Don’t get me wrong, this world premiere look at Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is epic. A gorgeous, epic cinematic set in an interesting setting, that seems set to expand on the good parts of Origins and Odyssey. The accompanying info on the Ubisoft page talks of building homesteads, expanded raids and battles, and using diplomacy to influence 9th century England. Players can pick whether their Viking protagonist will be a man or woman, and there is talk of deeper RPG elements and customization compared to previous games. Valhalla sounds like an absolutely fascinating game. One I will probably buy on day one if they improve on tiresome size of Odyssey.
Still, remember when Assassin’s Creed was about assassins?
Don’t get me wrong, the series completely needed a refreshing reboot when Origins arrived to give it just that. For all my fatigue with the game, Odyssey is excellent. Well, minus the random decision to make your queer characters have a child and family with someone players don’t like. The RPG mechanics are interesting, the larger scale is awesome, the combat is fun, and I am a sucker for differing paths in a game’s story. In many ways, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla appears to be a second attempt at the many things Assassin’s Creed III tried.
I still miss the space Assassin’s Creed used to occupy in the gaming industry. I liked the large-scaled adventures in recreated historical cities, where I could stalk around killing with a single stab of my hidden blade. I miss the work players put into planning assassinations. It had problems, but it was a unique experience among the glut of open-world games. As much as I enjoy the new games, there’s little separating them from the glut of similar open-world lite-RPG action games. Valhalla looks like the most obvious step towards an even less assassin-oriented experience. While I I still dream of a Japanese setting where I could play a stealthy ninja.
Does this mean I’m not excited? Of course not, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla looks terrific. I still can’t help but mourn the loss of what the series used to be. Or maybe Ubisoft will prove me wrong as more info is released about the game.