With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven’s mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is my favorite Assassin’s Creed, which is saying something considering it’s a series that spans 23 games. It builds on the already excellent RPG foundations laid by Origins and Odyssey, but with meaningful improvements that iron out many of the frustrations I had with both games. Case in point: Not once during the 60-hour story was I told to stop and level up a bunch before I could take on the next quest. That also means Ubisoft isn’t selling optional experience boosts, either. Thank god.
What really stands out to me, though, is how much better Valhalla is at telling an engaging story that twists and turns according to my decisions. In Odyssey, my choices sometimes felt arbitrary or confusing, but Valhalla does a great job of introducing characters, concepts, and themes, and then forcing me to decide how Eivor, the main character, relates to them. When one of my beloved own clansmen betrayed me and tried to take my life, I had no choice but to kill them in self defense. But I agonized for almost a full minute over whether to let them grasp their axe with their dying breath or kick it away, denying them entrance into Valhalla. I had come to love this character and their betrayal was upsetting, but does that justify denying them an eternity in heaven?