At Ubisoft Forward, one of the key games in focus (understandably) was Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The massively popular franchise’s latest edition wants you to don the swords and coats of a viking, Eivor, and is set in the era of the viking invasions in dark, medieval England. The game now has more elaborate fighting mechanics, and Ubisoft has further attempted to keep the world open as well as negate any gender bias in the game. While all that is good, there was one concern that I felt when watching the gameplay trailers that Ubisoft has published on YouTube – aren’t viking clashes supposed to be even more intense?
Ubisoft’s gameplay trailer promises “more types of enemies” to kill than before, in a game that has been all about killing in various forms, agendas, style and storylines. This appears quite promising, and is something that we wouldn’t expect anything less of, especially from Assassin’s Creed. Our protagonist Eivor also exhibits the sort of stealth-mode walking and blending in that is already synonymous with the series since the first AC. What I found to be the most engaging is the idea of storming villages and settlements in the middle of the night, which seems to be in line with the nomadic, aggressive guerrilla warrior lifestyle. However, what concerns me is the lack of a clear idea about what would tie such a battle dynamic together as a story.
In boss fight gameplay visuals, as well as the climactic Saxon castle battles shown in the gameplay trailer, the fight mechanics do not particularly look whoa. It looks… alright, or the least that you would expect from a game of this stature. The character mechanics seem more impressive – Ubisoft has seemingly tried to keep the world of Eivor as open as they could – you can, for instance, change your protagonist’s gender at any point of time in the game, and you can also romance any other character in the game irrespective of their gender. The gameplay presentation at Ubisoft Forward also stated that Eivor can interact with a wide range of ancillary individuals in the game, which in turn would impact the eventual outcome of your game’s story and Eivor’s fate in the game, in the end. This is an element that I would particularly love to find out more about.
However, I wish with all might that the story progression of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla brings out all the intensity of a game on viking warfare in the medieval era. Personally, I wish the gameplay trailer featured darker, more intense clips from various segments, and given a few more clues as to what the storyline would represent. Without this, it all seems to be a bit quiet right now – far too much like any other game, and that, we all know, is not why we play Assassin’s Creed for. Here’s hoping that like the initial teaser, Valhalla has much more to talk about than just being another Assassin title.