skill points, you can allocate them to one of three branches of the Skill Tree: Bear (Melee), Wolf (Ranged), and Raven (Stealth). While all three are important during the game, the best play is to first choose one and specialize in it.
That being said, investing in the Melee Skill Tree is probably the best option for the starting part, as the game adopts a more head-on approach to battles. This generally means fewer opportunities for stealth and more face-to-face interaction with your enemies.
Use your logic and allocate different skills that will connect the lines to unlock your favorite skill. A tip for early gamers: the best maneuver to unlock in the Melee Skill Tree is “Stomp”. Why? It will allow you to actually stomp on the head of a downed enemy, probably killing him instantly, while only requiring 6 skill points. A worthy deal if you ask me. The more you expand your Skill Tree, the more gear upgrades you will have. Aim for unlocking central skills and use them wisely.
Books of Knowledge – The vast Skill Tree isn’t the only alternative if you want to obtain the best skills. A great idea is to also scout the vast regions of England for the legendary Books of Knowledge. These books can get you amazing abilities to use in the next combat and will surely make a difference. To mark the location of new possible skills and upgrades for the old ones, pull up the map to pinpoint the yellow book icons. How do find all of them? If you are an enthusiast, seek out Cartographers that can tell sell you maps containing Book of Knowledge locations. The characters will stand out, as they are represented by question marks on your map.
Useful skills for a newbie:
Adrenaline Fiend – A little further into the melee constellations, you can find Adrenaline Fiend, an ability that simply gives you free damage and attack speed as some kind of reward for not using one of your Adrenaline-spending abilities — the ones from the Ability menu. Even if they have similarities, they are different than skills. This skill helps as you progress through the rest of the game and earn more Adrenaline Points.
Backstab – There are a lot of reasons to pick up Backstab. To begin with, the stealth skills are a good alternative to the Melee ones, especially if you adopt a sneaky fighting style. A Backstab is an early investment: it gets bonus points as a reward for being a perk that’s always active. If you can hit an enemy in the back, you’ll cause bonus damage, both in combat and before it begins.
The Settlement is an important part of the game. It will wake up the responsible adult inside you and test organization, as well as resource management skills.
Basics – You will be in charge of building the settlement the Danes call home. Eivor and its clan start out with a simple Longhouse. It’s up to you what to create next. Don’t panic when you see all the available options for taking care of this amazing base. There are a lot of buildings that grant a Feast Buff to the settlement, but that is a later-game mechanic that you’ll probably discover on your own. You surely won’t be able to build everything right away, so learn to prioritize and spend your resources wisely.
Upgrade your settlement as often as you can. Getting lost in adventures and exploring England is certainly tempting, but progress requires a strong base to come home to. Try not to overlook the beauty of building your own village.
Buildings & Upgrades
Longhouse – The Viking Longhouse is the expansive construction you begin with. This is a central feasting hall, a throne room, and your personal quarters, all at the same time. What can you do here? Form alliances, throw incredible feasts for your clan, and benefit from the temporary buffs that come from it. The personal quarters give Eivor access to his bed and a box of mail sent by other important characters you’ll discover in the game. The Throne Room hides a smaller strategic one built just behind the Throne. Here, your intel gatherer will keep a map of England with all the territories you can conquer or move to make alliances with.
Barracks – This is the first essential investment you need to make when upgrading your settlement. The Barracks is the place where your warriors and your raiding party reside. If you build a Barracks, you can customize a personal Jomsviking to help you in fights. Moreover, you can have fun choosing their look and their weapon load-outs. Cost to build: 30 Raw Materials + 400 Supplies.
Blacksmith – You won’t get the best gear just by standing around. This place allows you to upgrade the equipment you find during explorations. Gunnar, the man behind this incredible technique, will enhance your gear in exchange for rare ingots. Cost to build: 30 Raw Materials + 400 Supplies.
Stable and Aviary – If animals are your favorite part of the game, then building a Stable will make this adventure even better. Here you can alter the look of your bird and horse and increase their abilities by training. Swimming lessons, endurance, and strength training will prepare your horse for everything he’ll encounter during the game. Cost to build: 30 Raw Materials + 400 Supplies.
Seer’s Hut – This place will surely make your game more interesting, as it unlocks mythological locations such as Asgard and Jotunheim. The Seers’ name is Velka and his mission is to help Eivor see visions of the past of the Norse people.
Weapons & Battles
Choose a weapon that fits you – To do so, you need to try out every kind of weapon. A big mistake that players often make is deciding the preferred weapon from the very beginning, ignoring other styles. There is no harm in trying something new and exploring your options, so don’t rush into it! This game is long and it can be even longer using inferior weapons.
Weapons – All fighting equipment can be grouped by the different playstyles they are used in. Here is a list to choose from:
Melee weapons include Spear, Hammer, Flail, Bearded Axe, Flail, Dane Axe, Seax, Greatsword, and Light/Heavy Shield.
Ranged weapons include bows: Hunter Bow, Light Bow, Predator Bow.
Excalibur (Greatsword) – This is a mythical great sword and by far the best choice for your game because of its perk and its damage combined. It does take some time to unlock it, but it is definitely worth it as any Critical Hit will blind all of the enemies within range. A good tip is to reduce its weight to make it even faster because it will only upgrade its deadliness.
Petra’s Arc (Predator Bow) is probably the best of its kind. Its attack damage will get you a kill almost every time, even if the speed might not seem efficient. Even more, this bow enhances critical damage when at full health, being a perfect ally for a master of stealth. Use it to complete any side quests and you’ll see for yourself that you’ll not feel the need for another weapon again.
Armor – Never forget about the importance of great armor. They can be as useful as weapons and can come in different styles, providing amazing perks for ranged attacks or taking a great amount of melee damage. Upgrades can appear for certain armor sets so don’t forget to check the Skill Tree.
Pick the right enemies – More often than not, you’ll encounter terrifying characters ready to attack you. The most useful piece of advice here is: Don’t go for it unless you’re ready. If you want to fight somebody whose level appears in red or seems to be a skull, you are doing it wrong. Choose enemies that are your own size or even go against smaller ones at the beginning. Start with the low-ranking provinces and evolve throughout the game. You’ll eventually be able of defeating even the powerful ones.
Learn to Parry – The first combat tip you should hear as a beginner is about learning how to parry. This skill will be crucial for surviving and chaining together the ones that will follow. Always be alert and notice potential incoming attacks. If you know to read the hints of the game, you’ll immediately see if the enemy needs to be defeated or avoided. If its weapon glows red, that’s your signal to run. You can parry an enemy attack with any weapon, and the shield is optional! However, it’s worth considering that if you fail, a shield can still block the attack and save your skin.
Observe and adapt – Enemies come in many different types across Valhalla from Danes to Saxons, and even creepy cult warriors. Each of them is different and they will not only brandish different weapons but also use them in unique ways. A spearman will lead a heavy attack charge, while a Viking might swap from a two-handed axe to dual hammers. Observe their moves and adapt to win. As you encounter new enemy types, learn what they are capable to know when to dodge and when to stand your ground.
What are raids?
The raids are attacks by Vikings on settlements located in England. Their most important goal is to rob people of their most valuable treasures. The richest raid locations are marked on the map with an icon of crossed axes, symbolizing worthy combat is waiting for you. These important places are mostly abbeys and monasteries, but you can also invade other locations, like various types of campsites. While you get precious rewards from raiding, a welcome amount of XP can also be earned, so if you want to improve your power level, raids are a good idea. Slay the Anglo-Saxons and claim your gold!
Starting a raid – Raids can only happen once you have arrived in England and built your settlement. All the raiding locations are situated by the water, having an easy access route. While sailing via longboat, a prompt to press Triangle/ Y will appear if you are close enough to the shore. Press it and Eivor will sound her horn right away. Your whole clan will jump from the boat and start the attack, waiting for you to join. When you make the choice and step up, the raid begins.
The main goal – A raid is not a battle where you have to defeat all your enemies. You raid for resources, so you should focus on robing the locations where the best treasures are found. They will contain Supplies and Raw Materials, both of them essential for upgrading your settlement. The raid ends when all the main treasures are found, but DON’T leave the location so early. Other prizes await you if you have the patience to search for them. That being said, the last tip is to not kill innocent people. It shows a lack of morals and it also desynchronizes the game.
Tips & Tricks
Flaming pots are mysterious gateways – You will probably want to hear this one out. The little pots with a flame are usually kicking around in groups and represent explosive gates to new areas. Just lob one of these pots in the direction of a door boarded up with wood and red rocks and watch them blown up. Behind this mess, you’ll find Books of Knowledge ready to give you amazing abilities. If you somehow miss, the pots will respawn after a while and give you a second chance.
Learn How to Flyte – On your way, you will find warriors, but also poets. Flyting is one of the sillier aspects of the game, but it has its advantages. Eivor will first be introduced to the Nordic take on rap battles by Alvis. During this part of the Prologue, you’ll need to be attentive and observe your opponents’ rhyme scheme. Eivor will have three options to choose from: One won’t rhyme at all, the second one will be easy to read and the third one will be confusing a quite wordy. Choose the correct line before the timer runs out and get charisma points that will unlock special dialogue options during your quests.
Look for more entrances – Many doors will be barred on one side. Don’t think it’s a blocked path and give up at the first minor inconvenience. You can use Odin Sense to detect the barricades on the other side and find another entrance into that building. Consider a breakable roof, windows, or even an underground access point. Moreover, not all barricades are resistant. Some of them can be destroyed by sniping through cracks you find in the walls.
Weak spots – Every enemy has a ranged weak point that will be indicated by an orange spot when aiming at them with any kind of bow. This can be of help if you want to pierce the defenses of particularly tough foes, as it will usually make them vulnerable to stun attacks.
- 9.4Total Score
The latest (and twelfth) installment of the wildly successful Assassin's Creed series, it had the most successful launch of any of its predecessors. Generally praised for its open world, gameplay and plotlines, it is a worthy successor to such accomplished video game series
- Technical Quality9.1
- Engaging Experience9.3
- Addictive & Fun9.4
- THE GOOD
- Gameplay variety and combat
- Open world experience
- Great story and plotlines
- Fantastic visuals and designs
- THE BAD
- Technical issues
- Often criticized for its length