Check out what we thought of the new Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla expansion in our Dawn of Ragnarok Review.
SPOILER WARNING FOR THE ORIGINAL VALHALLA STORY
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla saw the series turn to the Viking Age, with the invasion of England taking the forefront. But it also saw the series lean more into its mythical sub-plot, which we’ve seen it start doing since Origins. The weird sci-fi / historical myth settings have long existed with Assassin’s Creed, but it’s never taken a front seat as it does now.
That leads us into Dawn of Ragnarok. Try and bear with me, as the lore behind Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and the series, in general, can be a bit confusing. But the main thing is the core gameplay. Does it change enough from the original Valhalla experience enough to warrant the almost full price that it asks for?
- Game: Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla – Dawn of Ragnarok
- Price: $39.99
- Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation, PC, Stadia
- Disclaimer: A Review Code Was Provided – Find Our Review Policy Here.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – Dawn of Ragnarok Full Review
Oh, For Odin’s Sake
Assassin’s Creed’s latest expansion takes us to Svartalfheim, the land of Dwarves. However, it’s now the home to invaders from Muspelheim and specifically, Surtr. While you play as someone who looks strikingly similar to Eivor, you’re playing as Odin. The original Valhalla story explains it somewhat better than I can in a review of the expansion, but Dawn of Ragnarok focuses on the story of Odin (also known as Havi, to add more confusion) while finding his kidnapped son Baldr.
While Dawn of Ragnarok could be boiled down, in its simplest terms, to being more of Valhalla, there’s enough change in the formula to offer a decent experience. The realm of the Dwarves has great landscapes, with mountainscapes overlooking most areas and the Muspels lava flowing throughout the realm. It’s a nice change from Valhalla’s England which you see upwards of 100 hours of.
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However, it’s simply not enough to give enough reason for returning players who have moved on from the Viking-invaded England. Those who are huge fans of Valhalla are more than likely happy with this expansion, but a lot of players have left the experience behind after a year and a half. Many of the quest’s structures remain the same, despite a complete change in characters and situations. Odin’s involvement is self-involved, and while it’s interesting to be on the other side of the invasion, the plot doesn’t offer enough to care about its characters besides the main ones.
There are moments between characters, both enemy and friend, which capture that Assassin’s Creed spirit and offer an interesting relationship, however fleeting it may be. But with a lot of filler taking up much of the story, it feels like it could have been cut down. It’s like watching a TV show in which you lost interest in season 3, but you keep pushing through to say you completed it. Yet, you’re still left tired after each episode.
That Smooth, Silky Voice
Luckily, much of the game’s problems are fixed simply by listening to Magnus Bruun’s voice as Eivor / Odin again. Much like his voice acting in Valhalla, Bruun’s smooth voice and Viking-like manner keep the story moments interesting. I’m sure that the female Eivor does an equally incredible job, but I played mainly as male Eivor and was still impressed that after so many hours, I could enjoy someone’s voice.
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A lot of the voice acting is pretty good in Dawn of Ragnarok. There are pivotal plot moments that capture the player thanks to the incredible acting. Surtr does a great job at a villain, many of the dwarves have a distinct personality, even if you don’t care about them. Ubisoft did a fairly good job at allowing players to understand the scope and the seriousness of its plot, despite it being set in another realm and with weird lore of the AC franchise to boot.
Combat is still enjoyable, even if it does feel slightly dull after the many hours of play. It’s a shame the aforementioned Hugr-Rip doesn’t change general combat enough to make it more engaging, but if you enjoyed Valhalla’s combat already, there’s simply more of it. The valkyrie arena is a great addition to the experience, allowing players to enter an arena and fight many a Muspel to earn rewards which further boost the end-game.
It’s just unfortunate, that, much of Valhalla’s core problems are still there. A dragged-on story, filler missions, and that formula that works to a degree but feels tired. I used to love the Assassin’s Creed series, but these unnecessary and convoluted Action-RPG ACs simply aren’t the series I fell in love with. Dawn of Ragnarok is more of the Ubisoft-filled quests, map markers; a digestible experience that is fun at first, but quickly becomes tasteless nonsense. More Valhalla, for better and worse.