Journeying from their home to new lands in England, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla’s viking tribe comes near the shore, noticing crucifixes adorning churches. It’s hilarious to them – a religion that celebrates not only a defeat, but symbolizes the torture device that killed the Christian’s prophet.
It’s a clever way to sell Viking beliefs and culture, so warlike, fearless, and violent. The shock of seeing another land living in near total peace is outright offensive. So they kill. A lot. This is a more aggressive Assassin’s Creed, still rich in stabbing people’s ribs, but also designed for massive raids on encampments. Those moments, exposing the clumsy, creaky combat engine, at least fit the theme, rather than make the theme fit Assassin’s Creed cautious play style.
Underneath it all, a story of family, alliances, and leadership. Gummed up with monotonous leveling and plodding travel, character development proves commendable, even in the ever messier sub-story set in modern times, linked to COVID-19, probably the first to do so.
Assassin’s Creed doesn’t maneuver well, barely improved since its origins on Xbox 360/PS3, yet the attention given to historical lore in lieu of franchise tradition deserves credit.