The next part of the Assassin series is due to appear at the end of the year. Does he really bring anything new?

The Christians don’t like the Gentiles, the Gentiles don’t understand the Christians. It has always been like that and it is like this in “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla”. However, religion is only one of many lines of conflict in the latest part of the action adventure series, which is due to appear at the end of the year for Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC, but also for the new Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles. The game was announced as a “new generation” with supposedly limitless technical possibilities. And where is the journey going to? The first test shows: It goes in known areas.

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First of all, in England at the end of the 9th century. The Viking expansion reached the Kingdom of East Anglia in the part of the game that could be tested. The players take on the role of Eivor, either a woman or a man, and fight for the English as a renegade Swede or a renegade Swede. There they have to prove themselves in battles.

Where the Vikings are raging

There are innovations. So it is important to alleviate wounds suffered in “Valhalla” with all kinds of plants that can be found in the landscape. The health bar in the previous versions filled itself after some time, now this is no longer the case. This leads to dangerous situations in which it is necessary to avoid a battle in order to find healing plants. The game also forces the attention even more to details in the area and to learn to recognize the vegetation.

The newest part of the bestseller series also includes more elaborate skirmishes in which castles are to be taken. The game leaves it up to the player how he wants to win the battle: slaughter with a frontal attack by the enemy Vikings, take the battering ram in his hand to open the gates. Or they avoid it all, find a scaffold that extends to the highest tower, climb it and then drop on the warlord and then defeat him in a duel.

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Players can carry two weapons at the same time, which changes combat behavior. And you can decide how you want to invest your experience points: offensive warrior or creeping assassin? In the finished game, players should also be able to build their own settlement, the possibility was not included in the demo version played. These are all variants that make the game mechanics of “Assassin’s Creed” – sneaking, fighting, exploring and climbing – even more complex. Nevertheless, “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla” is clearly not a revolution, but rather a leisurely evolution.

How different is the Middle Ages?

The “Assassin’s Creed” game series has lived from its historical settings since the first part, which was released for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2007. Renaissance Italy, London at the time of the Industrial Revolution or ancient Greece: the players could always kill against a well-researched backdrop. In 2017 “Assassin’s Creed: Origins” was the most elaborate part that took place in ancient Egypt. So much meticulousness was put into the historical details that Ubisoft quickly introduced an optional mode that took all the challenges out of the game and made it a virtual museum.

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But as well as the setting is made, the game does not make a big difference in which century the players are currently traveling, in which country, under which circumstances – the tasks are basically always the same. How to cope with them is not really different in ancient Greece than in ancient Egypt. The game mechanics are supplemented, modulated or improved, but as soon as the players have the controller in their hand, they know exactly what they have to do and how – even if the era to be acquired may be completely new to them. It is the problem of pretty much every game series: If it moves too far from the usual, players could be cheated. If they do not do enough, there is no incentive to buy a game again.

A marker as a target

Of course, this does not have to be a flaw. For gamers who feel comfortable in this “Assassin’s Creed” environment, “Valhalla” will almost certainly bring a fulfilling gaming experience. The innovations, the history and above all the historical setting will offer them enough substance to spend many hours in this world: climb towers and mountains to explore the surroundings – and as always unlock many small icons on the map. Collect resources to repair weapons. Get to know historical figures and roam through detailed replica villages. All of this is still done brilliantly.

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“Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla” is a game at the end of a console generation, at the beginning of a new one. It sums up what has happened in video games over the past seven years while maintaining a tradition: no experiments. Christians may argue with pagans or pharaohs with their subjects, the players follow the marker on the map that shows the next target. It’s fun, there is a lot of work involved.

We were able to play “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla” for three hours. Over the Internet, we were able to try out a version of the game that was running on a Ubisoft PC, the specifications of which were not mentioned. Cloudgaming made it possible to control the game itself.

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