BY RUBY PALICKAR
“Assassin’s Creed” is a beloved name in the world of gaming. Whether you’re sneaking through the streets of Rome, the sands of Egypt or revolutionary France, the franchise has explored an array of historical events in its 13-year run, so an open-world game about Vikings is a natural next step.
“Assassin’s Creed Valhalla,” the 12th main game in the series, threatens to be one of this year’s biggest releases. As its name implies, the game sets players down in ninth-century England and highlights the historical conflict between Vikings and Anglo-Saxons. You play as a Viking raider named Eivor, leader of a clan of Norsemen fleeing their war- and poverty-stricken homeland in hopes of creating a better life in England.
Not much else is known yet about the game’s plot, but Ubisoft did release a cinematic trailer on April 30 to give fans a taste of the gritty aesthetic it was shooting for. The trailer also showed King Alfred the Great, most likely an antagonist in the final game, as his real-life counterpart played a crucial role in the battles between the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons.
The game also boasts some new or returning features, such as the ability to play as either a male or a female. This feature was present in “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey,” but instead of choosing between two siblings to play as, this time the main character will fundamentally be the same person regardless of gender.
Ubisoft’s website also explained that the game will involve “advanced RPG mechanics” that will influence strategy and in-game combat. “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” had similar mechanics, and it seems as if the game series that was once primarily about stealth is changing its focus for good.
As for the combat, we can expect brutality akin to Viking raid tactics, and the game claims that player can dual-wield a variety of weapons, such as axes, swords, shields and other medieval tools of war. The iconic Hidden Blade will return, too, as it appeared in the trailer.
And “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” will give the player more options for customization than ever before. The player can build and upkeep his or her own settlement, complete with blacksmith shops, houses and other facilities every Viking village needs. On top of that, the game’s online features involve creating and recruiting custom mercenaries who can help players and their friends in raids. While the series largely has been single-player and closed off in terms of interacting with other players, the online interactivity is a welcome change to many fans.
Even so, no actual gameplay has been released as of yet, so it remains to be seen how these features and changes will affect the fanbase. “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” does not have a firm release date but should arrive sometime this holiday season; you can preorder it now. The game will be available on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Google Stadia and PC via the Epic Games Store.