Assassin's Creed Valhalla RPG Catch-All

Well, The Witcher 3 is five years... Dark Souls is nine. And yeah, there’s a whole class of games that are “Metroidvania” which is even more ancient, not to mention meaningless to me because I wasn’t a Nintendo kid. I’m not going to claim the ACV combat has overwhelming tactical variety, but I think it’s reductive the way that so many things are pigeonholed as Witcher 3 or Dark Souls (or Rogue, for crying out loud).

BadKen wrote:

If it isn’t Witcher 3, it’s getting compared to Dark Souls.

I recently read a comment that literally compared the ACV combat with Dark Souls (light attack, heavy attack, parry).

I mean come on, people, move on already, it’s been five years...

Oh gosh yes, and I was pretty successful at blocking that one out of my memory...until now!

While I have a tone of positive things to say and am REALLY into everything about the game, it’s weird how much Tuvan throat singing there is. I love that sound but it has no connection to Scandinavia or England.

Also, I’ve encountered quite a few extremely low level bugs. Like the ability preview videos are playing at 3x speed.

Every time it starts raining and the sun is out and shining at a low angle, I start compulsively looking around for rainbows.

So far, there've been no rainbows. Seems like an oversight.

So the opposite problem of Diablo 3?

I’ve been enjoying the combat but I’ve also been almost exclusively maining the war hammer (with an offhand dagger to close distance) and it’s just ridiculously overpowered. It will stagger even blocking enemies half the time and a solid unblocked hit can fling enemies around even when it doesn’t kill them outright, setting them up for a stun attack.

I sort of don’t like what they did to the exploration and bird scouting though- the “search in this area, east of this other area” was one of my favorite things from odyssey and the few quests like that I’ve seen in Valhalla always seem to have a glowing dot right in the middle of where you’re supposed to be searching. Why even have those types of quests if you’re going to have a marker that will lead you right to the location?
I also really miss being able to mark enemies with the bird, the crouched sense ability is a poor replacement and the range on it seems to be less than the range enemies can see you at, which has led to multiple encounters where I thought the coast was clear only to be spotting by some guy hiding around a building.

Lastly, has anyone else pointed out the missed opportunity in not naming this thread “The Assassins Creed Valhall-All.”

I’ve put in about 15 hours am power lever 50. This game is a huge step backwards from Odyssey. Odyssey definitely had problems and areas that could be improved on but Valhalla fails to do so and in many areas makes things worse.

I actually think the combat is solid. I liked Odyssey combat better, but combat here is fine. Stealth is way worse. I don’t feel like an assassin. This is basically an action game where you can sneak up on an enemy now and then but the game doesn’t encourage it. My favorite part of Odyssey was sneaking into the fortresses and methodically using my powers and skills to stealthily take everyone out. I haven’t had that experience once in Valhalla.

The other huge step back is the gear system. I’ve been basically using the same gear since early in the game. Each gear piece is unique and gear is limited. You get a gear piece and can upgrade it multiple times. Once you do that it will always be way better than any other gear you find. It basically eliminates the drive to find new gear. It’s such an awful system. I really have no idea what they were trying to do with it.

The abilities and upgrades system is also worse. Now it’s an endless spiral of minor buffs, like increase attack by 2.5, with some bigger skills now and then. Most skill upgrades are so minimal I don’t see an actual difference. I don’t feel stronger now than I did 10 hours ago. I have a few more skills, like auto loot enemies, but that’s it.

The story and characters have not grown on me. I still feel like I’m playing as the bad guys. Nothing I’m doing seems righteous or justified. It all seems a bit random. There isn’t much foundation given or motivation for the characters’ actions.

I still plan on playing more. The moment to moment is fine and I’m hoping more systems will open up or more abilities will change the feel, but I’m not hopeful at this point.

IUMogg wrote:

The story and characters have not grown on me. I still feel like I’m playing as the bad guys. Nothing I’m doing seems righteous or justified. It all seems a bit random. There isn’t much foundation given or motivation for the characters’ actions.

There is a weird tension in this game with trying to fit the amiable, kind Viking protagonist into the framework of historical Vikings, who invented the recreational Blood Eagle (disputed). Like, if you accidentally whack a monk with an axe while trying to kill an enemy soldier, you'll get a message chiding you for attacking 'civilians'. I'm like, "Motherf*cker, what do you think is happening right now? We have invaded this town, killed its defenders, robbed its stores, and set fire to its homes. We are NOT the moral high ground here."

I will say that I think the overall story so far is a little more interesting than the usual AC fare. I'm not entirely certain where it's going, but I just took a hard left into serious mythology-town, so I'm gonna let it ride.

IUMogg wrote:

I’ve put in about 15 hours am power lever 50. This game is a huge step backwards from Odyssey. Odyssey definitely had problems and areas that could be improved on but Valhalla fails to do so and in many areas makes things worse.

Counterpoint: almost all the things on your list are, for me, improvements over Odyssey. I even agree with some of your criticisms of the itemization and skill systems, but I still think the new systems are much more interesting than the ones in the last game.

One of the main thing that Valhalla has going for it, though, is all the storytelling detail scattered through the world. In Odyssey, there were vast, beautiful chunks of the world with absolutely no reason to explore them. Valhalla is dense with stories and plunder over the next hill.

I’m with polq37.

The game is harder as the raven does not quickly pick up all of the baddies and I've found the markers to be difficult to get to in the main. Sometimes they disappear and you have to think about where you are and what clues are around, or go up or down which means looking over a larger area. There might be a map bug in there as well as (especially on the boat - the map markers reset regularly for me).

I've got an ability to show baddies when hiding so that adds to stealth, which I have found OK.

Regarding gear I've seen comments that you need to play with all the different types but you don't get many. So basically you can upgrade one of each type and get an idea. I've found the 2 handed axe great but slow, the one handed axe is quick but takes a lot longer. Have not ttried the flail or hammer but have seen that they both have their own characteristics sso worth a shot.

Also seen comments on how easy it is. not for me, playing default, tried 4 times to raid St Albans and gave up. mind you there was an overpowered zealot around who made life hard.

Really enjoying it, despite finding another bug on a quest where I lost about an hour before realising I had to reload again.

IUMogg wrote:

The story and characters have not grown on me. I still feel like I’m playing as the bad guys. Nothing I’m doing seems righteous or justified. It all seems a bit random. There isn’t much foundation given or motivation for the characters’ actions.

I've settled on the idea that I am not the "good guy" in this game. I'm just a person making their way the way they know how. (just a little bit more than the law would allow) Anyway, yeah reading a lot of the letters in the places we've raided makes me feel like the invading force doesn't like the leadership, so the soldiers and villagers get to pay the price. In that sense it's probably the most realistic Assassin's Creed made. har. Not all of the characters are bad, though. Leofrith is pretty good.

Tip for players around the 20-ish hour mark.

Do NOT build the Seer's house and speak to her unless you are level 90 or above. It takes you to a quest in another location that you cannot leave unless you complete it or revert to an old save. The problem is, the "boss type" character at the end of the quest one-shots you if you're underleveled, and all of my autosaves were Corrupt, so I could only revert back to a manual save from 4 hours of gameplay earlier. I accidentally started the quest when I was level 64, so I had to cheese the game in order to beat it. I sprinted through the entire mission area, found a high spot where the enemies couldn't reach me and spammed arrows until it was safe to come down.

My problem with the game (and it's one I created all on my own) is my need to explore. I was streaming last night for a few friends. I couldn't figure out what to do on the island I was on. Turns out all I did was explore and not do any of the main quest. Once I got the suggestion to actually follow the main quest, things opened WAY up.

I'm only about 4 hours in and still in the starting area, but I'm having a lot of fun with the game so far. I agree that not having the bird mark enemies is a weird change, and somewhat difficult to get used to, but I'm enjoying my time in Valhalla up to this point.

I am also still on the starting area and really enjoying it so far! Love the little things like the crunch and carving through snow, the combat, and the overall atmosphere so far.

The gear is taking some used do so more to come on that. Also, with the raven and scouting, gone are the days of marking targets automatically when flying above them or marking areas automatically like caves etc or is that a bug?

polq37 wrote:
IUMogg wrote:

I’ve put in about 15 hours am power lever 50. This game is a huge step backwards from Odyssey. Odyssey definitely had problems and areas that could be improved on but Valhalla fails to do so and in many areas makes things worse.

Counterpoint: almost all the things on your list are, for me, improvements over Odyssey. I even agree with some of your criticisms of the itemization and skill systems, but I still think the new systems are much more interesting than the ones in the last game.

One of the main thing that Valhalla has going for it, though, is all the storytelling detail scattered through the world. In Odyssey, there were vast, beautiful chunks of the world with absolutely no reason to explore them. Valhalla is dense with stories and plunder over the next hill.

After my post I thought about it some more and watched some videos and I realized my main issue with the game. It's an open world RPG where none of the progression systems feel meaningful or impactful. There is little focus or impact of new gear. It's a few static items that are under leveled when you find them. In Odyssey I was always getting new gear that was exciting and I was changing my gear regularly. The skills and abilities I got when leveling up in Odyssey were exciting and useful. In combat I was popping them off as soon as they were available, I had difficulty choosing which ones to equip because they all had uses. Every time you leveled up, you either got a new ability or leveled up a current one. It felt meaningful. In Valhalla it's mainly just minor stat bonuses that don't have any impact. I have found abilities and I rarely use them. I think I have 9 or 10 ability options and there is maybe one or two I ever use, but that's just for fun, the combat does not require it. Even upgrading the settlement doesn't seem to be very meaningful or motivating. My fear is this lack of meaningful progress combined with a story I'm not invested in will start to wear on me.

I shared a lot of similar thoughts to people early in the game. The Norway section was great. But once I got further in and saw that there wasn't more being added, it took a turn.

I found this video and I agree with a lot of it. There is a bit of hyperbole and I haven't played nearly as much, but a lot of the issue raised are issues I am seeing. I'm not as negative on that game as the video and plan to keep playing, but I watched this video and was nodding along to much of it

I've never been very gear or "numbers that go up" motivated in games, so Valhalla finds a sweet spot for me getting back to weapons and armor being as much about play style as they are about stats. It's telling that your character stats are well hidden, I only came across mine by accident. I disabled the number feedback when you smack someone.

I also like that the raven can't spot enemies, it often turned forts into stealth kill puzzle boxes, which is fine, but after twenty of them it got really boring. You start to feel like Pac-Man gobbling up dots you revealed with your bird. The combat here is good enough that I'm not minding stealth being more of a side hustle. I've still taken a few forts with stealth and it's pretty satisfying and feels special when you pull it off.

This isn't to invalidate anyone's experience, I know gear and progression is really satisfying for a lot of people. Getting a little closer to the original series mold of no RPG stuff and grabbing whatever weapon feels good is kinda nice for me. But I prioritize story and characters over loot, generally.

I also started with combat set to 'Hard' which has felt good and rewarding as I've played. I could see this feeling pretty button mashy and boring on Normal or Easy once you find a weapon you click with. Hard means you can get dropped after a couple good wallops if you're not careful, keeps you on your toes!

Certis wrote:

I've never been very gear or "numbers that go up" motivated in games, so Valhalla finds a sweet spot for me getting back to weapons and armor being as much about play style as they are about stats. It's telling that your character stats are well hidden, I only came across mine by accident. I disabled the number feedback when you smack someone.

I also like that the raven can't spot enemies, it often turned forts into stealth kill puzzle boxes, which is fine, but after twenty of them it got really boring. You start to feel like Pac-Man gobbling up dots you revealed with your bird. The combat here is good enough that I'm not minding stealth being more of a side hustle. I've still taken a few forts with stealth and it's pretty satisfying and feels special when you pull it off.

This isn't to invalidate anyone's experience, I know gear and progression is really satisfying for a lot of people. Getting a little closer to the original series mold of no RPG stuff and grabbing whatever weapon feels good is kinda nice for me. But I prioritize story and characters over loot, generally.

I also started with combat set to 'Hard' which has felt good and rewarding as I've played. I could see this feeling pretty button mashy and boring on Normal or Easy once you find a weapon you click with. Hard means you can get dropped after a couple good wallops if you're not careful, keeps you on your toes!

Ok good, I am glad this was dropped as well and agree that this is my preferred way to play as well. You can scout with the Raven but it doesn't peg them with a dot, allowing you to still figure out where and how to approach your attack.

You know, I loved playing the stealthy assassin type in Origins, trying to wipe out as much of a fort/encampment/etc's defenders as I could without being detected (all of them, if possible!).

In Odyssey, I always start by picking off key defenders (primarily ranged wall/tower sentries), but once I get into the enemy location, it just feels more true to my Misthios to have her shrug and say "ah, f*ck it. BRING IT ON" and wallop some ass in face-to-face combat.

I have a suspicion that when I get to this new entry, it's going to land a bit more on the Odyssey approach for me than the Origins approach.

I use stealth to take out as many enemies as possible, first, and then hack n slash the rest. It’s been a pretty fun middle-ground. The bow is very powerful in this game. I barely used it in Odyssey, but it is a crucial component to my stealth gameplay in this one.

I liked that Ikaros could spot enemies in Oddyssey, but have gotten used to the fact that the raven can’t. I would like to get an upgrade, because I barely use the bird, now, unless I have to. But, I’m doing just fine without it. I just wish the bird was more responsive. I gotta fight with him to turn in the direction I want while looking around.

skeletonframes wrote:
IUMogg wrote:

The story and characters have not grown on me. I still feel like I’m playing as the bad guys. Nothing I’m doing seems righteous or justified. It all seems a bit random. There isn’t much foundation given or motivation for the characters’ actions.

I've settled on the idea that I am not the "good guy" in this game. I'm just a person making their way the way they know how. (just a little bit more than the law would allow) Anyway, yeah reading a lot of the letters in the places we've raided makes me feel like the invading force doesn't like the leadership, so the soldiers and villagers get to pay the price. In that sense it's probably the most realistic Assassin's Creed made. har. Not all of the characters are bad, though. Leofrith is pretty good.

Tip for players around the 20-ish hour mark.

Do NOT build the Seer's house and speak to her unless you are level 90 or above. It takes you to a quest in another location that you cannot leave unless you complete it or revert to an old save. The problem is, the "boss type" character at the end of the quest one-shots you if you're underleveled, and all of my autosaves were Corrupt, so I could only revert back to a manual save from 4 hours of gameplay earlier. I accidentally started the quest when I was level 64, so I had to cheese the game in order to beat it. I sprinted through the entire mission area, found a high spot where the enemies couldn't reach me and spammed arrows until it was safe to come down.

You should have a 'wake up' icon on your map that allows to return from that dream. Haven't tried it yet, but I assume that's what happens. It's at the gate you have to close at the very beginning. For some reason it doesn't appear unless you interact with it.

Synin is really good at finding entrances and exits. Decided last night to go for a clean assassination on a main quest. Got in through the back, used Synin to find an open window, jumped between the rafters, clean assassinated the target, quietly removed a couple of guards, and walked out through a door and over a wall. It was very satisfying and a lot more intricate and careful than Origins and Odyssey. It really does feel like a "back to basics" from earlier in the series.

My NPC compatriots, however, were lead to believe there would be a grand battle and acted as if there was one during the post-quest cut scenes.

I've tried out most of the weapons and am currently using a dagger and light shield. The dagger is so fast and the shield is excellent for parrying. Was previously dual wielding axes or an axe & hammer. Haven't tried the flail nor a two-handed sword, though.

Really really REALLY liking the meaningful quest rewards in this game. Spoiler for the reward at the end of the Ceowulf coronation questline.

Spoiler:

If you chose to tell Leofrith the Truth that his king abandoned him, he rewards you by giving you the location of the Zealot kill order. Popped over to the spot, burned the scroll and now Zealots no longer actively seek and hunt me! Curious to see what other rewards are like from other arcs.

The whole Zealot and Massively Powerful enemy putting a bounty on you and hunting you constantly was one of the many things that ruined Odyssey for me (Hey Kassandra! Did you fail the awful stealth mechanic in our game for no fault of your own? Have fun playing anything in the game with a level 4 bounty and 4 god tier enemies chasing you around the map! Or you know just give us half your hard earned coin and we'll reset the arbitrary timer for 10 minutes until you make a tiny mistake again. Not sour, not sour at all). So being able to effectively "turn off" Zealots and have it integrated into the story was really really rewarding

Speaking of Zealots! I beat Redwalda this morning. I'm far enough in the Melee/Bear tree to have unlocked Dual Wield Heavy weapons so now I'm swinging two giant axes all over and loving it.

My single biggest complaint thus far is a controller issue. I'm playing on PC with my trusty XBox 360 controller, and whenever I sprint (press L-stick) and target an enemy (press R-stick), it goes into photo mode (press L+R sticks). Sprinting across the battlefield is a pretty common situation, so it gets really annoying. I couldn't find a place in the settings to change the photo mode bindings...any idea if I'm missing something?

Is your sprint not set to toggle? I have had the problem once early on but wasn't sure what caused it and haven't had it happen again.

hubbinsd wrote:

My single biggest complaint thus far is a controller issue. I'm playing on PC with my trusty XBox 360 controller, and whenever I sprint (press L-stick) and target an enemy (press R-stick), it goes into photo mode (press L+R sticks). Sprinting across the battlefield is a pretty common situation, so it gets really annoying. I couldn't find a place in the settings to change the photo mode bindings...any idea if I'm missing something?

I believe there's an option in controls to make sprint a toggle (press once) rather than a "press and hold down"?

IUMogg wrote:

I found this video and I agree with a lot of it

Did you find that video on the previous page where I shared it?

I was pretty shocked, because normally I agree with a lot of what SkillUp says, but my reaction to Valhalla is the exact opposite of that video. At least he explains where he's coming from unlike a lot of YouTube reviewers. I can understand his reaction to the game even though it differs from mine.

skeletonframes wrote:

Do NOT build the Seer's house and speak to her unless you are level 90 or above.

Yeah I found this out the hard way too at level 50-something. Pretty frustrating, died a few times then just ran around like a fool at that door you need to open until the boss got distracted fighting someone else and I was able to open it and get out of there.

There are definitely areas where the game should give you more info. Boss world events, for example, can be much higher level than the region they're in, so you'll want to come back later once you discover one you're underleveled for. However the map icon for the encounter gives you zero info about the boss level, so you just have to kind of remember? Also good luck when buying weapons or cosmetic items from the trader, as the game gives no detailed info about what you are buying.

Anyway, minor nitpicks, still very much enjoying the game, though all things considered I'd agree with the sentiment that Odyssey was a better designed game overall.

AcidCat wrote:

There are definitely areas where the game should give you more info. Boss world events, for example, can be much higher level than the region they're in, so you'll want to come back later once you discover one you're underleveled for.

Oh, so you saw me pick a fight with that retired warrior only to run as fast as I could when I found out he was 80 Levels higher than me! Good to know. Haha.

I decided to pick the game up on Stadia, mainly because I was sick when I started and wanted to play from the couch, but knew when I got better I will move to the PC (mouse and keyboard is actually done quite well). But I am noticing a lot of annoying bugs, almost game breaking. I don't know if these are a problem on Stadia or if everyone has been having them. The biggest one is when I die, often the loading screen goes off in an infinite loop and I have to kill the game and reload (after waiting a few minutes and realizing it happened). I have also had all actions in the game stop working. Fighting the first boss, after I got "killed" and revived the boss was just twitching in place and I couldn't swing my weapon. Had to load the last save and make sure I lived through the battle.

Has anyone else had issues like this on other platforms?

skeletonframes wrote:

Do NOT build the Seer's house and speak to her unless you are level 90 or above. It takes you to a quest in another location that you cannot leave unless you complete it or revert to an old save.

You can leave if you look at the top left of the map and select "Wake Up" there. I left almost immediately as I wasn't in the right mindset for...that.