A bunch of new previews are out, and that means a flood of fresh Assassin's Creed Valhalla info.
The general consensus around Valhalla is that it doesn't exactly evolve the Origins or Odyssey formula, but it does add a bunch of nifty additions. The main change seems to be around RPG mechanics and exploration. There's no longer any level system, and instead Ubisoft has opted for Power, which is the sum of your three forms: Bear, Wolf, and Raven. You unlock skills in these three tiers across a huge Path of Exile-style tree made up of passives. Active abilities require players to roam the wilds and collect skill books to unlock.
Exploration is much more free-form this time, and gamers are incentivized to go hunting often. Eating food will help boost your HP and you'll always need to gather materials to upgrade your weapons, items, and generate resources for your settlements and clan. The main motivation for exploration is questing, though, and there's plenty littered throughout the game. Earlier we said Valhalla represents Ubisoft's very own Witcher 3, and that still seems to stand true, albeit the missions are less impacting.
One interesting thing to note is Valhalla doesn't inundate you with a bunch of icons right off the bat. Map markers and areas are only shown on your map after you visit them, creating a kind of Skyrim-style exploration mechanic.
Apart from that, one of the biggest changes is the return of instant-kill assassinations. You couldn't do this in Origins or Odyssey--if weren't a high enough level you couldn't actually insta-kill a boss or tough enemy. That's all changed in Valhalla, and you can take out enemies with a perfectly-timed QTE assassination.
Here's a list of all the new mechanics, features, and content we noticed from the preview coverage:
- Hunt animals and forage environs for food
- Collect materials to fortify weapons
- Search Roman temples for quest rewards, loot, and skill-ups
- Horses can swim
- You can switch Eivor's gender from male to female on-the-fly
- Odinsight is this game's Eagle Vision
- Three skill types: Bear, Wolf, Raven
- Skill types also coincide with weapon and armor types
- You can customize Eivor's tattoos
- Mythical enemies straight out of Norse mythology
- You can one-shot enemies with new QTE-based asassination mechanic
- Insta-kill also includes high-level bosses
- There's a Path of Exile-style skill tree system with passives, and a separate tree for unlockable abilities (like Spartan Kick, for example)
- Power replaces levels, and Power is the sum of your Bear, Wolf, and Raven skill unlocks
- Wolf tree is fast attack/hunter abilities, Bear is more visceral combat (2handers, bardiches, executions, etc), and Raven is stealth-based
- No attribute points
- Fishing is back thanks to a new harpoon rope (which can also be used in combat)
- Flyting rap battles increase your charisma stat
- Can dual-wield shields and charge into enemies
- New stagger mechanic allows for brutal executions
- Toggle hood to go into stealth at any time
- Raiding villages gives you materials to fortify your clans' settlements
- Heavy and light attacks, heavy attacks break defenses, light attacks are faster but weaker
- Eight abilities can be equipped at once
- New stomp attack can finish opponents once they're knocked to the ground
- Mini-game events at celebrations like getting drunk and trying to shoot pots
- Killing enemies and solving quests a certain way can dramatically change gameplay and alter the future
- Skyrim-like exploration, areas don't appear on your map until you find them first
Assassin's Creed Valhalla releases November 17, 2020 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It's also coming to next-gen consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, and anyone who buys a copy will receive a free upgrade to the next-gen version.